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Greco heading home for weekend

Posted May 16, 2012

Browns offensive lineman John Greco will head to his hometown of Boardman, Ohio, Thursday for a youth football camp and a United Way dinner, as well as other events Friday and Sunday.

Cleveland Browns offensive lineman John Greco has proven that you can go home again.

Greco grew up in Boardman, Ohio, between Cleveland and Pittsburgh and will return home this weekend for several events in his hometown. Greco will be at Boardman High School to kick off the youth football camp and also make a guest appearance at the United Way’s “Champions Among Us” dinner Thursday night.

On Friday, Greco will speak at the Browns’ Football Friday Luncheon in Youngstown and then, take part in a meet-and-greet at the Youngstown Flag Football League at Boardman High School on Sunday.

“Whether you’re a doctor, lawyer, business man or woman, whatever profession you’re in, it’s good to see people that have put in hard work,” Greco said. “We’re blessed with a lot of gifts, but there is hard work involved too and it’s good to show kids that. Maybe, they want to emulate that one day, go through the ranks and make it into whatever field they want to do.”

Part of the reason Greco goes back to Boardman and talks with children from his hometown is because he knows what that means to try and better oneself.

“I just really go back and think I used to be in these kids’ shoes and they’re just out there and wide-eyed,” Greco said. “They are like sponges. Anything you tell them is gold. I just think it’s funny that someone’s words and actions have such a big impact on kids and I think it’s important that we’re feeding them the right information and trying to better their lives.”

Another reason why Greco goes back is because he knows “kids look up to” professional athletes.

“If I heard that any Browns player or any football player was going to be somewhere I was, I remember how excited I was,” said Greco. “I just remember how excited I would get and how excited the other kids would get, so it’s really nice that we can kind of use our situation to influence them. I love helping out any way I can.”

Since being acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Rams last year, Greco has had the unique opportunity to play in front of his family and friends. Greco was born in Ravenna and was one of many to play for the tradition-laden Boardman High School football team. In addition to playing football, Greco lettered in basketball while at Boardman High School.

“Sports in general were really important growing up,” Greco said. “Your friends played all the sports; you wanted to play all the sports, stay active and keep busy competing to win games and have fun, which is most important. Around the Youngstown area, there’s a lot of pride in football. There’s a lot of history there and a lot of successful coaches and players have come out of that area.”