When Lito Sheppard signed with the Oakland Raiders Friday, he was given No. 21.
For anyone who’s already forgotten, that’s the number worn by departed Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, now with Philadelphia.
The Raiders, however, have no delusions of grandeur for the new No. 21.
While Sheppard once was a Pro Bowl corner with the Eagles, he’s now in his 10th NFL season, he’s 30 and he’s bounced around the past two seasons. He’s coming in to provide some depth, experience and help for Oakland’s young cornerback corps.
Currently, starting corner Chris Johnson is out with an injury and DeMarcus Van Dyke, a rookie third-round pick, has missed the last two practices, reports the Oakland Tribune.
So, Sheppard is on board to help out.
Sheppard was a first-round draft choice in 2002 and went to the Pro Bowl twice with the Eagles. He has 19 career interceptions, 10 of which came in 2005 and 2006, his Pro Bowl years.
“What you’re seeing is a guy who was sitting out there,” Raiders head coach Hue Jackson told reporters after Friday’s practice. “As I keep saying, we’re going to continue to improve our football team from top to bottom. …
“Lito is a tremendous football player and we’re glad to have him.”
Sheppard said he’ll do whatever is needed.
“I’ll definitely be out there and try to lead by example, so to say,” he told Paul Gutierrez of CSNCalifornia.com. “It’s just wherever I’m needed, I’m going to give my all.”
Since leaving Philadelphia after the 2008 season, Sheppard played 11 games for the Jets in 2009 with nine starts, and played 13 games (two starts) last season with Minnesota.
Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc., told ESPN Friday that the Raiders shouldn’t expect much from Sheppard.
“Highly doubt it,” he said. “He has really struggled the past few seasons.”