A lie might result in Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi having an NFL career.
The 24-year-old wide receiver and kick returner will compete for a roster spot on the Cleveland Browns over the next few months. Had he told the truth about himself, this would not be the case, according to Cleveland.com.
When his junior college career at Phoenix College in Arizona ended in 2016, Sheehy-Guiseppi did not receive any NCAA Division I scholarship offers.
He traveled to a number of schools. However, he was nine credits short of being able to transfer to a Division I school and had only one year of NCAA eligibility remaining.
Acknowledging the financial hurdle of going back to school, Sheehy-Guiseppi pursued a pro career.
He spent the past three years attending tryouts, attempting to catch on somewhere. His attempts to play in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League were unsuccessful.
It was a connection he made at one of these tryouts, however, that helped him land an NFL opportunity.
Someone he met at a tryout for a flag football league told him about an NFL tryout that was set to take place this spring. Sheehy-Guiseppi asked for the address and showed up to the invitation-only event.
In order to not be kicked out, he claimed he knew Alonzo Highsmith, the Browns’ vice president of player personnel.
When Sheehy-Guiseppi arrived, he was questioned but let in when he said he knew Highsmith. When he got into the tryout, he ran over and introduced himself to the Browns executive.
“I just knew I had to make it look like we were friends,” Sheehy-Guiseppi told Cleveland.com. “Alonzo was real nice to me.”
The plan worked.
Sheehy-Guiseppi impressed at the tryout. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. Had he participated in the 2019 NFL combine, that would have been the sixth-best time for a wide receiver.
Just 30 minutes after the tryout ended, he received a call from the Browns asking him to attend an official tryout with the team. He did, and the team signed him April 5.
ICYMI: The improbable story of how little known WR Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi landed a tryout and, ultimately, a contract with the Browns
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 12, 2019
This month, Sheehy-Guiseppi, who wears No. 15, has been working out with the team during OTAs.
He is among four players competing for a spot as a kick and punt returner, according to Andrew Gribble, a reporter for ClevelandBrowns.com.
Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer identified four players in the mix on returns at the moment.
— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) May 22, 2019
“It doesn’t happen very often, trust me,” Highsmith said of Sheehy-Guiseppi’s path to the Browns, according to the team’s website. “I’ve been in this 22 years now and that doesn’t happen very often. And the chances of him making the team are even slimmer.
“But if he does, it’ll be one of the greatest stories of all time.”
Whether or not he makes the 53-man roster in September, Sheehy-Guiseppi will have an interesting story to tell for the rest of his life.
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