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Sterling Shepard says Baker Mayfield got the ball rolling on his signing with the Bucs

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Baker Mayfield and Sterling Shepard have been reunited in Tampa Bay, playing together for the first time since Shepard was Mayfield’s favorite receiver on the 2015 Oklahoma Sooners. Shepard credits their relationship with getting the ball rolling on him signing with the Buccaneers.

Shepard told the New York Post that Mayfield texted him last week to ask him about his offseason workouts, in what Shepard initially thought was just a friendly exchange but proved to be the first step toward the Bucs bringing Shepard into the fold.

I got a text from my boy and I just thought it was ‘regular old checking in to see how I was doing’ type of text, because we do that from time to time to each other,’’ Shepard said.

Soon after Shepard confirmed to Mayfield that he’s in good shape and still wants to play, Shepard’s agent and the Bucs’ front office were hammering out a deal. Shepard said his preference would have been to finish his career with the Giants, where he has played all eight of his NFL seasons, but signing with the Buccaneers is the next-best thing.

“I’m looking forward to it,’’ Shepard said. “It’s a new scene. I can’t say I wanted to experience that, I always wanted to be a Giant but I’m not mad at it, man. It’s a really good situation, they have a really good football team, really talented football team and I get to be reunited with my boy and get to play with him a little bit.”

At 31 years old and coming off a season in which he only caught 10 passes, Shepard is no lock to make the Bucs’ roster. But his rapport with his starting quarterback should help his chances.

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