IRVINE, Calif. — Sam Shields‘ comeback continued Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams cornerback practiced in full pads for the first time since a concussion sidelined him in 2016.
“It’s hard mentally for anybody to come back and put these pads on,” Shields said after the workout. “But like I said before, I’m just happy to be here with my brothers. That’s the most important part.”
Shields, 30, sat out last season after he was released from the Green Bay Packers in February 2017 following his fourth known concussion.
The Rams signed the former Pro Bowl selection as an unrestricted free agent in March, and through four days of training camp, Shields has been among the standouts in a position group that includes Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Nickell Robey-Coleman.
“He’s just getting back into the groove and you can see why he was making the plays,” Peters said. “That’s why we call him ball-skills Shields.”
Rams coach Sean McVay also has been impressed.
“He’s doing a great job,” McVay said. “Elite man-to-man skills, unbelievable lateral agility and just short-space quickness. He’s a great guy. … We’re hoping he’s able to stay healthy.”
Shields last played in a season opener on Sept. 11, 2016, with the Packers, when he suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. It was his second concussion in less than nine months.
Shields also missed four games in 2015 because of concussions.
On Sunday, Shields said he had to eliminate any fear of suffering another head injury before returning to the field, a decision he pondered for a year and a half.
“I think I made the right choice,” he said. “You’ve got to be mentally strong.”
The Packers signed Shields out of Miami as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He has 23 career interceptions (including playoffs).
The Rams will have their second padded practice on Monday.
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