AFTER a storied junior footballing career that nearly took him to the AFL, Bendigo’s Jamieson Sheahan played his first professional game of gridiron as a punter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week.
The eighth overall pick in the 2023 Canadian Football League global draft finished his first outing with three punts for 144 yards at a respectable 48 yards per punt.
Earlier in life Sheahan thought he was destined for a career in the AFL after playing for both the Geelong Falcons and Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup before he wound up at Essendon’s VFL side.
“I had a really great year and in my first year and won best first-year player at the Bombers,” he said.
“I really thought I was in for a crack to get picked up as a rookie by the Bombers AFL side but then I did my shoulder in the pre-season, and I had to miss the entire year.
“I then got a call from Nathan Chapman, who is the head of Pro Kick Australia and he said I hear you’re done with footy. Why don’t you come down for a kick and try out with the American ball?
“After three months of training with Pro Kick, I got the call from the University of California to go over on a scholarship there in 2019.”
After three years at The University of California, Berkeley, which saw Sheahan walk away with two degrees, he was drafted by Winnipeg.
“I’ve been up here for about six weeks now and played one game with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers,” he said. “So yeah, it’s been a crazy journey.
“Winnipeg brought in two other punters for training camp, and they already had a guy from last year. So, there were four of us battling for the job.
“I got the call on the Saturday at the end of camp from coach [Mike] O’Shea, and he said you’re our guy.”
Sheahan said he’s loved his time with the Blue Bombers though he said he does miss one thing about AFL.
“I said to the guys here the other day, and they didn’t really understand, but I was like I hope a punt returner pops through at some point so I can lay a shoulder,” he said.
“Because I just miss hitting, I miss hitting people, I miss tackling people.”