Following a minicamp tryout, the Kansas City Chiefs signed former Blue Springs High School, North Dakota State and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Darrius Shepherd to a contract on June 17.
Speaking with reporters over the weekend — while appearing at Carson Wentz’s Audience of One Foundation charity softball game at NDSU’s Newman Outdoor Field — Shepherd said he’s finally getting a chance to play for the team he’s supported his whole life.
“Since I can remember, that’s the only team I rooted for growing up,” he told reporters, via Inforum. “Some of my favorite players were Dante Hall and Eric Berry — among other guys. I was a diehard Chiefs fan until 2019 when I became a Packer. I had to put them away for two years — and now I’m back. It’s incredible.”
An undrafted free agent in 2019, Shepherd was on the Packers’ active roster through the end of October of his rookie season — when Green Bay defeated the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. He only appeared on special teams during that game, but relished the opportunity to play in front of his Kansas City friends and family — which he now hopes to do more often.
“It’s amazing — having friends and family in the area, being from KC, I’m super excited to go play for the hometown team,” he said. “It’s a dream come true.”
During his two seasons in Green Bay — much of that time on their practice squad — Shepherd appeared in 14 games. He was used mostly on special teams, in which he collected 20 kickoff returns for 374 yards. That experience could help him earn a roster spot in Kansas City’s crowded wide receiver group. But he has another advantage, too: playing with top quarterbacks like Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and the Indianapolis Colts’ Carson Wentz, from whom Shepherd caught passes as an NDSU freshman.
“I’ve been super blessed to be around a ton of super-talented quarterbacks,” said Shepherd. “I’m just going to go in and try to be a sponge and learn as much as I can. And take what I learned from A-Rod to apply to Pat because they both have such similarities in their games. It’ll be really cool to play with these legends. I know he’s only been in the game so long, but he is really a legend.”
The Chiefs currently have 15 wide receivers on their roster, so it will be an uphill battle for Shepherd to make the team in September. But for now, he’s living the dream.
“They’ve been on a great run,” he said. “Watching as a fan, it’s something you want to be a part of. Now to actually be a part of it, you couldn’t ask for more. I’m excited to help contribute to that and keep winning games — and hopefully get a Super Bowl this year.”
When Kansas City’s training camp opens at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri in late July, we’ll get an opportunity to see what Shepherd can do with his hometown team.