Packers cornerback Sam Shields isn’t that far removed from signing as an undrafted rookie, and being glad for a $7,500 signing bonus.
So he said his four-year, $39 million contract signed this offseason wouldn’t change the way he plays.
Shields, who went from a late conversion from wide receiver in college to one of the best cover men in the game, said his original drive was still there.
“Nah, it won’t. I’m going to keep continuing to work my butt off, make plays and hopefully down the line get another one. It’s just the beginning,” Shields said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com. “I still sit back and think about what I went through when I first started, when I switched to D. I sit and talked to my friends and family about it. It still amazes me, like ‘Hey, I’m in this position.’ It’s all a blessing.”
Of course, there’s a little more of a burden of expectation on Shields, since he’s the Packers’ third-highest-paid player, behind Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.
“Sam’s best football is still in front of him. I honestly believe he has two more years of ascending and then he’s going to play at that level for another four years. That’s six years of just really good football ahead of him,” cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said. “He might have more. I don’t know what he’s going to have after that, but I see two more years of getting better and four more of holding that type of high quality play.
“When Sam walked into the room four years ago in 2010, he was the ninth guy and he ended up starting against Philly in the very first game [as the third cornerback in the nickel defense]. If you work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are. If you work hard and you show that you’re the guy that can make plays, you’ll be given an opportunity.”
Shields is also just 26 years old, which gives him time for another contract. And if he keeps improving as they expect, it will again be a big one.