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The Kansas City Chiefs recently added a player with local roots to the 90-man offseason roster, signing WR Darrius Shepherd following a tryout at mandatory minicamp.
Shepherd played football at Blue Springs High School and growing up he considered himself a “diehard” Chiefs fan. He’d leave the area for the first time to play for the North Dakota State Bison in college. He became a three-time FCS national champion with NDSU (2015, 2017 and 2018) before turning pro.
Shepherd would go undrafted in the 2019 NFL draft, joining the Green Bay Packers as a free agent following the draft. When he became a Packer, Shepherd had to cast his long-held Chiefs fandom aside, but it wouldn’t be forgotten.
“Since I can remember, that’s the only team I rooted for growing up,” Shepherd said of the Chiefs, 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.”
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Now, having joined the franchise he rooted for growing up, Shepherd is one of the few players who get to recognize the dream of playing for their hometown team.
“It’s amazing — having friends and family in the area, being from KC, I’m super excited to go play for the hometown team,” Shepherd continued. “It’s a dream come true.”
Shepherd will have an opportunity to compete with a deep receiver group at training camp in July and August. Being a late addition to the roster, he’ll have an even greater challenge to make the team. To compensate he’s falling back on what he knows — which is what it’s like to play with NFL quarterbacks.
At NDSU he caught passes from Carson Wentz and Easton Stick. In the NFL he’s caught passes from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Now, he’ll get a chance to catch passes from Patrick Mahomes, who Shepherd already considers a “legend.”
“I’ve been super blessed to be around a ton of super-talented quarterbacks,” Shepherd explained. “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.”
No matter the outcome of Shepherd’s tenure with the Chiefs, this will be an opportunity that he cherishes. Getting to be a fan, watching what has happened in Kansas City the past few seasons is one thing. Now, he’ll contribute in one way or another toward keeping that success going.
“They’ve been on a great run,” Shepherd 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.”