Former Packers Wide Receiver Signs With AFC Contender

Getty Former Green Bay Packers wideout Darrius Shepherd has found a new home.

The Green Bay Packers have had some young wide receivers come and go over the last few seasons, but one of those former wideouts is getting another shot in the NFL after signing with a possible Super Bowl contender.

With the XFL season wrapping up, former Packers are starting to find new opportunities back at the NFL level. Former Green Bay defensive lineman Jack Heflin was an All-XFL selection before signing with the New Orleans Saints this offseason.

Now, another former Packers player is making an NFL comeback. Former wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, who was also an All-XFL selection, is signing with the Los Angeles Chargers, the team announced on Thursday, June 1.

A three-time FCS national champion with North Dakota State, Shepherd went undrafted in 2019 before landing with the Packers. While primarily a backup receiver, Shepherd also served as the team’s kickoff return specialist in 2019 and 2020.

After brief stints with multiple NFL teams, Shepherd went on to have a breakout season with the St. Louis Battlehawks in the XFL, even winning XFL Special Teams Player of the Year. Now, he’ll be looking to stick on an NFL roster with the Chargers.

Packers Focusing on Special Teams in 2023

Shepherd is bringing a special teams focus to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Packers have made that phase of the game their top priority this offseason.

It became evident that the Packers wanted to continue improving their special teams after promoting Rich Bisaccia to assistant head coach on top of being the team’s special teams coordinator. That role seems to have given the veteran coach more of a voice in the team’s personnel decisions, starting with the decision to re-sign All-Pro kickoff return man Keisean Nixon to a one-year deal.

The Packers weren’t done with special teams signings after that. Safety Dallin Leavitt, who has spent his entire career with Bisaccia, was also brought back on a new deal. Rudy Ford is also returning to Green Bay on a short-term contract, both as a special teams contributor and a potential competitor for one of the starting safety jobs.

With Mason Crosby likely not returning to Green Bay, the Packers also took a chance on a kicker in the 2023 NFL Draft, drafting Anders Carlson out of Auburn in the sixth round. The rookie kicker is the brother of Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson, who worked closely with Bisaccia during his time as the AFC team’s special teams coordinator.

With all of these moves, the Packers are hoping to continue building upon an improved special teams unit from 2022.

Latest Packers News

The Packers are currently in the middle of the slowest time of the NFL calendar, but news continues to trickle in surrounding the storied franchise.

Aaron Rodgers made headlines once again after speaking with Matt Schneidman with The Athletic. Along with providing some context about the end of Rodgers’ time in Green Bay, Schneidman also revealed that the four-time MVP’s agent had given the Packers an ultimatum to either fire general manager Brian Gutekunst or trade the star quarterback back in 2021.

Meanwhile, third-year Packers cornerback Eric Stokes revealed some concerning details about his season-ending injury from 2022. The former first-round pick required surgeries on both his knee and his foot to deal with a lisfranc injury that is still keeping him out of fully participating in OTAs.

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