Dream ends for Towson's Sheppard

Dream ends for Towson's Sheppard
August 25, 2013, 9:45 pm
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Wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard admittedly faced long odds in his quest to make his hometown team.

A Baltimore native who played collegiately at Towson (after beginning his college career at UConn), Sheppard signed as a rookie free agent with the Ravens in May, hoping to pull the huge upset and win a roster spot.

It's happened before with the Ravens, and heck, it might happen again this season. There is a strong chance an undrafted wide receiver will make the Ravens this fall, but it won't be Sheppard.

Sheppard was released on Sunday in the team's first wholesale cuts as the Ravens begin to trim the roster. The roster, which can be at 90 players in training camp, must be down to 75 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m., and then down to the 53-man limit on Saturday.

Sheppard was waived just a couple of weeks after being initially signed in May, but then he was re-signed just a week later. Ironically, the first time Sheppard was waived, the Ravens signed undrafted receiver Marlon Brown, who has risen up the depth chart and now appears likely to make the team.

For Sheppard, a former all-state high school player at McDonogh, the numbers game proved to be too daunting. The Ravens had a fierce competition at wide receiver this preseason -- a battle that still isn't completely decided with less than a week to go before the final cuts are made.

Sheppard, though, could never work his way up the depth chart among a crowd of veterans and rookies Brown and Aaron Mellette. Despite having no reported injury, Sheppard did not play at all in the most recent preseason game against Carolina.

Still, after the cuts were announced on Sunday, coach John Harbaugh noted that the decision is never easy.

"Sometimes you just look at the names in the paper and they’re just names," Harbaugh said, "but these are men with dreams and aspirations who work really hard, [like] a Gerrard Sheppard – local guy from Towson who just did a great job for us. [Gerrard is a] really talented, hard-working, good person, and no matter what he does in life, he’s going to be amazingly successful."