Forgive me that this is not a Seahawks story.
This is a Danny Shelton story--about a former Dawg loving his dogs.
It’s not true that nothing good comes from the Cleveland Browns.
I got a notice from a public-relations executive for PetPlan pet insurance on Tuesday morning that Shelton, the Auburn native, Auburn High School graduate and former University of Washington Husky, was headed to a dog shelter just south of Cleveland. The Browns’ starting defensive tackle since they drafted him 12th overall in 2015 was visiting the Cuyahoga Dog Shelter to deliver gifts to its resident dogs Tuesday afternoon.
“Dressed in his holiday best,” as the notice described, Shelton partnered with the U.S. Humane Society and other pet-advocacy groups to pay for dog food, treats, toys and supplies to the Cuyahoga Dog Shelter in Valley View, a Cleveland suburb.
Turns out, this was the second year Shelton was “Doggie Santa.”
He’s one every day of the year at home, too.
He has adopted four rescued dogs. The PR notice says Moni, Juicy, Mojo and baby Juju will be in his wedding party when the 24-year-old Shelton gets married this coming offseason to his fiancee, Tamara.
If you haven’t gathered by now, the 335-pound Shelton has grown into a pretty good dude.
He isn’t just one of the best defensive lineman UW has produced in the last quarter century. He was a dean’s-list student at Washington. He was a three-time All-Academic Pac-12 selection.
In my former role as the writer for the Huskies’ athletic department, I wrote that while attending UW Shelton traveled to Tahiti with 11 other Husky athletes to study the many negative effects of French colonization in the South Pacific island nation.
I also wrote a story in 2012 detailing how while Shelton was 17 and a senior at Auburn High already signed to UW, he and his then-15-year-old brother watched their two older brothers get shot. That was on May 1, 2011. One of the bullets went through the head of Shennon, his second-oldest brother, a beloved middle-school football and basketball coach known as "Skeevie" in their hometown. The bullet killed him a few feet from where Danny was standing.
According to a report by the Auburn Police Department, the brothers were at an apartment following a street fight involving Danny's oldest brother Gaston, whom they call "Tui." Tui then rounded up his brothers, some cousins and a friend and sought retribution. They were met at the apartment not only with resistance, but a gun. Tui was shot through his torso, narrowly missing his heart. Skeevie was mortally wounded in the neck.
Then--mercifully, miraculously, whatever--the gunman's weapon jammed. With one of his brothers dying and another shot in the chest feet away from him, Danny jumped the shooter.
Pepper spray ended the melee, but not the memory.
"I have flashbacks. I have flashbacks thinking a lot, 'What if this? What if that?'" Danny Shelton told me for gohuskies.com in 2012. "But then I have to think to myself, I have to move on and look to the future.
"I'm always, constantly thinking about my brother. How it would be different if he was here with me right now, supporting me."
Forget the $11.7 million contract Shelton got from the Browns for being their first-round pick in 2013. Forget that the Browns are 0-14, and that they’ve won just once in their last 33 games dating to December 2015, Shelton’s rookie season.
As his upcoming wedding and his Santa-ing again for the dog shelter in Cleveland Tuesday show, Shelton is moving on very well.