BEREA -- The Cleveland Browns welcomed 150 children from the Akron Parent Pee-Wee Football League to the team’s Berea training facility for a youth football clinic where the NFC’s drafted rookies served as guest instructors.
The NFC rookies participated in the youth football clinic as part of this week’s NFL Rookie Symposium, which is taking place in Northeast Ohio this week.
“It’s great being out here,” said Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar. “I wish I was one of these kids when I was this old with some NFL guys coming out and playing with us. It’s great being out here and being able to run around with these little guys and just have fun.
“You realize just how much these kids just love playing the game. It’s just for the love of the game. We were all at this age at one point in time, playing the sport. It reminds you of how much you love the game.”
Players led the children through basic football drills, including passing and running stations. The Green Bay Packers’ rookies even tested the speed of their pupils by encouraging them to chase after running back Eddie Lacy.
“It means a lot; it feels like yesterday I was out here at a camp like this,” Arizona linebacker Kevin Minter said. “It’s all fun, just seeing these kids all bright-eyed and seeing us live our dreams and make them want to achieve theirs. It humbles you, brings you back to reality, what used to be my reality.”
Clarence Kaiser, director of the Akron East youth football team, said his players getting to participate in the youth football clinic is “probably one of the biggest things that’s ever happened” to his players.
“The kids have been excited for a week,” Kaiser said. “They seemed to enjoy themselves during the event.”
Although he loved watching his players enjoy the day, Kaiser hopes the lessons learned go far beyond the football field.
“The players shared with them not only about the skills of playing the game, but the importance of life skills, making right choices, doing the right things and the educational pieces,” Kaiser said. “I hope they get more than football skills.
“If they apply themselves on and off the field, that success will come. That’s what we try to teach here in our organization and the players elaborated on that. Hopefully, they’ll take that with them.”