Shead to help Saints in play­offs

Antelope Valley Press - - Sports -

Kids in Palm­dale and across the Val­ley have long be­lieved that De­Shawn Shead wears a halo, not a hel­met.

The New Or­leans Saints have now con­firmed it.

In an early Christ­mas present, the first Val­ley res­i­dent to win a Su­per Bowl ring was signed by the Saints on Christ­mas Eve.

High­land’s fa­vorite son played against the Carolina Pan­thers Sun­day, and will be on the field in the Mercedes Benz Su­per­dome this Sun­day for the NFC Wild­card Play­off Game against the Min­nesota Vik­ings.

“I got a call and I was on a flight to New Or­leans Christ­mas Eve,” Shead said. “I’m go­ing to make the best of this op­por­tu­nity.”

Shead had an out­stand­ing pre­sea­son in his sec­ond tour of duty with the Seat­tle Sea­hawks last Au­gust.

In a game against the Den­ver Bron­cos, he had a pick-six and a sack.

Though he demon­strated he was clearly re­cov­ered from the dev­as­tat­ing ACL in­jury he suf­fered in the 2015 play­offs — Shead is faster now — Seat­tle cut him in the fi­nal ros­ter trim down to 53 play­ers.

“I was work­ing out ev­ery day like I was still in the league,” said High­land’s most dec­o­rated NFL post­grad­u­ate. “I never lost faith that I would get back in the League.”

There are many ironies at work Sun­day.

In­juries to Von Bell and

Eli Ap­ple prompted New Or­leans gen­eral man­ager Mickey Loomis to reach out to Shead, who was still liv­ing in Seat­tle. Sherri Ta­tum’s son can play all three de­fen­sive back­field po­si­tions.

When he came off the Seat­tle prac­tice squad in 2013, it was against the New Or­leans Saints on a De­cem­ber Mon­day nighter.

The Sea­hawks rolled from there.

Shead was a Port­land State Vik­ing stand­out in col­lege.

Min­nesota tried to sign him off the Seat­tle prac­tice squad. But Shead opted to stay with the Sea­hawks.

Pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance got him where he wanted to be.

The founder of the Shead the Light Foun­da­tion stressed those val­ues to the 155 kids at his camp, all of whom were paid for by Shead’s deep gen­eros­ity.

Now he’s walk­ing the walk again.

Maybe, all the way to Su­per Bowl LIV.

As­so­ci­ated Press

NEW TEAM For­mer Sea­hawks strong safety De­Shawn Shead plays against the Oak­land Raiders on Thurs­day. Shead was picked up by the Saints on Christ­mas Eve.

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