NFL Looking Into Russell Shepard Claims

Wide receiver Russell Shepard raised some eyebrows when he told a Louisiana radio station that the Eagles had signed him to a free-agent contract before the draft was over, which would be against the rules. The NFL is checking it out.

“Yes, we are looking into it to determine the facts,” said league spokesman Greg Aiello.

Shepard said Chip Kelly reached out to him at the beginning of the sixth round and explained that the Eagles wanted him, but were short on picks after trading away a seventh-rounder to move up and grab Matt Barkley.

“I actually took myself off the draft board during the draft,” Shepard told the station. “Teams started calling me probably in the middle of the sixth round asking me ‘is it true that you’ve signed with a team already? The draft isn’t even over?’ and I actually got it out of the way before the draft was over.”

The Eagles, through a statement, said Shepard’s account is off the mark.

“Russell Shepard has not signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, we did come to terms on a contract with he and his agent after the draft was completed. We anticipate he, like all of the rookie free agents we have agreed to terms with, will take a physical examination upon arriving in Philadelphia prior to next week’s rookie mini-camp and then sign a contract.”

Teams are allowed to contact a player during the draft to express interest. If they are on the clock, they are permitted to discuss financial parameters with a player or his agent. They cannot negotiate a contract until the draft concludes.

Shepard said Kelly recruited him out of high school. As the draft went on, he said he decided that the Eagles would be the best fit for his versatile skill-set.  The 6-1, 195-pounder went to LSU as a dual-threat quarterback and saw time at multiple positions. He finished his career with 733 rushing yards and 565 receiving yards on 58 catches. Sheppard ran a 4.46 at his Pro Day, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com. Brandt also reported that some teams were looking at him as a defensive back.

Shepard stated that he recently had a conversation with receivers coach Bob Bicknell, who relayed that the team was already getting packages ready for him. He added that there could be an opportunity to run some Wildcat “because they are trying to take some pressure off Mike Vick. They don’t want him to get hit as much. I have an opportunity to make a lot of plays and be very involved in this offense.”

The thought of the coaches already concocting plays for an undrafted free agent seems like a stretch. It is possible his draft-day story is as well.

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  • GEagle

    This kid is a friggin idiot…Tooting his own horn, he created uneccessary Drama. Not a good start to your Eagles career kid,.,
    ………I took myself off the board? They are already creating packages for an undrafted rookie??? GET REAL! We wont get punished for this crap

    • Bdawkbdawk

      I don’t know man. It’s tough not to get a big head after Coach Kelly tells you that youre gonna get 20 Million in guaranteed money and that the Eagles are going to unretire Van Buren’s number so you can wear it. Will you be attending the parade down Broad to escort Shepard to his physical?

    • southy

      Mara will demand that we give up cap space.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        Seems to be a common infraction and I’ve never known anyone to have been sanctioned by the commissioner for this violation.

        I doubt any penalty is more server than forfeiture of a 7th round pick.

        It’s a great demonstration in just how forward thinking Kelly is the kid claims the Eagles have already devised plays and a strategy to feature his talents. Impressive… if true.

  • PaoliBulldog

    Stupid people do stupid things. Nice first impression, Mr. Jackass-of-all-trades.

  • JofreyRice

    Seems like a common sense move. Sign the guy before anyone drafts him. Kelly’s revolutionizing the NFL by doing things no one’s thought of.

    Expect him to try to score the first touchdown of the season at some point before the official “kickoff” of the first game. Makes you wonder why no one has thought of this yet.

    • G

      LMAO

    • Warhound

      It’s the Ol’ Japanese Empire approach: win the war before the other guy knows that it started.

  • Josh

    So…Do we think he can really play DB? Those measurables look good for a DB – size and speed. And we need the help!

    • GEagle

      I dont see how people are still so concerned about the Cornerbacks:
      ……………….
      Cary Williams is a young Kid, who just started getting some playing experience under his belt..He isnt even closed to reaching his ceiling as a player. We got an Outside corner who held his own against, Peyton,Brady and Kapernick, and he did it in his first year getting real playing Time. The kid is going to continue to improve for atleast another two years…Bradley Fletcher, if he doesnt suffer any setbacks with his knees will be the type of corner that Philly will really like…strong man coverage, good and willing tackler for a corner…Boykin will grow into a good solid nickle corner…and we got a versatile Poyer, who can be our Dime Corner, ready to fill in anywhere from Cary, to Fletcher to Boykin in case of injuries…… I dont think we have corners that are going to form an Elite Unit THIS YEAR…but I do believe that if we dont suffer any serious injuries(big IF, considering Fletch’s knees), than we have our cornerbacks of the future on the team already…now they just need to develope, improve, and Gel as a unit……………
      ………………….
      .I think there is a much better chance that we already have the new age eagles corners on our roster, as opposed to, already having our Future safeties on the roster..

