Florio Strikes Again

Russell Shepard signed with the Eagles as a UDFA. That didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. He didn’t have a great career at LSU and wasn’t likely to be drafted, but was worth bringing to camp to see if he could make it in the NFL.

Shepard opened a small can of worms with some comments he made in an interview.

“I actually took myself off the draft board during the draft,” Shepard told Moscona. “Teams started calling me probably in the middle of the 6th round asking me ‘is it true that you’ve signed with a team already,’ and I actually got it out of the way before the draft was over.”

There are a couple of problems with this. First, players can’t “take themselves off the draft board”. Any team that has a pick can take any un-picked player they want. Players don’t have the right to say no. Players can refuse to sign or report to the new team, but the team then controls the player’s rights for the next year.

Second, players can’t sign with teams as UDFAs during the draft.

So what happened? Every year teams start calling prospects in the 6th and 7th rounds to talk to them about signing as UDFAs. I’m not sure of the specific rules as to how much negotiating is allowed. Teams know what to say and how aggressive they can be.

Chip Kelly got on the phone with Shepard to discuss the situation with him. As PFT said:

The host asked for clarification, and Shepard gave it.

“I signed with them before the draft was over,” Shepard said, explaining that after he fell through round five he decided to focus on the Eagles.  Shepard believes he’ll play receiver, running back, and Wildcat quarterback in Philly’s offense, and that he’ll return kicks and punts and play gunner on the punt team.

Shepard also said that Eagles coach Chip Kelly personally called Shepard at the beginning of the sixth round to explain that the Eagles couldn’t draft him because the team had lost some picks via the trade up to get quarterback Matt Barkley at the top of round four.

There is no way the Eagles got Shepard to sign a contract during the draft. That would just be ludicrous. Shepard has never gone through a process like this before. I don’t think he understands the power of the phrase “I signed with them”. I think he made a loose oral commitment, but that’s it.

As far as Shepard telling this to other NFL teams, they were calling him for the same reason…to talk about a UDFA deal. They may have mentioned drafting him, but again…this is something teams do every year. They tell kids “Look, we want to draft you, but if we can’t do that, we’d love to sign you as a UDFA.”  All the kid normally hears is that a team wants to draft him.

Any team that wanted Russell Shepard could have taken  him. Simple as that.

Of course, Florio always goes for the inflammatory angle.

If this is all true, Kelly and the Eagles could be losing some more draft picks.

Yeah, if the Eagles did sign Shepard, that would be a punishable offense. Getting the kid to agree to sign with you as a UDFA after the draft is a whole other story. That is completely common and wouldn’t be a big deal at all.

I cannot believe that a smart GM like Howie Roseman would fax/email a contract to a kid to get signed during the draft. Chip Kelly did talk to him on the phone, but Chip knows nothing about contracts. He didn’t send the kid anything. Chip’s job was simply to recruit Shepard to the Eagles. And it sounds like he did a heckuva job.

We’ll see what happens, but it sure doesn’t sound like the Eagles did anything wrong. If there is anything to be learned from this, I would say it is that Russell Shepard doesn’t have a bright future as a contract attorney.


From Russell himself


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15 Responses to Florio Strikes Again

  1. JB says:

    I’ll say it again…. HATE Florio. All drama. If the NFL were a Soap Opera, he would have every daytime Emmy.

  2. JB says:

    Tommy… can you stop linking to PFT? You’re like the anti-PFT. You actually use stats, thoughts, and reason to back up an argument. Florio throws shit at the wall.

    • Tommy Lawlor says:

      There were too many questions to ignore the story. And you have to link when responding. That’s in Chapter 2 of Blogger Ettiquite.

  3. Baloophi says:

    “loose oral commitment” – Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. Actually I do, but this is a family Eagles blog.

    • Tommy Lawlor says:

      I haven’t seen this level of restraint since Andy Reid called consecutive running plays in that one game last year.

      Kudos, sir.

  4. bob says:

    I hate myself for following PFT on twitter. every Eagles related article mentions the ‘dream team’ and florio is ALWAYS going for the douchebag angle.

    Shepard always striked me as a bit of an idiot though. didn’t he announce last year he was going pro then realized wasn’t getting drafted and backed out? I remember some sort of drama like that.

    • deg0ey says:

      I thought he said that if LSU weren’t going to actually use him he may as well take his chances in the NFL because the worst that could happen is that he didn’t get to play there either. Then the coaches talked to him and convinced him that he’d be a bigger part of the offense in 2012 so he stayed.

      I could be mistaken, but he doesn’t come across as the type of guy to be a troublemaker.

    • 3amDan says:

      Yes, he did.

      Then Miles talked him out of it.

      Then he tweeted all offseason how excited he was about the direction of the offense. This after complaining about his role in the National Championship game.

      It always seemed to me that Shepard blame his lack of production on basically everything but himself. My guess is he thinks Chip Kelly can maximize him while the LSU coaches couldn’t (which may be true). But the guy just never really became a good WR (not that that is easy).

  5. 3amDan says:

    This will all probably amount to nothing BUT, as an LSU fan, I will say Russell runs his mouth quite a bit. He does’t usually say anything TOO bad, but there were instances of him tweeting about locker room drama, then deleting it, saying he was gonna leave last year… then being convinced to come back, etc.

    He’s a likable kid, and it’s all endearing initially (he knows how to say the right things), but then it gets old pretty quickly.

  6. sean says:

    Yea, Mike Florio is terrible. Dude likes to run his mouth like he knows what he’s talking about. The most painful is reading his answers on the Sunday Night Football internet stream.

  7. Dan in Philly says:

    Some People I work with think of people like him and Sal Pal as reliable news sources.

    No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the general population…

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