Sam Shields eager to fill void in Packers secondary

Cornerback Sam Shields, a former undrafted rookie, is in line for a new role with the Green Bay Packers this season. Tramon Williams signed with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent this spring, so it's time for Shields to step up as the leader of the secondary.

"Somebody's got to fill that spot," Shields told Ryan Wood of Press-Gazette Media. "...[H]ey, I'm the oldest of the group. So that's what they want me to do, just take that role. That's what I'm trying to do."

Shields has been with the Packers since 2010. The Miami product signed a four-year, $39 million deal before the 2014 season, and he followed it up with his first Pro Bowl appearance. Through five NFL seasons, Shields has recorded 15 interceptions but has never played all 16 games.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is impressed with Shields' progress as a professional and willingness to take on a leadership role.

"Leadership is a huge part of your locker room culture," McCarthy told Press-Gazette Media. "You can't assign leadership. I don't think that works. That's something that has to come from within the locker room. We try to create as many opportunities—emphasize, educate and anything that we think can help our locker room improve.

"I think you're just seeing Sam step up, and he's seen the people before him in that role, and it's good to see he's comfortable taking the initiative to do so."

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