The Browns picked up the Bedford native and former Ohio State safety last month in what he described as a “fairy tale come true.”
“It just never happens this way,” Powell, laughing, told Cleveland Browns Daily n a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday. But the joy of returning to Northeast Ohio was preceded by a brief period of uncertainty.
Powell, who spent his rookie season with the Seahawks, was cut days before the postseason to make room for veteran returner Devin Hester. He took it in stride, but naturally wondered what was next and whether a club would pick him up.
“I got waived on a Tuesday and I’m sitting there like, ‘Oh my god my life is over. My life is over with! What am I gonna do?’” Powell said. “Two days later, it was just like God just called me and they were like ‘This is the Cleveland Browns, we’re gonna claim you off my waivers’ ... they said, ‘Tyvis come on home, we’re going to bring you home.’”
He joins a Cleveland secondary that includes safeties
Powell, who joined the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent, played in eight games — mostly on special teams — turned heads in the preseason, and became what the Seattle Times described as “something of an organization favorite.”
Before that, he was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes, the Defensive MVP of the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship and totaled 112 tackles and eight interceptions in that span.
Against that backdrop, it came as a surprise when Powell went undrafted last April while several teammates — like Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa — were first-round picks.
“When I realized I wasn’t going to be drafted, it kind of put some more fire in me, like all my life i've had to work some things, nothing has come easy for me whether that’s high school or going to college, all that,” he said.
“It was just something that put my mindset back into place where I found the most success, that I had to work where I’m at today. So going undrafted made me work extra hard.”
Powell can now make good on that approach in Cleveland.
And he’ll likely do it with a smile on his face.“Getting picked up by your hometown (team),” Powell said, “is the best thing that could happen to you.”