Packers CB Sam Shields, who signed a multi-year contract extension just before the start of free agency, says his newfound financial security won’t change the way he approaches his craft.
“It won’t. I tell everybody, it’s just the beginning,” Shields said after Tuesday’s OTA practice. “I’m going to keep continuing to work my butt off, make plays and hopefully down the line get another one. It’s just the beginning.”
As free agency approached in early March, Shields said he wanted to remain in Green Bay but admitted he got “scared” the Packers might not come through with a contract offer to his liking and he’d be shopping elsewhere. He said playing with CB Tramon Williams, S Morgan Burnett and others is “like a family” and he wanted to stay.
“Because I’ve been here, I’ve been established since Day 1,” he said. “The coaches trust me.”
Shields credited CB coach Joe Whitt Jr. with getting him to this point. Coming from the University of Miami (Fla.), Shields switched from receiver to defensive back for his final year with the Hurricanes and came to the Packers as an undrafted rookie. He had so much trouble learning the defense that Whitt devised flash cards to quiz him on packages and assignments, and he got it down well enough to be the Packers’ nickel corner as a rookie on the 2010 Super Bowl team.
Last season was almost assuredly his best, as he posted a career-high 64 tackles and tied his career best with four interceptions, including three in the final five regular-season games. He also has four postseason interceptions in his career, tied for the franchise playoff record with Williams and a handful of others, but he lost a chance to grab solo possession of that record when he left last January’s playoff game against the 49ers in the first quarter with a leg injury.
That injury, originally thought to be a knee problem, ended up not being anything serious — Shields called it a high ankle sprain on Tuesday — and had no impact on his pending free-agent status.
“When I sit back and think about what I went through when I first started, switched to DB, it still amazes me that I’m in this position,” Shields said. “It’s a blessing.”
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