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Thursday, July 23, 2009
Vision problem doesn't deter Hogs' Sheppard

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

HOOVER, Ala. -- Arkansas' Malcolm Sheppard had one of the most productive seasons a year ago of any defensive lineman in the league.

He led all interior linemen with 7.5 sacks and was second to Ole Miss' Peria Jerry, a first-round draft selection, in tackles for loss with 16.

"I think he'll be even better this season," Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams said.

One thing you won't hear from Sheppard is any excuses. He's not an excuses kind of guy.

He's been partially blind in his left eye since he was 7 years old. His brother accidentally shot him with a bow and arrow.

"It's not a disability," Sheppard said. "It happened so long ago that I don't remember it."

Sheppard described his vision in his left eye as "real blurry" and has undergone two different surgeries.

"I probably have half the vision I should have in that eye," he said.

Williams said Sheppard's undying work ethic is an inspiration to everybody on the team and that he's always doing something to help make himself or the team better.

"He's 290 and has a six-pack," Williams said. "He's probably walking around here on his tip-toes just to help build up his calves."