By now you probably already know Shane Wynn’s story. Cleveland kid. Glenville High product. Track star. Team captain for the Indiana Hoosiers. All-Big Ten honorable mention. Tied for second in career receptions (189) and third in receiving touchdowns (20) in Indiana school history.
Oh, and he stands just five-foot six-inches.
Shane went undrafted and originally signed with the Falcons, but was waived in June and claimed by his hometown Cleveland Browns.
In last Thursday night’s preseason game against the Bills, Wynn had the chance to live out a childhood dream by catching a touchdown pass as a member of the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“It’s just an unbelievable feeling,” said Wynn on Saturday. “You’re from here and watch the Browns play as a youngster and then you landing a touchdown where you’ve watched your whole life. It was just an unbelievable feeling. I didn’t even know what to do after I scored, it was like ‘I just really did that’. Give all the credit to (QB) Johnny Manziel making a play that Johnny makes, everybody knows that.”
He nearly scored another touchdown on a punt return that was called back on a penalty. Wynn split a pair of defenders and escaped to the sideline for a 58-yard return before the flag wiped out 52 of those yards.
“Its way faster in the NFL, I can tell you that,” Wynn said of the return. “Those gunners were getting down there. I just try and practice on just catching the ball and sticking my foot in the ground and getting north and trusting my speed. That’s what Coach Ginn (Wynn’s former high school coach Ted Ginn, Sr.) always tells me, trust your speed. Took me a while to do that but right now I’m starting to trust it.”
Ted Ginn Sr. came to watch Wynn at practice on Saturday. It was a much appreciated visit for Wynn.
“It meant the most. You missed the guy, don’t see him a lot because you’re here all day and just seeing him just brings a refreshment to me every day,” Wynn said of Ginn’s visit. “You don’t get to see him much and you know he’s been struggling, he’s just surviving that’s what he always told me, ‘Keep your head above water and just survive.’
For Wynn, surviving means making an NFL roster, even if it doesn’t end up being his hometown Browns.
The odds are against him with the Browns. Not because he doesn’t have the speed needed for an NFL receiver, or the hands, or even the vision to make plays as a returner. The odds aren’t great because the Browns have a few receivers already like Wynn.
Travis Benjamin, Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel are all similar in stature, speed and quickness. Not to mention they all have experience at the NFL level. Wynn would likely need to knock at least one of these receivers off the roster in order to make it.
If he doesn’t make the Browns’ 53-man roster it would help to have another strong preseason performance on tape for other NFL clubs to see. Perhaps a team like the Buffalo Bills would be interested in Wynn after seeing him up close for two practice sessions and a preseason game.
Of course, he could always end up on the Browns practice squad as well. If so, he may owe his career to former coaches like Ted Ginn, but also to his grandmother.
“I was about 6 years old going to the East Cleveland Chiefs and actually before practice I watched Any Given Sunday and I didn’t want to go to practice anymore,” laughed Wynn about the beginning of his football life. “I didn’t want to go to practice anymore and I watched that and she told me it wasn’t going to be like that and since then I’ve been playing football.”