Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Q: How are you feeling?
A: Feeling a lot better. Today was a big test for me. Got moving around a little bit, got some contact, which is something that I wanted to get. Felt good with it.
Q: What was going on the last couple of weeks? It seemed like you were back at practice, looked like you were getting close and then at the end of the week that kind of tailed off a little bit.
A: I don't think that was the case. Like, I did a couple of pat-and-goes at the beginning of practice, but that was as far as that went. Today was the first full practice that I've been through.
Q: Did you think it would last as long as it did when you suffered the injury?
A: No. When I first did it, I thought it was going to be something like the hamstring and be back pretty quick, within two weeks. Just kept lingering. Was trying to do everything I could to get back and I'm here now. I'm glad with the way it's progressed over the few weeks and hopefully get back out to action.
Q: Any doubts in your mind? This Sunday is the one for you?
A: Yeah, I mean I'm still listening to the trainers. I've got to go back in today and they want to see how I feel tomorrow, but I'm very optimistic that I'll be able to be out there this week with the guys and hopefully that's the case.
Q: What can you give for the rest of this season? What can you bring if you're back and what can you accomplish?
A: You always want to put good tape out there no matter what. You never want to put bad film out. You never know what can happen in this league, so you've always got to give it your max effort. Plus, we've got guys that we're playing for. You're going to play for the brother next to you. We've been grinding with each other, so got to finish this season off with a bang. We've been here before; I've been here before I my career. I think it's always good to finish off the season with a bang.
Q: Before the season, you talked about how you want to get through a full season and play every game. How frustrating is it that these things keep coming up?
A: Super frustrating. You play this game to be able to play throughout the whole season. It's something that we love to do, we all love to do, and it's been frustrating for a lot of guys this season. Been pretty banged up, but that's the way it goes. You've just got to kind of roll with the punches and whenever you're out there healthy give it max effort.
Q: You did some things in the offseason to prevent this. You said how you worked differently because you really wanted – and you were in great shape this training camp. Do you look at it as just 'I did what I could, and things just didn't work out'? Is something else the problem?
A: I think in any situation I love to live without regret. I work hard every single offseason. The last camp was probably my best camp that I've had in my career, but I've worked as hard as I've ever worked this last season. This is football, stuff is going to happen from time to time. Sometimes you can get out of there with a clean season and sometimes that's not the case. You've just got to kind of roll with it and do everything you can possible and that's what I always do.
Q: It seems like one thing after another this year. Do you look at it as a bad luck kind of deal? How do you view it?
A: I don't know. It's hard to pinpoint what it is. To be honest, I'm not really focused on it anymore. Kind of got to just let it go and focus on this week and what we have with the task at hand.
Q: It's been a nice reset week for the team. Do you feel that way?
A: Yeah, it's kind of good to get out in this nice weather and be with the guys. We've all been having some time together, especially being at the hotel. We've got a little game room and stuff over there, so it's been good to reset with the guys and I look forward to this weekend.
Q: What will your excitement level be on Sunday? We talked about all the frustration, but I know you want to play. What's your excitement level?
A: For sure. It's been a bum just sitting on the sideline watching the guys, especially on game day. It already hits me whenever I've got to watch them practice and I'm not able to help them out with some of the reps and stuff like that. Then on game days, obviously, that's where you get all the juice and I still have that same fire, that same juice, but I'm not able to go out there and actually perform. It'll feel good if I'm able to get out there this week and play with the guys.
Q: When you were here before, there was a different offensive coordinator obviously, different offense, some of the same results. As a veteran looking at this, do you look at this and see where the problems are? There were problems before, but this year it seems to be magnified and they had to make a big change.
A: 'Big change,' what do you mean?
Q: Well, you have a new offensive coordinator and some of the same old problems with the squad.
A: This is (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie's (Kitchens) third game, so we're still figuring some stuff out with that. I feel like we'll be better this week. We've got some stuff that we need to correct, and I've been sitting in on the meetings, paying attention. It's stuff that we can control. It's all stuff that we've done to ourselves, so if we can clean those things up, I feel like we can fix some of those problems.