Rams' Sam Shields revisits demons ahead of first meeting with Packers

-- It's been a long time coming for Sam Shields, now free of the terrors that haunt victims of multiple concussions.

The former Green Bay Packers cornerback emerged from the enveloped grasp of the darkness -- literally, according to his The Players' Tribune piece where he claims a lot of his days were spent in the darkness of his home -- this past offseason and signed with the Los Angeles Rams after a brief workout.

Like most players dealing with post-concussion symptoms, any form of light -- whether it be from a phone, computer or the outside radiating through a window -- is ideal to avoid. Shields did such, and it was the worst course of action he could've possibly taken.

"I found this one woman who was out in L.A., and she had worked with doctors at UCLA, where they had some of the best programs for dealing with post-concussive stuff like I had," Shields wrote. "I reached out to her and told her my situation, and she straight up told me that I needed to come out there ASAP.

"The main thing I learned was that what I had been doing -- staying at home all day in the dark and just waiting for my head to get right on its own -- was the worst thing I could have possibly done. They told me that my brain was like any other. muscle."

Shields suffered his fifth reported concussion in the Packers' 2016 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was the last time he'd step on a football field for almost 16 months.

After being signed as an undrafted free agent -- and fairly new to the cornerback position as an ex-receiver -- by the Packers in 2010, Shields went on to play in 80 games in Green Bay. He recorded 18 interceptions, 66 defended passes and 243 total tackles.

This Sunday, he'll be able to square off with the team that landed him his first NFL opportunity eight years ago.

Along with that first opportunity comes some of the players who helped pave the road for Shields, including safety Morgan Burnett. Had it not been for his reassurance at a time when Shields nearly walked away from the game as a rookie, there's a chance he'd be in another profession.

"Every day during camp, Morgan stayed up late and studied with me," Shields said. "And I don't know if he said something to the other guys or what, but one day at practice I was over with all the DBs -- Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Jarrett Bush and the rest of the vets -- and they were like, Heyy, man, we got you. You're gonna get this.'"

Shields, now in his eighth NFL season with a plethora of veteran savvy under his belt at this point, doesn't sport any disdain for the Packers following his unceremonial release from the team at the end of the 2016 season.

Confusion? Sure. But realistically, you're fooling yourself if you don't think Shields would relish an opportunity to intercept his former teammate, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

"When the Packers released me, that [expletive] hurt. Even though in my mind I was basically done with football, and I knew that their decision was just business, I was still sad as a [expletive]."

Shields wrote that he was barely contacted by the team throughout the entire duration of the time he was on injured reserve in the 2016 season. To him, while fending off his own demons and now without the support of the franchise that drafted him, it was rock bottom.

"I've never had any hard feelings about it all, though. I'll always have love for the Packers. They gave me my chance as an undrafted free agent. They paid me when it was time to get paid. The fans were always crazy supportive -- they still show me love today -- and I loved all the guys I played with and the people I met in the organization. So the fact that they just cut me loose like that ... I don't know. I mean, I get it. Business is business, right?

"I just didn't like the way they went about that business."

With the loss of Aqib Talib in the Rams' secondary, Shields has seen an increase in playing time this season. He's third amongst the team's cornerback group in defensive snaps played through the first seven games, in which the Rams are 7-0.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (9)

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Bearmeat's picture

October 27, 2018 at 12:29 pm

I'm happy for Sam, as long as he stays healthy. I really hope he doesn't get another concussion...

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The TKstinator's picture

October 27, 2018 at 06:08 pm

He’s already had the aforementioned plethora of those.

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Johnblood27's picture

October 28, 2018 at 11:10 am

Nice...

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Skip greenBayless's picture

October 27, 2018 at 12:47 pm

One of my all time favorite players. Who can forget those two int's in the NFC Championship game as a rookie. One right before halftime to save a td and the other in the end to seal the game. What a great player and great story. I wish him nothing but the best.

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yooperman's picture

October 27, 2018 at 04:29 pm

How good would it look seeing Shields you in a packer uniform playing safety instead of Brice?

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The TKstinator's picture

October 27, 2018 at 06:08 pm

So you want a small, 5 time post concussion guy playing safety? That’s just an anti Brice comment.

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fastmoving's picture

October 27, 2018 at 05:25 pm

cool guy. wondering if he still has his Green Bay tattoo. if they found out in the Rams locker room he probably got teased a lot on sunday…….

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Skip greenBayless's picture

October 28, 2018 at 12:20 am

That ugly ass tattoo he put on his neck was probably the worst decision he's ever made. I am sure he regrets that bigly. That's called being young and stupid. Worst thing in the world to me is seeing these now old and fat women with tattoos on their hands, legs, breasts etc. You get old people and tattoos on old people are not a good look that I will tell you. I once made love to a divorced woman who had a "Property of Bob" tattoo on her ass. I said what the hell is this? Why didn't you get it removed? She told me to talk to Bob. I'm done with women and tattoos. Sorry to vent but this brought back a bad memory for me.

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The TKstinator's picture

October 28, 2018 at 08:15 am

Maybe the “G” tattoo on his neck was put there on top of an old one, to obscure it or cover it up. Something embarrassing like “then one day I was shootin’ at some food, when up from the ground came a-bubblin’ crude”??

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