Selecting a Stellar Committee
Longtime Friend Sean Landeta Lends Founder Brian O’Shea a Hand
By Jarred Belman
On December 5th & 6th, 2015, the O’Shea Media Group will present the 1st Annual Shirts vs Skins Basketball Classic, a 2 day showcase event pitting 3 host Baltimore high school teams such as Calvert Hall, St Frances and Mcdonogh against out of state teams such as St. Benedicts Prep, Newark, NJ and others to help create community awareness about diabetes. One of the many members of the committee for the Annual Basketball Classic is former All-Pro NFL and Towson punter, Sean Landeta.
Landeta, who played 22 seasons in the NFL, is however not the only former athlete involved with the tournament. Former NBA veterans such as Sam Cassell and Juan Dixon are also expected to help support the tournament.
“I think the tournament is a great idea,” Landeta said. “Any time you can get a group of former NBA players together to help raise money and awareness for something that effects a lot of people, it’s a great thing.”
A member of five different franchises during his career, Landeta certainly played with an array of different people in the NFL. That being said, Sean is no stranger to athletes playing with diabetes.
“There were a number of guys that I played with who had diabetes, but fortunately in the last 20 years they’ve made such great strides in the field that guys have been able to play, where maybe 30, 40 years ago they wouldn’t have been able to.” Landeta said. “Whether it’s in high school, college, or professional, having to deal with something like that might not allow you to be the player you can be; and that has to be tough for those guys.”
Speaking of some different people, Landeta spent the 1998 NFL season in Green Bay, playing with the Packers and Brett Favre. Sean played with Favre during the height of his NFL career, coming off three consecutive MVP awards and a Super Bowl title.
“Brett was really a great teammate, very generous guy,” Landeta said. “Probably the best steak house in Green Bay was his, and for being such a superstar he was really a great teammate.”
However, before Sean made it to Green Bay, and even before he made it to New York with the Giants, his career began in the USFL, where he spent three seasons with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars. Landeta was the last active NFL player to play in the United States Football League, outlasting some Hall of Fame quarterbacks such as Steve Young and Jim Kelly.
“The USFL was a real good league, with some real good players,” Landeta said. “A lot of their players went on to play in the NFL; but all in all, there certainly was a little bit less talent compared to the NFL.”
Although the league itself did not last a very long time, Landeta left his mark on the USFL in a big way. In his three seasons he was a two-time All-USFL selection and is a member of the USFL All-Time Team.
Coming from a non-AQ conference to the NFL is difficult enough, but coming from a non-Division I school to the professional level is even more of a challenge. This was precisely the challenge that Sean Landeta faced coming out of Towson University.
“Today there’s so much more visibility with the scouting process and everything, and now players from smaller schools will be noticed,” Landeta said. “But 30 years ago there was more of a chance that a small school guy could get passed over and not really scouted.”
One player who has benefitted from the increased visibility to small school athletes, is former Towson running back, Terrance West. West, who led Towson to the Division II title game, was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, and is hoping to add his name to the list of successful small school NFL players.
“Terrance was an outstanding player at Towson, one of the best in the country, and the fact that the Browns took him in the third round shows how highly they thought of him,” Landeta said. “I would just tell him, ‘look, do what you’ve done that has made you so successful up to this point and everything will work itself out’.”
Landeta retired from football at the age of 43, playing 25 seasons at the professional level. With that in mind, his experiences in the sports world will be very helpful in making the 1st Annual Shirts vs Skins Basketball Classic later this year, a big success.