Four years ago, Browns tight end Gary Barnidge, along with two of his former Louisville teammates, created American Football Without Barriers (AFWB). So far, it's been a smashing success.
The goal of the non-profit organization is to spread American football to other countries while teaching kids the camaraderie and other life skills the sport brings to the table. Every year for a week in the spring, NFL players tag along with Barnidge, bring equipment for the youths to keep and train adults on coaching techniques so that football will be able to thrive there once the players leave.
Year 1, the camp was held in China. Year 2, it was Brazil. And earlier this week, AFWB arrived in Istanbul, Turkey.
Accompanying Barnidge are fellow Browns teammates Alex Mack, Barkevious Mingo, Jordan Cameron and Johnson Bademosi. Longtime Panthers running back Deangelo Williams also made the trip to the Middle East.
The United States' consulate, Charles Hunter, welcomed the Browns players Thursday for a dinner party.
In addition to teaching football, Mack will be joining the NFL USO Tour to hang out with members of the Military. Mack was awarded the Browns’ NFL Salute to Service award in November and has several family members who served in armed forces.
Check out http://afwbcamp.com/ for more in-depth coverage of Barnidge and the Browns.