CLEVELAND — What is better than having an electrifying 86-yard punt return touchdown in a dominant preseason win? Well, having the entire team join in on an end zone celebration for a score that sealed a victory, of course.
As wide receiver Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi leapt across the goal line for the touchdown, the Cleveland Browns’ bench erupted in jubilation, and nearly the entire team stormed the field to celebrate with the upstart pass catcher.
“I felt all the love,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said following the 30-10 win over Washington Thursday. “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, and it was just a blessing.”
The celebration was nearly short-circuited when receiver Ishmael Hyman did what Washington’s special teams players could not, and that is tackle Sheehy-Guiseppi on the play.
In his excitement, Hyman leveled Sheehy-Guiseppi, but it was all in good fun.
“Oh yeah, that was my dawg,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said. “He came down and wanted me to jump with him. He was super excited and ended up reaching his hand out and I fell.”
Sheehy-Guiseppi’s path to the National Football League has been anything but conventional, as he was sleeping outside a gym and had to talk his way into a tryout with Cleveland during the offseason program, but he is making the most of his opportunity with the Browns.
Late in the fourth quarter of the preseason opener against the Washington football team at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Sheehy-Guiseppi fielded a punt at his own 14-yard line and hustled his way down the right sideline for a touchdown.
“It is good to see good people, hard-working, good people succeed,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said.
“He definitely fits the bill with being that. If you stick around after any practice, you will see him on the practice field getting extra running in and before practice getting extra work in. He is always at the office. He is a good kid.”
Wide receiver Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield on the opening drive of the game, but following the win, all he wanted to talk about was the electric punt return from Sheehy-Guiseppi.
“The talk of the day should be Damon Sheehy,” Higgins said. “For him to come out and have fun in his first game is special. That is what the game is all about. I really can’t describe the feeling because I am so happy for that guy.
“We were calling it before it even happened. When Damon Sheehy’s name was called to go back to punt return, we were all standing up. He was telling us that he could run a 4.3, and we told him that we haven’t seen that all camp, but it looked like he ran a 4.3 to me.”
As soon as he fielded the ball, Sheehy-Guiseppi saw space and seized the opportunity to make a standout play, but he is already onto the next challenge, a week of practices against the Indianapolis Colts ahead of next Saturday’s preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I just think about the moment, try to stay in the moment and think about what’s to come next,” Sheehy-Guiseppi said. “I’m just super proud to be able to take advantage of the moments like that.”