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Longtime Giants receiver Sterling Shepard reuniting with Baker Mayfield on Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Once a Giant, now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

Veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who played his first eight NFL seasons in New York, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Bucs to reunite with Baker Mayfield, his former college quarterback at Oklahoma, according to NFL Network.

Shepard, 31, a Giants second-round pick in 2016, racked up 372 catches, 4,095 yards and 24 total touchdowns during his time in the Big Apple. But he was either injured or marginalized the past two seasons under the new Giants regime, despite having a strong training camp last summer.

Saquon Barkley, his best friend on the team, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in March. And now Shepard has gone south to the Florida sun.

“It’s hard not to smile right now. I wasn’t expecting this,” Shepard told NFL insider Josina Anderson on Thursday. “Three days ago Baker texted me asking ‘how does your body feel?’ I said, ‘I feel great. How’s the baby?’ Baker said, ‘The baby is good.’ Then Baker asked me, ‘man, you think you got one more in you?’

“I said, ‘it just has to be right with everything I’ve got going on with my family because I’ve already turned done other opportunities,” he said. “But I’ve been kind of thinking about it when I run outside every day and lift. Plus, when I golf with Saquon, he’s been telling me I need to quit playing around because I still got it.’”

Mayfield then told Shepard to have his agent reach out, because people in Tampa’s building were talking about Shepard recently. And that led to a strong workout that culminated in a deal.

“I’m so happy right now,” Shepard told Anderson. “I get to be with my brother again. Before this, I was in full daddy mode, but we got the contract done and now I’ll get back in Tampa Sunday for mandatory camp on Monday. But me and OBJ [Odell Beckham Jr.] are going to get together and train for a couple days too.”

This is an interesting turn in Shepard’s career considering how defined he was by his Giants tenure only two years ago.

Sources actually told the Daily News in the spring of 2023 that Giants co-owner John Mara envisioned a “long-term” role for Shepard in the organization past his playing days.

Mara and the Giants valued Shepard’s “energy” and “presence” and felt then like the building wouldn’t be the same without him.

But during a frustrating 2023 season, the Giants basically played Shepard off the New York stage, giving him a late season sendoff, despite the fact that he had not announced any intention of retiring.

So he has turned the page to a new chapter with an NFC playoff team, and if it goes according to plan, he’ll have his chance to show the Giants what they’re missing up close in Week 12 on Nov. 24 at MetLife Stadium.


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