The Los Angeles Rams added to key pieces to their secondary in a matter of hours on Thursday. In addition to trading for Aqib Talib, the Rams also signed former Packers Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Shields.
Obviously Talib is the bigger name and the more impactful addition, but Shields has plenty of potential. After taking the 2017 season off due to concussions, Shields is back in the NFL.
It’s been nearly two full years since the last time Shields played a game, coming in Week 1 of 2016. As a result, it’s likely that the contract he signed is relatively low-risk for the Rams, almost certainly including plenty of incentives.
At the very least, it’s good to see a player with so much talent back in the mix after significant health concerns. Shields says, however, those concussion issues are behind him.
“The concern is over with,” Shields told the Rams’ official site. “I went through all the testing and I took a whole year off to make sure I was right. Now I’m here and I feel good – no headaches, no nothing.”
Understandably, being away from the sport he had spent the majority of his life playing was difficult – especially given the circumstances. Shields says “it was stressful” and he missed the camaraderie with his teammates
“Just being away – it was a lot, a lot on me,” he continued. “I was in and out of stress moments – cool at some times, and weak at others. But it made me stronger now that I’m here in this opportunity and this opportunity is great.”
Shields, 30, had a visit scheduled with the Browns in addition to one with the Rams. Ultimately, he decided to join the up-and-coming team in sunny Los Angeles, coming off of its first playoff berth in more than a decade.
He’s got plenty of postseason experience, himself, having played 11 career playoff games. He has five interceptions, one touchdown and 12 passes defensed in those games, which will undoubtedly help the Rams down the stretch – assuming he makes the team.
It’s partly why he signed with the Rams, in addition to Wade Phillips being “another big influence.” Shields cited Phillips’ scheme “and what he likes to do” as a big reason he chose the Rams over the Browns.
“Sitting back watching throughout the season – how good of a team they were. And just being here in L.A. of course,” Shields said. “But just the whole atmosphere, the feel of the team – it was just all together. Like I said, the whole year I was out, seeing that – it’s just exciting.”