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Real Possibility Sam Shields’ Career Could Be Over

In probably the most anti-climactic announcement of the weekend, the Green Bay Packers ruled cornerback Sam Shields out of Sunday night’s game with the Minnesota Vikings, on Saturday.

We expected that announcement all week long after Shields suffered a concussion in week 1. It was the fifth such injury of Shields’ career. The Packers’ No. 1 corner missed four weeks after sustaining his fourth concussion late in the 2015 season.

This past offseason, he described the issues he faced and the picture wasn’t pretty.

In most cases, when someone suffers multiple concussions, the symptoms and issues linger longer than the previous time.

So what should we expect of Shields this time? As we discussed on the podcast, we’d be surprised if he played again prior to the bye week.

The Packers have the unenviable week 4 bye, the earliest such date in the NFL. That would give Shields three full weeks to recover. With their depth in the secondary, it makes no sense for the Packers to try to rush Shields back. Even if he does pass protocol before the bye, we could see the Packers sitting Shields until the other side of it just to be safe.

We could also foresee another scenario. The one where Shields decides he’s had enough and hangs it up for good.

He certainly wouldn’t be the first guy to retire because of concerns about head injuries. Just last year, former Wisconsin Badger Chris Borland retired at age 24 because of concussions. Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley did the same this past offseason at age 23.

We don’t know the severity of Shields’ current concussion. We will have a better idea as the weeks go on, though. The longer he remains on the sidelines, the closer he gets to calling it a career.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Howard September 18, 2016

    I think Shields will retire. The question is will Shield’s agent try to convince Shields to play this year to get next years contract, if not from the Packers from another team. Even if Shields does not retire this year you can guarantee the Packers will release Shields after this season to not incurr the liability of Shields 2017 base contract. Shields would be smart to retire before he causes permanent damage. Shields will already collect this years contract and there is no chance the Packers will keep Shields after the season.

    1. PF4L September 18, 2016

      Not saying it as fact in this case, but it’s not necessarily the player or agents decision to keep playing.

      The Packers aren’t a team to gamble on a player’s long term health. If the Packers refused to touch him, chances are a lot of teams would follow suit.

  2. PF4L September 18, 2016

    Excellent points made Monty. At some point, after multiple concussions, a neurologist or neuropsychologist comes in and says enough is enough.