During the camp, the players helped walk nearly 200 campers through various drills, including the tackling stations, posed for photos and signed autographs.
“You get a break from real football, so you come out here and have some fun,” said outside linebacker
Matt Yunker, the Browns’ manager of youth football, said having the rookies attend and participate in the camp as instructors amplified the energy within the stadium.
“You could sense it,” Yunker said. “Then, when you get the rookies actually interacting with the kids, you see that they’re just like big kids themselves. It’s pretty neat, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these campers to say, ‘I got to play football with a Cleveland Browns player.’ That’s really something special, and something that we’re happy we can offer.”
The rookie class helped the camp’s regular instructors with age-specific training, aimed at developing basic skills for the 7-8 year olds and continuing the grow the 9-10 and 11-12-year- old campers’ knowledge of football fundamentals.
“We felt it was important to make sure that the kids were being taught lessons, techniques, drills that were appropriate to their age group,” Yunker said. “A seven year old’s not going to learn the same things that a 12 year old is just because they’re not at that level of football yet. They’re learning the basic skills. A 12 year old, who might be getting ready to go play middle-school football, is going to learn a little more advanced techniques.”
In addition to serving as instructors, the Browns’ rookies got their first look at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“It’s my first time here,” Mingo said. “I was joking around with one of my LSU teammates. We were walking down and started doing one of the things we always used to do when we walked down to the stadium. It’s great to be here. It’s a nice stadium, and I’m excited to be here.”
The Cleveland Browns Youth Football Camp is presented by Medical Mutual of Ohio, in association with Cleveland Clinic.