It took a little longer than expected, but Bills third-round pick Kelvin Sheppard signed his rookie contract early Saturday evening at One Bills Drive and was headed to training camp shortly thereafter.
Sheppard was the emotional leader of the LSU defense in college and was the team's leading tackler each of his last two seasons with the Tigers.
"The feeling I get before a game I can't even put it into words," he said. "I've been playing the game of football ever since I was five-years old and it means everything to me. The feeling after a victory is like no other in my opinion. And I just take that into the game and I try to spread it throughout my team and my teammates."
Buffalo's coaching staff got a long look at Sheppard when he played for Chan Gailey's South Team roster in the Senior Bowl this past January. Known as a quick study Bills Assistant head/inside linebackers coach Dave Wannstedt does not anticipate Sheppard having much trouble catching up with respect to the playbook.
"When he came on his pre-draft visit we were able to talk football and philosophy," Wannstedt told Buffalobills.com. "We had enough conversation that I was confident he won't have a problem handling anything mentally that we do."
Sheppard also attended player organized workouts with his new Bills teammates in Atlanta earlier this summer, which included fellow inside linebacker Andra Davis.
"The great thing about this lockout was me and Sheppard had a lot of time to spend together," said Davis. "We were down in Atlanta training together and texting each other all the time. Anything that he needed I was trying to be there for him."
Having worked with him a good portion of the summer Davis is impressed with Sheppard's retention rate.
"He's very, very smart," said Davis. "He's played in arguably the best conference in football down in the SEC. But he's a humble young kid. Anytime you get a guy like that you're definitely willing to help him out a whole lot. He's trying to soak up all the knowledge that he possibly can and with this offseason being short. His priority though is football, football, football so it's going to make it a lot easier for him."