Giants Envision ‘Long Term’ Job for Current Player: Report

Giants receiver Sterling Shepard (3) reacts to a play at MetLife Stadium

Getty Images The next great Giants coach could be... wide receiver Sterling Shepard?

The New York Giants brought Sterling Shepard back for the 2023 season.

But he could be with the team much, much longer than that. 

Team co-owner John Mara envisions a “long-term role” in the organization for Shepard, according to The New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard. The 30-year-old receiver signed a one-year, $1.3 million deal on March 12 to play for Big Blue again. 

Mara’s vision appears to extend beyond Shepard’s playing career, though. 

“Mara is said to value Shepard’s ‘energy’ and ‘presence,’” Leonard wrote. “To paraphrase one source, Mara and the Giants feel like the building wouldn’t be the same without him.”

Shepard proved how indispensable he was off the field in 2022. He remained with the Giants even after tearing his ACL in Week 3, becoming what general manager Joe Schoen calls a “juice man” — half coach, half cheerleader, all energy. 

Here’s what else you need to know about Shepard and his future with Big Blue.

Sterling Shepard: Giant for Life?

The Giants stitch the mantra “Once a Giant, Always a Giant” into the collar of their alternate uniforms. 

That “Giants lifer” attitude now applies to Shepard as it does many other current and former players. 

Team legends like Michael Strahan visited Big Blue during 2022 training camp. Ex-players like Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Shaun O’Hara hold roles with the Giants. And at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Mara expressed his hope that Saquon Barkley remains a “Giant for life.”

“My dream is that [Barkley] plays his whole career as a Giant, like Eli did, like Strahan did, like Tiki [Barber] did,” Mara told reporters on March 28. “I mentioned to him, ‘Look what they’re doing off the field now.’ I think he would like that as well.”

It’s different with Shepard, though. 

According to Leonard, the eight-year veteran “unofficially helped coach wide receivers at practices.” He also acted as a team and crowd hype man at MetLife Stadium.

If he wants it, Shepard could have a bright future in coaching.

“He’s one of the better leaders that I’ve been around — very selfless,” head coach Brian Daboll told reporters on January 19. “Certainly, I believe that he wishes he could play. But he comes out here with a great attitude. He’s our music guy. So, he’s been great. Very fortunate for him to be here.”

Added Daboll: “I think he helps everybody. He helps the defensive guys, the receivers, the offensive guys. He’s all over in practice. Walkthrough, he’s talking to those guys. He’s played a lot of football. I think the guys have a lot of respect for him. He’s just been a really good teammate for us.”

John Mara Issues Hilarious Warning to Brian Daboll

Few people in New York are more popular than Daboll right now.

The Associated Press and the Pro Football Writers Association of America both named Daboll the NFL Coach of the Year. The Candadian-born coach is a staple at Rangers games at Madison Square Garden. And his Giants are on the upswing after a surprising 9-7-1 campaign. 

Mara likened him to “Bono walking around New York City” in an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio — and then offered this lighthearted jab: Don’t go “from Bono to Bozo.”

Daboll’s head is sunburned after joining Mara in Arizona, but it isn’t too big for his shoulders.

He told reporters that his team was “smoked by the Eagles in the playoffs” to end the 2022 season and believes the team’s return to relevancy will require even more work.

“What you do one year has no correlation to what you do next year,” he said on March 28. “What you do one game has no correlation to what you do the next game. … In terms of where we’re at and things we got to do, we got a long climb ahead of us.”

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