Giants get some help in Monday night rematch against Cowboys

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) in action against the Minnesota Vikings during an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Vikings defeated the Giants 28-10. (Brad Penner/AP Images for Panini)

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard is coming back from his second concussion with greater knowledge about the problem.

Shepard was cleared from the concussion protocol on Friday and coach Pat Shurmur said Saturday that the fourth-year pro will be available Monday night when the Giants (2-6) host the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (4-3).

“I’m pretty excited,” Shepard said Saturday after practice. “Sitting out for three games is tough, so I’m looking forward to getting back and getting back in the swing of things.”

Shepard suffered his first concussion in the season opener against the Cowboys and missed the home opener against Minnesota the following weekend. His second came against Minnesota on Oct. 6 and forced him to miss games against New England, Arizona and Detroit.

The 26-year-old said he has no reservations about playing, saying he has listened to trainers and doctors. He said if he was worried, he would not be the same player.

“I mean, it’s scary getting two concussions, so I definitely will be honest on how I’m feeling and be honest with the trainers,” said Shepard, who has 25 catches for 267 yards in less than four games. The 25 catches are second on the team.

Shepard said the concussion against the Vikings was a fluke. Someone fell on his head as he was on the turf.

The one against Dallas was scary because Shepard knew something was wrong and kept playing. He knows he can’t do that anymore.

Shepard said dealing with a concussion is more frustrating than having an aching body part.

“Usually, with an ankle you can feel it and it’s not feeling good,” he said. “With the head, you can go a week feeling great and feeling 100% and not really being 100%. So, you look at that and, yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough sitting out and feeling 100%, but you’ve got to listen to the doctors and that’s what I did.”

Shepard said he got an independent second opinion about his concussions.

“I want to be as knowledgeable as I can of what I can do with this type of stuff and what I can do going forward just to know what’s going on inside my body and going on with my brain,” he said.

The return of Shepard will allow the Giants to field a lineup that includes him, fellow receiver Golden Tate III, tight end Evan Engram, running back Saquon Barkley and rookie quarterback Daniel Jones for the first time. Tate’s four-game suspension for using performance enhancers and injuries to Shepard and Barkley prevented that in the opening eight games.

— Tom Canavan

Associated Press