      • joethomas215

        I believe this secondary will eventually be compared to Vincent, Taylor, and Dawkins. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all

  • Dan

    Poor Kid…He’s just trying to explain to everyone in his hometown why NO ONE selected him in the draft.

    • GEagle

      lol basically!

    • cliff henny

      probably alot truth to your hometown folks theory, rumor is that Miles jerked him around pretty good. kid wanted to transfer out, miles claimed he’ll give him bigger roll, comes back and gets lesser roll. kid was heralded college recruit, did nothing, now not drafted, just wants to save face infront of friends. or, kelly is just that good of a recruiter that he can talk a kid out of being 6th round picks and sign UFA contract with us.

  • Bob A

    You know what Chip says.. dumb people do dumb things…congrats on becoming the first guy to get released before there was even a mini camp. And if he feels real generous and doesn’t release you.. try to keep the stupid covered up a bit better

    • Dominik

      Why release him if there isn’t a contract signed yet? Would be pretty stupid. ;)

      But yeah, the first thing I thought when the story broke was the comment from Kelly about smart/dumb players – the guy must have a real nice talent if Kelly should connive this incident.

      • Bob A

        Release was the wrong word, but I’ll bet they’re having second thoughts about agreeing to terms in advance of his physical, thoughts they don’t have about the other 8 RFAs. Like people above have said, the kid was probably trying to save face, but he made cracking an already crowded receiving corps a little bit tougher

  • Average__Joseph

    ““I actually took myself off the draft board during the draft,” Shepard told the station.”
    So let me understand this: lets say a team drafted him in round 6 or 7, it is announced at the NFL podium that he was drafted by Team X, the team calls to congratulate him and he says, “Sorry, I took myself off the draft board beacause I already signed a free agent contract with Philadelphia.” Hmmmm. Or does every team BEFORE they make a pick call to make sure the player hasn’t taken themself “off the draft board”? Hmmmm. Somewhere Joe Banner is involved. Hmmmm.

    Just An Average Joseph (scratching his head)

  • Septhinox

    After being signed during the draft, Russell Shepard is expected also to be released from the Eagles before ever signing a contract.

    “They needed the cap space and I agreed to renegotiate my contract to allow the team more flexibility,” Shepard said as he spoke outside of the NovaCare complex today.

    • Average__Joseph

      Best comment thus far!!!
      Just An Average Joseph (laughing)

  • Realist

    Everyone seems to be missing the biggest part of the article.” Their is opportunity to play some wildcat, to take some pressure off Mike Vick so he dosen’t get hit as much”. So right now they view Mike Vick as the starter.

    • cliff henny

      think this is a case of the kid hearing what he wants to hear. he said the same thing when he wanted to transfer out of LSU, claimed MIles promised him greater roll if he came back, so he did…his roll was lessened.

      • Realist

        That could definitely be the case, but he did name our WR coach and stated their already making packages for him.

        • JofreyRice

          Yeah, *he* (Shephard) stated that they (the Eagles) are making specific packages for him, and cited the need to get Vick (who is reportedly going to be part of a QB competition, not the presumptive starter) to be spelled in Wildcat packages. Doesn’t sound very “real”. They are planning specific packages for undrafted free agents but can’t figure out whether Vinny Curry is a DE or OLB? I think the best theory I’ve read on this is that a guy who was a former 5 star recruit is trying to save some of his wounded pride.

  • wydok

    This kid sounds like a compulsive liar.

  • h

    it proabbly went something more like this:
    the eagles had a lot of guys that they wanted on the draft board and not enough picks so the eagles called shepherd to tell him that he will have a contract with the eagles if he doesnt get picked up by any other team. he probably took it as if he already had a contract in place, even though the draft was going on but nothing was set in stone. maybe after this cal he was set on becoming an eagle and told other teams that he had a contract in place and wasnt interested

  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    To coin a phase from Warren Sapp, if you aren’t cheating you’re not trying to win. This approach to getting an obvious edge on the competition is some what consistent with the allegations from the NCAA on Oregon under Kelly.

    Good to have a coach in place that knows winning isn’t everything, but winning is the only thing to secure a $6 Million annual salary. Besides, it’s not cheating or wrong if you’ve not been caught with your hands in the cookies jar and have a credible alibi. The Patriots showed the NFL that.

    This is where having Howie the eraser head comes to the Eagles advantage. Having been trained as an attorney at Fordham, he has mastered the ability to double talk his way out of most any charges of rules violations and infractions.

  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    ahem..I also took my name off the board this year.

  • Token

    Id cut the kid at first chance just for causing this mess. Plus it sounds like hes a complete moron.

  • Smooth595

    Yeah I could see the implications of this being HUGE for Real Eagles fans

  • Smooth595

    Chip seems to be a pretty intelligent guy having reasons for everything he does he just better remember he’s in Philly now & they Boo Santa Claus so mk sure All his “Ducks” are in a row (no pun intended)

  • Ed Charles

    He obviously was at LSU for the food cause he’s dumb as a stump!