XFL a 'dream come true' for Seisay
It was a few minutes after 9 a.m. when Mohammed Seisay walked into the Seattle Boxing Gym on Capitol Hill.
Wearing a white T-shirt with the logo of boxer Shae Green on the front and pair of black shorts over black spandex, the cornerback was ready to get in a little cardio before heading to Amazon, where he works in logistics.
For many people, a one-hour cardio session in a boxing gym would be a sufficient workout for the day, but for Seisay, the workout was his second of the morning after the cornerback completed a 5:30 a.m. spin class.
With minicamp a week away, Seisay is putting in his final preparations for the season, doing everything he can to get his body right.
“I do a bunch of stuff to keep myself in shape,” he said. “Also, dieting is really important. I just went vegan about four weeks ago, so I’ve been doing that and I’ve been getting great results. I’m ready to go to minicamp and see how I feel.”
Since his last stop in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, Seisay has been training and waiting for a call for his next opportunity. He trained and worked, trained and worked, trained and worked.
Then he heard about the XFL.
“I was just grinding, grinding, grinding,” he said. “When this XFL opportunity came up and they had a team in the city of Seattle, it was a dream come true for me.”
All of a sudden, Seisay had something tangible to train for.
First, there was the Summer Showcase.
“I knew that was my D-Day,” he said. “I went there and did my thing, left it all on the line.”
Then he received a draft invitation and, on Oct. 16, he was selected by the Dragons.
“I kept seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I kept getting hungry. I kept getting hungry. Next thing you know, the draft came up and I got drafted. I’ve been preparing for this the whole time.”
Seisay’s training regimen includes yoga and Pilates for flexibility. He boxes and does spin class for cardio. He hits the weight room for strength training and works with personal trainer Chris Denina to make sure footwork and football instincts are sharp. And, he has one-on-one training sessions with receiver Reuben Mwhela, a Bellevue High School product who was also selected by the Dragons in the XFL draft.
“The XFL came out of nowhere,” Seisay said. “I’ve been happy ever since. I’m glowing now. My workouts are different now. I’m training for something. I have something to look forward to. I’ve got something to push me to get where I want to be.”
After graduating from Nebraska in 2014, Seisay signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent. He was traded to Seattle after the season and then injuries derailed his career.
In 2016, he suffered a torn labrum during a preseason game. Then, a few weeks after he finished rehab for that injury, he tore his Achilles.
“I went home, had my little moment,” he said. “I told myself that I will play at CenturyLink again. I didn’t know if it would be with the Seahawks. I didn’t know if it was going to be against Seattle. It’s just crazy how things work out, how I could manifest that moment.”
And now here he is, preparing for the Dragons’ first season.
“Everything I do is helping me on the football field,” he said. “I’m all about making sure that what I train with translates to the football team.”
Since camp hasn’t started yet, his calendar currently includes a 40-hour work week. It’s a grind, but Seisay doesn’t mind.
“I’ve got to put food on the table,” he said. “I’m training, doing two-a-days. I’m also working 40 hours a week, working at Amazon in logistics through dispatch. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do, but what’s driving me is football. You’ve got to make sacrifices and put food on the table as well.
“It takes a toll, but the end goal is putting on that jersey and playing in front of the fans we have out here. That’s going to be a huge moment for me.”
Seisay is also working to make sure his son, Jahlil – Seisay calls him "Jah Jah" – has everything he needs.
“That’s my world right there,” Seisay said. “He’s my rock. He’s my motivation. I’ve got to put food on the table for him. This is going to be his first time ever seeing his dad play. There will be tears of joy just hearing him shout my name, watching me play and seeing what I do, seeing what I love.
“Hopefully he remembers that.”
Seisay and the Dragons open the season Feb. 8 (2 p.m. ET, ABC) in the cornerback’s hometown, Washington D.C., another fortuitous coincidence the XFL has provided. It will be his family’s first chance to watch him play since 2014.
“I get to go back home and play football again,” he said. “Everything is puzzling right for me. I’ve been here since 2015 and I never left. Home is D.C., but I feel like the West Coast has adopted me and I’ve been here ever since.”
Seisay has been working toward this opportunity since 2017. The XFL provides the platform he needs to get another chance to write his football story.
“My goal was always to play football again,” Seisay said. “I’m not trying to make it a sob story. I’m just happy for the opportunity. I just don’t want injuries to define who I am. I’m still a ballplayer and I’m ready to prove that. I can’t wait.”