Formerly homeless WR shines for Browns in preseason opener

For many players the preseason doesn’t matter as their place on the roster is predetermined. For Browns WR, Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, every touch of the football means something. And when Sheehy-Guiseppi returned an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown in the Browns preseason opener, it meant something to his teammates and coaches as they emphatically cleared the bench to celebrate an improbable moment.

Sheehy-Guiseppi wasn’t supposed to be here. A former player for Phoenix College, he was never a top prospect. He wasn’t invited to the combine and wasn’t on any team’s radar. Sheehy-Guiseppi struggled to make ends meet but refused to give up on his NFL dream.

As reported back in April, Sheehy-Guiseppi heard through back channels that the Browns would hold a workout in Miami. It was likely his only shot. Nearly penniless, Sheehy Guiseppi used his mother’s final frequent flier miles for a one way ticket, and his remaining $200 on training services with Bommarito Performance Systems. He toggled between sleeping outside the training facility and a 24 Hour Fitness.

Aside from not having his own bed, Sheehy-Guiseppi faced another crucial barrier prior to his Browns’ workout – he wasn’t invited. However, he found out that Browns vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith would be scouting prospects at the event so Sheehy-Guiseppi studied Highsmith and convinced officials that Highsmith had invited him even though the two had never met. Sheehy-Guiseppi was allowed into the workout and seized his big moment, running a 4.38 that wowed Highsmith and Browns personnel.

After Sheehy-Guiseppi returned the punt for a touchdown on Thursday night, wearing Odell Beckham Jr’s cleats by the way, he opened up to reporters. “I’ve been waiting for a moment like this for a long time,” he said. “It brought me back to my (junior college) days. I’m just excited to be able to get back there and return again.” 

With Sheehy-Guiseppi already showcasing his worth in the NFL, maybe he’ll be returning for the Browns or another team in the regular season.