Former Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard was on a conference call with New York reporters today to talk about joining the New York Jets. Sheppard was traded to the Jets over the weekend for draft picks.
Sheppard declined to get into specifics about his situation with the Eagles -- although the issues have been well-established, starting with the large contract given to Asante Samuel last offseason -- and wanted to proclaim this a new chapter and a fresh start with the Jets.
"Obviously, we saw things a little different and one thing led to another," he said. "The best thing for me, if I wanted to continue to play football, was to go elsewhere. That’s what we decided on. That’s in the past now."
"Change is not always bad," Sheppard added. "Sometimes change can rejuvenate a player…If a player is not completely happy, it can affect his play, so the best thing for that player and the organization is to let the player go elsewhere."
Here is more from Lito, courtesy of Rich Cimini from the New York Daily News.
Previously, Cimini offered some details of the transaction that made Lito a Jet. The trade was announced as Sheppard for a fifth-rounder this year and a pick next year that could range from the second to the fourth round. Then came word of a contract extension. Cimini has said the contract extension includes a $10 million roster bonus the Jets would pay Lito this time next year, presumably only if they are very, very happy with him (otherwise he becomes a free agent): "If Sheppard is injured and misses considerable time, the Jets can get out of the deal after one year and they wouldn't owe the Eagles a draft pick in 2010. If that's the case, all it would've cost them is a fifth-round pick in the '09 draft. One person familiar with the deal said it could amount to a "one-year test drive" for the Jets.
" The conditional pick in '10 can rise to a second-rounder, but only if he hits an 85% playing-time plateau AND receives the four-year extension (triggered by the roster bonus). And if that does happen, the Jets would get a fifth-rounder back from the Eagles.
" If Sheppard makes 85%, but doesn't receive the extension, the Jets would owe a third-rounder to the Eagles and would recoup a fifth rounder.
"Obviously, there are a number of different scenarios, and I won't bore you with them, but this is the essence of the trade. Bottom line: If Sheppard stinks, it'll be a one-year deal for $3 million and would cost them a fifth-round pick. If he becomes a full-time starter, the Jets probably will have to give up a second- or third-rounder in addition to this year's fifth and they'll have to pay him roughly what this year's top cornerback free agents (the Colts' Kelvin Hayden and the Ravens' Domonique Foxworth) received on their just-signed deals."