ATLANTA, Ga. (WBAY) - Here at the Super Bowl, it’s such a surprise, and a pleasant one, to see former Packer Sam Shields back on the big stage.
After suffering his 5th diagnosed concussion in the season opener 2 years ago, he locked himself away in the dark to avoid headaches, and it took him 2 years to get back to the game.
"Scary and dark moments man," Shields recalled. "The headaches were not fading away. Things like that. I just had to cope with it."
After getting cut by the Packers following the 2016 season, he went west, to LA, to get treatment.
"I definitely went and got the right help from the UCLA doctors," Shields said.
Then he signed in LA this year, and has made it back to the Super Bowl for the first time since winning as a rookie with the Packers 8 years ago.
"It is hard to get to this situation," Shields said. "But like I said, just going through the process that I went to, I had to take it one day at a time."
He’s no longer the star corner, but stars on special teams, catching more than his fair share of fake punts, and downing others to set up safeties in big games, like the one against his former team.
"This league is about opportunity, and taking advantage of them," Shields explained. "And that has always my thing."
The former un-drafted free agent has also always been a big game player. He had 2 interceptions in the 2010 NFC Title game, and has 5 postseason picks.
"Just stepping my game up when it is time," Shields explained of his propensity for the big plays in big games. "It is a different level in the playoffs."
And while there are those that think Shields is gambling with his life playing after so many concussions, he urges everything to consider the big picture.
"Make sure everything is OK before you get back playing, or whatever you are doing," Shields encouraged. "Always make sure your health is the main thing."
He feels healthy, has had no setbacks in a full season, and is full of energy awaiting kickoff Sunday night.