GREEN BAY – It’s not clear when Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields will return from a concussion he suffered against Jacksonville on Sunday.
Shields was not at practice Wednesday and remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, according to coach Mike McCarthy. He was one of four Packers who was listed as “did not participate” on the Wednesday injury report.
“I don’t know the levels, but he’s still in the protocol,” McCarthy said of where Shields was in his recovery. “I don’t really have an update for you.”
Given this was Shields’ fifth concussion dating to college, there’s likely a lot of concern about putting the veteran cornerback on the field too soon. In order to be cleared, Shields has to be given the OK by a neurologist not associated with the Packers.
It’s possible the Packers could send Shields to a prominent clinic for tests so they could get a better assessment of his condition, especially given the Packers often send their players to orthopedic specialists for evaluation. But the Packers know his concussion history and have previous test results.
Safety Morgan Burnett said he has been in touch with Shields but said they often talk about things outside of football and so he didn’t know whether his teammate was having any misgivings about playing again.
“We still communicate on a daily basis,” Burnett said. “Just personally, we always talk whether it’s about football or checking on each other’s family. We just talk about what’s going on in the real world.
“Sam is a very positive guy. He sees positive things in every situation. I know he’s going to be fine mentally. For him, it’s just, take the proper rest that you need and get back whenever you’re healthy enough or comfortable to get back.”
Burnett was one of the players who had to play an emergency role when Shields and LaDarius Gunter left the Jaguars game, leaving the defense one cornerback short for the dime defense.
Part of Burnett’s job is knowing what everyone else in the secondary is doing, so he was called upon to play slot cornerback on the final series of the game. He’s not expecting to have to do that again this week, but he said it’s something he can handle.
“Guys were dropping down so we just had to use what we had,” Burnett said. “Probably the last time I played corner was my freshman year in college and that was when we had a number of guys go down.
“But you have to know what each other is doing so if there’s a situation where you’re plugged in you’ll be prepared.”
Gunter (cramps) was back at practice and is not listed on the injury report; however, rookie Josh Hawkins (hamstring) was a non-participant and probably won’t play again this week. That means Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, Gunter and Micah Hyde will be the four active cornerbacks against Minnesota on Sunday night.
Also not participating in practice was safety Chris Banjo (hamstring) and linebacker Jayrone Elliott (hamstring). Receiver Trevor Davis (shoulder) was a limited participant and receiver Jeff Janis (hand) was a full participant.
For the Vikings, four players did not participate in practice: cornerback Xavier Rhodes (knee), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee), tackle Matt Kalil (hip) and tight end MyCole Pruitt (knee).