NFL Miracle Story, Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, Has Michigan Roots [Video]
Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi has been the talk of the NFL pre-season, but he didn't even play football at his Michigan high school.
Damon bluffed his way into a Cleveland Browns tryout, and then wowed everyone by scoring a touchdown in his first NFL game, becoming the feel good story so far in the pre-season, but his Michigan roots didn't include football.
Sheehy-Guiseppi was a star athlete at St. Francis High School in Traverse City, but his sport was basketball, where he led the Gladiators to the state championship game.
Damon planned on continuing his hoops career in college, so he and his older brother, Devin, tried out for a junior college team in Arizona, where his mother lived. His brother made the team, but Damon got cut. At that point he decided to give football a try, mainly because he knew he was fast.
“I told my brother, ‘I’m working on getting bigger. I think I’m getting faster. I think I’m going to try to play football. I never played it yet,” Sheehy-Guiseppi told Traverse City's 9-10 News.
And play football he did -- Sheehy-Guiseppi wound up on the 2016 National Junior College Football All American team while leading the nation in kick returns at Phoenix College, where a stint on the track team also increased his speed.
You would think such accomplishments would earn him a Division I scholarship, but an offer to LSU failed to pan out when the coach who recruited him was fired.
Damon refused to give up on football, and continued his workouts until he heard of a NFL tryout for the Cleveland Browns in Miami. After sleeping over night at a fitness center because he couldn't afford a hotel room, the Browns refused to let him into the tryout.
So Sheehy-Guiseppi told a little white lie to get in.
“They had all the names on the list printed out,” Sheehy-Guiseppi told 9-10. “He was like, ‘Who are you?’ I was like, ‘My name is Damon Sheehy. I’m here for the tryout.’ He was like, ‘I don’t have you on the list.’ I was like, ‘I talked to Alonzo Highsmith. I’m supposed to be on the list.’ And he just wrote me down at the end. Able to bless me. When Alonzo came in, that’s just when I talked to him.”
Sheehy-Guiseppi didn't disappoint, blazing a 4.3 40-yard dash to impress the Highsmith enough to earn an invitation to Browns training camp.
Friday, playing in his first NFL pre-season game, Sheehy-Guiseppi showed off that speed work he's been doing, taking home a punt 86 yards for a touchdown, in what was a dream moment for him.
His work ethic, which includes showing up at odd hours to work out at the Browns facility, has won over his Cleveland teammates, who swarmed him after his touchdown run.
“I felt all the love,” Sheehy-Guiseppi told Cleveland.com. “I couldn’t breathe under the pile. I was over there gasping for air, but I felt all the love. I saw all of them come running down there (to the end zone) and it was just a blessing.”