Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
August 4, 2021
Q: Hey Sterling, you’ve been around a bunch of training camps, fights, altercations, fisticuffs. I don’t know if you’ve been around one where there’s so much running and push-ups afterwards. What’d you make of yesterday and how do you think the team came out of it?
A: I think it was yesterday. Kind of got to move on and focus on getting better today. This is training camp, man, emotions are going to run high, guys are fighting for jobs, we’re going to be competing, so with that level of competition, things are going to get heated. It boiled over a little yesterday, but you learn from it and you keep on pushing and keep on moving on, and that’s what we’re focused on doing today.
Q: The boiling over probably didn’t surprise you, but did the running and the push-up surprise you a little bit?
A: No, I expected that. I mean, there are consequences for your actions, and I suspected that’s what we were going to be doing is some type of conditioning.
Q: Hey Shep, (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) told us in the spring that after they drafted (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) he called you and just wanted to let you know they didn’t draft this guy to take your job. Just curious, what was your reaction to that phone call?
A: I mean, we were just adding another playmaker was kind of my thought process, but I respected the call. Grown man to grown man, I felt like that was the right way to go about it and felt good about the call. He just reassured me and, yeah, that’s what I thought about it.
Q: How do you approach that relationship with Kadarius? Maybe it’s similar to when you came in and Victor (Cruz) was the veteran and you were the rookie. How do you approach having a guy coming in under your wing?
A: Just like I approach everybody else who comes in. Whatever help they need getting adjusted, try to help them the best way I can. I have all the confidence in the world in my ability and what I can bring to the table and that’s what I stand on. I’m going to walk in this building and be the same person that I am, no matter what happens.
Q: You said you expected the running and all, but do guys have a problem with it? You see some guys, older guys chirping in from outside the building saying this is what other Belichick guys did, veterans hated it, it wore us down. Is that something you sense at all in the locker room?
A: No, not at all. That’s kind of the standard that we’ve set here in this building and as a team, and I think guys have bought in and know what to expect whenever you step on the field and when you’re playing under a guy like Coach Judge. If you don’t like it, then you’re welcome to leave. But that’s the way that we do things around here and everybody is standing by that, and I’m all for it. I mean, it’s a little different for us because we’re receivers, we’ve got to be able to run all day, but I don’t mind it.
Q: Shep, do you ever worry that somebody is going to get hurt if this gets out of hand? When you have a scrum like that?
A: Yeah, but at the end of the day, we’re all teammates. I don’t really worry about that too much and really I’m not focused on that anymore. I’m focused on today and moving past that.
Q: Hey Shep, I know it’s only one week, but do you feel as dialed in as maybe you’ve looked to a lot of us so far this camp?
A: I mean, I feel great. I worked my tail off this offseason to come in the best shape. I think that was one of the things that Coach Judge and I had a conversation about right before I left for OTAs, just coming in shape and being able to be on the field at all times and being able to run around and move to these different positions and being versatile. That’s the mentality that I had going into the offseason and I can say that I’m in some of the best shape of my life right now. I’ve been feeling good and just gotta keep stacking the days and continue to improve.
Q: I’m curious, what’s your assessment of the offense’s performance so far early in camp?
A: At the beginning, we were kind of going back and forth with the defense. Yesterday, I felt like we made a really good stride. I mean, we were on fire yesterday. Today, I mean, that’s what I’m focused on is us coming out with the same mentality as we had yesterday. I’ve been around the league a little while now and from time to time you’ll have a good day and then the defense will come back and destroy you the next day just because they’ve gotten an earful from their coach. So, I’m excited to see how the guys are going to respond today and even myself, being a leader, trying to keep the guys’ energy high and just trying to be dominant every day.
Q: Shep, does (Cornerback) Darnay (Holmes) have to run a lap for you undressing him like that? Is there a punishment for that or is it just the embarrassment of it happening in front of people?
A: I mean, that’s a part of the game and I’m here to help Darnay. Like, after those reps and the times that we go against each other, my job is to make him better, so I want to be the hardest guy that he has to guard all year. That’s my mentality and whatever I’ve got to do to help him and his game is what I’m going to do. I pull him aside after every single route and tell him how he can be better on different stuff, so that’s just a part of the game and he’s going to be great for us, I feel like. His mentality is something that I really respect about him and the way he’s able to forget about what happened last time and come back last time and still be a scrappy DB, I respect that about him.