Skip to main content

O'HARA: Shead bringing his versatility to Detroit

DeShawn Shead hasn't tried to bring to the Detroit Lions' defense the "Legion of Boom" nickname that he was part of for six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, but his versatility is another matter.

Shead (pronounced Shed) played a little bit of everything – and a lot of everywhere – as a valuable member of one of the NFL's most dynamic defenses.

Nicknames are fine, and the Seahawks certainly lived up to theirs with their style of play, but what he's been able to do on the field at a variety of positions has let Shead build a career.

Shead's size – 6-2, 216 pounds – has been an asset in allowing him to play across the board in Seattle's secondary.

"It's had a big part in my career," Shead said Thursday in an interview with the Detroit media. "I've been a strong safety, free safety, nickel, cornerback. Being able to have that versatility – being able to go inside and play outside – I think that's a great attribute to have in this league."

He's even taken a few snaps at the linebacker's spot in certain situations.

"If need be," he said. "Playing strong safety is kind of similar to the linebacker position."

The secondary is one of the Lions' deepest positions, with experienced players at cornerback, safety and nickel back. All four starters are back, along with four of the top rotation players from last season.

Shead adds another player who can step in and play just about anywhere.

Shead had a good run in Seattle. As an undrafted rookie out of Portland State, he made the roster in 2012, originally on the practice squad with a late-season promotion to the 53-player active roster.

His role with the Seahawks, and playing time, gradually increased. He played 47 games, with 22 starts, from 2014-16. A knee injury sustained in the 2016 season playoffs lingered into the 2017 season and limited him to only two games.

A highlight for Shead was playing eight snaps on defense and 12 on special teams in Seattle's win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

He was released by the Seahawks on March 12 and signed by the Lions on March 14.

The Seahawks' front office has been praised for the way it handled Shead's release. It kept a promise that he would be released so he could qualify as a free agent.

Shead was not expected to be part of Seattle's purge of some of prime players such as cornerback Richard Sherman. There was speculation that Shead would be re-signed, but the Lions acted quickly when he hit the open market and signed him.

"Things happen in this league," Shead said. "Things change, and things happen. I was making sure I focused on what I can do and be the best me I can be -- the best player I can be.

"Wherever I ended up, I still have to perform."

Shead is eager to fit in with his new teammates, which is partly why he's leaving talk of the "Legion of Boom" behind him.

Two weeks into the official offseason workout program, he's getting comfortable in his new environment.

"I'm focused on what we've got going on here," Shead said. "I'm trying to create what we have here. This is only week two. We're still in the process of becoming the best team we can be.

"I'm getting to know, and create some bonds, with the brothers here."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content