EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tae Crowder had a moment in the sun this week, but the Giants' rookie linebacker was today placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury suffered in a 20-19 victory against the Washington Football Team on Sunday. Crowder, the Mr. Irrelevant honoree from the 2020 NFL Draft, earned his first bit of professional fame by recovering a Kyle Allen fumble and racing 43 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:43 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Now he must miss a minimum of three games, beginning with the Giants' contest Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles in Lincoln Financial Field.
Crowder's replacement on the roster will be veteran defensive end Jabaal Sheard, who terminated his practice squad contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars to join the Giants. Sheard played 15 snaps and deflected a pass in the Jaguars' loss Sunday to the Detroit Lions. It was his only appearance of the season.
Sheard will not be eligible to play against the Eagles. Though he's received daily Covid-19 testing with Jacksonville, the protocols reset when a player joins a new team. The Giants' next game after Philadelphia will be at home on Monday night, Nov. 2, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sheard has played in 135 regular-season games with 103 starts for Cleveland, New England, Indianapolis and Jacksonville. He has also played in seven postseason games with two starts.
In 2015-16, Sheard played in 28 regular-season games and five postseason games for the Patriots when Joe Judge was the special teams coordinator. Sheard had two tackles, including a half-sack, when New England defeated the Atlanta Falcons in overtime in Super Bowl LI following the 2016 season.
Sheard's 10-season totals include 387 regular-season tackles (264) solo, 70 tackles for loss, 51.5 sacks, 27 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. In the postseason, he has 23 tackles (12 solo) and 1.5 sacks.
Sheard entered the NFL out of the University of Pittsburgh as a 2011 second-round draft choice by the Cleveland Browns. He spent four seasons in Cleveland, two in New England and three in Indianapolis. He was signed to the Jaguars' practice squad on Oct. 12 and to their active roster on Saturday, one day before facing the Lions.
Crowder was the 255th and final selection in this year's draft. After initially contributing on special teams, he started each of the last two games. Against Washington, he played 62 defensive snaps and was second on the team with 10 tackles (six solo) in addition to his decisive return touchdown.
*Wide receiver C.J. Board (concussion) and safety Adrian Colbert (shoulder) did not practice today. Defensive back Darnay Holmes (neck) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (foot) were limited.
*Judge should see some friendly faces in the stands for the first time. He grew up in the Philadelphia area and the Eagles have received permission to allow a small number of fans into Lincoln Financial Field Thursday night.
So, how many tickets must Judge secure?
"I have to see, it's not fully decided," he said today. "I talked to our in-house people about tickets. I have a large number of cousins who have requested as early back as in the summer when the schedule was out. My wife and kids, I'll see if they can make it. The kids have school on Friday, so we'll kind of see how they're going to manage that. They've gone to school plenty of times tired making games, it's something they don't like to miss. The opportunity that it's such a close game and the opportunity that it's the first game they are going to be available to go with fans. They definitely don't want to miss it."
Any friend or family member using a Judge ticket must adhere to his requirements.
"My only rule is anybody who shows up that I either grew up with or have blood ties with, they have to wear blue," he said. "I respect their love for the Eagles from being in the town, but hey, look man, you ain't showing up cheering against my kids' Christmas. You better come out in some blue cheering for us."
*Defensive back Logan Ryan grew up in South Jersey, which is fervent Eagles territory.
"I definitely have some family members that grew up Eagles fans," Ryan said. "I understand the rivalry in this division, I grew up in it. I grew up watching all these Giants games, Eagles games. (I) bleed blue right now, this is where I wake up early every day and put it on for them. My teammates support me, and the coaches support me. I'm bleeding blue all day for this one. I'm excited to upset a lot of family and friends who may be watching. If they're not on my side, they're on the wrong side."
*Wide receiver Sterling Shepard returned to practice today. He was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 23, three days after suffering a turf toe in Chicago. The Giants have 21 days to add Shepard to their active roster.
It is unknown if Shepard will play Thursday night in Philadelphia. Yesterday, Judge was upbeat about Shepard's progress.
"He's doing good," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "He's been out there for a couple of weeks now. I know he's doing everything he can to get out there. But you have to be smart, and that's on him and the trainers to do that. Yeah, it's good to have him out there. He's been out there for a little bit now."
Asked about the possibility of Shepard facing the Eagles, Jones said, "It would be great. He's obviously a special player and can do a lot of different things. It would be great to have him back. But we've had guys step up and play really well in that spot. Regardless of who's out there, it's up to us to execute."
*Linebacker Trent Harris, who was in uniform but did not play Sunday, reverted back to the practice squad.
Safety Sean Chandler, who has been with the Giants since 2018, was signed off the practice squad by the Carolina Panthers. Matt Rhule, Chandler's first head coach at Temple University, is the Panthers' first-year coach.