Lito Sheppard

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Lito Sheppard
Photograph of Lito Sheppard, a young African-American man, dressed in the uniform of the Philadelphia Eagles, signing an autograph.
Sheppard with the Philadelphia Eagles in August 2005.
No. --     Free agent
Cornerback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1981-04-08) April 8, 1981 (age 33)
Place of birth: Jacksonville, Florida
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) Weight: 194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school: Jacksonville (FL) Raines
College: Florida
NFL Draft: 2002 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26
Debuted in 2002 for the Philadelphia Eagles
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles 345
Passes defended 70
Interceptions 19
INT return yards 460
INT return TDs 3
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Lito Decorian Sheppard (born April 8, 1981) is an American football cornerback who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft after playing college football for the University of Florida. He played for the Eagles for seven seasons, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2006 during his tenure. He played for the New York Jets in 2009, the Minnesota Vikings in 2010, and the Oakland Raiders in 2011.

Early years[edit]

Sheppard was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1981.[1] He attended William M. Raines High School in Jacksonville, where he was an all-state and USA Today All-American at defensive back for the Raines Vikings high school football team.[2] Sheppard had eighteen interceptions in twenty-nine games as a junior and senior, and led the Vikings to an undefeated season a state championship in 1998.[2] In 2007, eight years after he graduated from high school, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized Sheppard as one of the "100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years" of Florida high school football.[2]

College career[edit]

Sheppard received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida,[3] where he played college football for coach Steve Spurrier's Florida Gators football team from 1999 to 2001.[4] He was a first-team All-American as a sophomore in 2000, and a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 2000 and 2001.[4] In his three-season college career, he started twenty-two games, recorded eight interceptions, had eighty-seven tackles, and returned twenty-seven kickoffs for 472 yards (an average of 22.5 yards per return).[3] Sheppard declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft after his junior year.[3]

In one of a series of articles published by The Gainesville Sun in 2006, he was ranked as No. 44 among the 100 greatest Gators from the first 100 years of Florida football.[5]

Professional career[edit]

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

In the 2002 NFL Draft, Sheppard was selected in the first round (twenty-sixth pick overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles.[6]

In 2004 Sheppard had five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. He was named Defensive Player of the Month for the month of November after returning two interceptions for touchdowns. Sheppard was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2004.

2005 was the first of three injury filled seasons for Sheppard. He missed six games and finished with three interceptions.

On October 8, 2006, Lito became the first player in NFL history to have two interception returns of more than 100 yards. Both returns came against the Dallas Cowboys (2004 and 2006). The most recent return sealed a 38-24 win over the Cowboys and secured 1st place in the division for the Eagles.

In the Eagles Wild Card playoff game on January 7 against the New York Giants, Sheppard dislocated his elbow. He missed the next playoff game against the Saints, which the Eagles lost 27-24.

In a 2007 game against the Green Bay Packers Sheppard suffered an injury. Sheppard went through another injury-filled season and finished with two interceptions.

In the 2008 offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles signed former New England Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel. This fueled speculation that Sheppard was available via trade. That offseason, he changed agents to Drew Rosenhaus.

During the 2008 season, Sheppard saw much reduced action due to good performances by starting corners Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown.

New York Jets[edit]

Sheppard was traded to the New York Jets on February 28, 2009, for a fifth round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.[7] The Jets shortly after restructured Sheppards' contract, adding one year and "new" money to the contract in 2010.[8] He was released on March 4, 2010.

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Sheppard signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings on April 21, 2010.[9] He became a free agent following the 2010 season.[10]

Oakland Raiders[edit]

Sheppard was signed by the Oakland Raiders on August 26, 2011, released during the final cuts on September 3, and then re-signed by the team on October 31. During the remainder of the 2011 season, he played in nine games and started seven of them.[1] He became a free agent after the season.[11]

NFL stats[edit]

Year Team Games Combined Tackles Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries Fumble Return Yards Interceptions Interception Return Yards Return Yards per Interception Longest Interception Return Interceptions Returned for Touchdown Passes Defended
2002 PHI 12 13 10 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2003 PHI 16 51 44 7 0.0 1 0 0 1 34 34 34 0 18
2004 PHI 15 56 52 4 1.0 0 0 0 5 172 34 101 2 14
2005 PHI 10 31 27 4 1.0 1 0 0 3 72 24 34 0 9
2006 PHI 13 30 25 5 0.0 0 1 0 6 157 26 102 1 19
2007 PHI 11 51 47 4 0.0 0 0 0 2 25 13 16 0 5
2008 PHI 16 21 18 3 0.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 4
2009 NYJ 11 31 25 6 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 8
2010 MIN 13 18 15 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
2011 OAK 9 43 40 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Career 126 345 303 42 3.0 3 1 0 19 460 24 102 3 85

[12]

Personal[edit]

Sheppard is the cousin of NFL wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and is also the nephew of former NFL player Derrick Gaffney.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pro-Football-Reference.com, Players, Lito Sheppard. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "FHSAA unveils '100 Greatest Players of First 100 Years' as part of centennial football celebration," Florida High School Athletic Association (December 4, 2007). Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c GatorZone.com, Football History, 2001 Roster, Lito Sheppard. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  4. ^ a b 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 80, 89, 94, 97, 136, 148–150, 154, 185 (2011). Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  5. ^ Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 44 Lito Sheppard," The Gainesville Sun (July 21, 2006). Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  6. ^ National Football League, Draft History, 2002. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  7. ^ Greg Bishop, "Jets Acquire Sheppard in Latest Renovation," New York Times, p. S1 (February 28, 2009). Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Rich Cimino, "Jets extend Sheppard's contract," New York Daily News (February 28, 2009). Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  9. ^ Mike Florio, "Lito shuffles to Minnesota," Profootballtalk.com (April 21, 2010). Retrieved April 21, 2010.
  10. ^ "List of NFL free agents". al.com. July 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  11. ^ Roshan Bhagat, "2012 NFL Free Agent Defensive Backs," Football's Future (undated). Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  12. ^ "Lito Sheppard Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 

External links[edit]