EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Here's a new one for a Giants news conference: Sterling Shepard was asked today to compare the pressure of playing in a big football game to the birth last Friday of his first child.
"It was a little bit more intense," the third-year wide receiver said – about childbirth, not a game. "You kind of have an idea of what you're going into on game day. There, you have no idea what's going to happen or what could happen, so the nerves are kicking a little bit more. I was on the side of the bed with her the whole time. I even caught myself pushing when the doctor was saying, 'Push,' and was like, 'What are you pushing for?' But I was helping her out and she did a great job."
Shepard and his wife, supermodel Chanel Iman, are now the overjoyed parents of daughter Cali Clay Shepard. "We share the same middle name," Shepard said.
Shepard caught two passes for 24 yards in the Giants' preseason opener vs Cleveland on Thursday night. Hours later, he was a first-time father.
"I was thinking it was going to happen on that game day," he said. "But we woke up the next morning, stood up, her water broke, and we went right to the hospital. She did great. I was there every step of the way. It was pretty graphic, but it was good. She did a great job. Our moms were there, our families were there, everything went perfect."
The Giants leave Monday afternoon to go to Detroit for three days of joint practices with the Lions, a trip Shepard would not have made had Chanel and he still been waiting for little Cali.
"I wasn't going to go to Detroit for the first few days," he said. "But she came out a little bit early for us."
*The Jets and Washington Redskins had a wild brawl yesterday in their first cooperative practice. Coach Pat Shurmur does not want to see a repeat of that when the Giants work with the Lions.
"We want our guys to be smart, we want our guys to compete, be smart, we want to stay off the ground, we want to eliminate all that chatter and just keep it encouraging," Shurmur said. "That's part of being of being a pro is being able to practice not only with your team, but with other teams. I understand competitive spirit. Those are two teams and that's their experience. We're going to try to guard against it."
The Giants' practice today was interrupted by two brief skirmishes.
"I think it's important that you need to learn how to compete and compete at a very high level," Shurmur said, "but I think it's always important to keep your composure. Part of what makes these guys special is they really look forward to the physical part of what this game is all about, and every once in a while, things heat up. Really, we were going against one another today, and those were just squabbles. Those weren't fights, just squabbles."
*Shurmur is a strong believer that joint practices benefit a team.
"I think when we do training camp here, we really don't change our environment like some years or some teams that go away," he said. "So this is a good event for us also to be a team away for a few days. There's some esprit de corps to that, some bonding, so we'll take advantage of that. And again, it's new players against a new scheme, we'll just try to do what we can to make sure we get work and don't have those flare ups."
*The teams will practice together on Thursday, which is a bit unusual the day prior to a game (the Giants and Lions meet Friday night in Ford Field).
"It's going to be two-third speed stuff," Shurmur said. "It's not going to be (full speed). There'll be some periods in there that might be full speed, but, again, our players are playing a partial game, and so I still think it's important to remember we're in training camp."
*Odell Beckham, Jr. didn't play against the Browns, but Shurmur did not specify whether the team's caution regarding OBJ's surgically-repaired ankle will extend to the Detroit workouts.
"I'm just going to continue, I know it's probably getting old for you to hear my answer, but I'm just going to try to be smart with Odell as he comes back," Shurmur said. "You see him out here and what he can do in practice, I just want to be smart in all conditions as we lead up to the season."
*Safety Darian Thompson (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), tight end Ryan O'Malley (ankle), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), wide receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), and linebacker Connor Barwin did not practice.
*Running back Saquon Barkley left practice early after stretching out for a long reception. His left leg was wrapped the remainder of practice. Shurmur said this afternoon after Barkley had been examined, "Saquon has a mild strain, and we'll be smart with him as we move along here."