Free Press writers Shawn Windsor, Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez break down what went wrong in the Lions’ 28-14 loss to the Seahawks, Oct. 28, 2018.
Detroit Free Press, Detroit Free Press

It seems like new Detroit Lions linebacker Kelvin Sheppard played with half of the Lions’ defense as a member of the New York Giants’ defense last year. But that wasn’t the reason he chose to resume his NFL career Wednesday, when he signed with Detroit.

The reason was Lions coach Matt Patricia and his reputation as a defensive guru.

“I always admired coach Patricia, for one,” Sheppard said Thursday. “And I’ve known countless amount of guys that’s been under his system, have learned him and his stewardship and his knowledge of the game — I mean, I don’t have to speak about that. But it’s really an honor to be able to join this type of team, this type of organization and try to learn as much as I can.”

Sheppard’s calling card, which should be no surprise in Patricia’s system, is his versatility. In his seven previous NFL seasons, Sheppard has played just about every linebacker position in just about every type of defensive system.

Sheppard, 30, said Devon Kennard and Jarrad Davis have been instrumental in helping get him up to speed. But there’s no shortage of help and familiar faces in the locker room.

He played with Kennard, Romeo Okwara and Damon Harrison with the Giants last season. He was with Christian Jones with the Chicago Bears during the 2017 preseason. He played with Ricky Jean Francois at Louisiana State and the Indianapolis Colts. And Lions director of football research David Corrao was his assistant linebacker coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2014-15.

Sheppard could provide immediate help on defense and special teams since Jones and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin have been limited in practice with injuries.


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Contact Carlos Monarrez at or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.