Loud enthusiasm about their upcoming Tuesday evening practice turned into a stunned silence as six Browns slowly walked toward the Brooklyn Hurricanes Football League players.
Their suspicions were soon confirmed. Yes, these were real members of the Cleveland Browns and, yes, they would be participating in their practice.
The response was a chorus.
"It's an opportunity to give back," defensive lineman Desmond Bryant said. "When I was younger, I went to a Chicago Bulls basketball camp one time and I remembered meeting these players and that's something I'll never forget for the rest of my life. I don't know how much better I got at playing basketball, but just the fact I met them and saw them was a little extra motivation to get to where I wanted to be, which is to be able to play for a team like the Browns."
Bryant was joined by five of his teammates on this ideal evening for football at the Brooklyn Fields: defensive backs Johnson Bademosi and Ibraheim Campbell, running back Shaun Draughn, long snapper Charley Hughlett and defensive lineman John Hughes.
Before the practice, the players fielded questions from the players, which ranged from what was your hardest hit to what was your longest touchdown. Then, the group went through stretching, individual drills and team drills, which were split into two portions of the field.
The players spent their time with both sides and were immediately sucked into the competition.
"It's right around the age I started playing football," Campbell said. "It's great to get back to it. It's football at its purest form."
The players worked alongside the dedicated coaches of the Brooklyn Football League, who volunteer their time to lead the teams. At the end of the practice, Hughes, Bademosi and Bryant delivered words of encouragement and stressed the importance of taking care of their work in the classroom in order to succeed in activities like football.
The Browns joined in with the players as they broke down their practice with their trademark "Ric Flair" chant.
"Giving back, it's big and important," Hughes said. "You want to make the youth growing up now better than you had it."
The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.
In 2015, the Browns are continuing their commitment to #give10 through the team's First and Ten initiative. Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to volunteer in and help their communities throughout the world by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual's city across the globe, as well as the franchise's local community. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team's website and by sharing their stories with #give10.