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Rams CB Sam Shields Reflects As He’s Back in Pads Nearly Two Years After Concussion

Sam Shields thought hard about quitting football during his darkest, saddest days at home in South Florida over the past two years.

As a former undrafted free agent who became a Pro Bowl cornerback and a Super Bowl champion with Green Bay, Shields knows all about overcoming tremendous odds. Four recorded concussions and the ensuing months of agonizing headaches were a daunting obstacle to be surmounted — and moreover, he wasn’t even sure if he should.

With the support of his friends and family, Shields eventually decided he couldn’t just stop. He had to play again, and he’s taking a shot with the Rams.

“I have a tough mind,” Shields said after stepping off the practice field at UC Irvine in full pads. “I’m not going to lie. I guess that’s just a gift that I have, and that’s an important thing on your body. I’ve been through a lot. I took time off, and now I’m here and I’m doing a hell of a job.”

Shields wore pads Sunday for the first time since Sept. 11, 2016, when he suffered the final concussion that kept him out of football for nearly two full seasons. He is already drawing attention during the first few days of camp with the defending NFC West champion Rams, who added him to a well-stocked defensive secondary last March while allowing him to recapture his career.

Shields is 30 years old now, but his body is completely healthy, and he says his mind is clear. In fact, his biggest physical obstacles these days are the braces on the back of his teeth, slightly altering his speech.

He realizes the odds he’s facing, and he isn’t naive about the potentially catastrophic damage from another major head injury. Shields still wants to be part of a team again after seven seasons with the Packers, who cut him in February 2017.

“I had a year and a half to think about it, to be with my family,” Shields said. “So I definitely had enough time to think about it, and I think I made the right choice.”


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