AURORA —** The Browns are set to embark on a pivotal three-week stretch when OTAs begin this week. But first, head coach Hue Jackson wanted to make sure his team — including a promising rookie class that includes first-overall NFL Draft pick Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku — knows that what they do off the field is just as important as what they do on it.
Because of that, scores of players made their way to the annual Cleveland Browns Foundation Golf Tournament on Monday morning at the Barrington Golf Club.
"We understand what we need to do on the football field, but it's more to it than just football and I think our guys get it," Jackson said. "There's another commitment to our community, and this is our way of showing that we're part of that by giving back today."
The players were joined by coaches, staff and alumni in what was an all-hands-on-deck effort to help raise money and awareness for education and youth development throughout Northeast Ohio.
That is, after all, the mission of the Cleveland Browns Foundation, which works to create a community where all youth in the area receive a high-quality education to establish a foundation for their future independence and success.
"There's three things we always talk about when we talk about what we're trying to do," Browns owner Dee Haslam said. "Obviously build a consistently winning football team, take great care of our fans and give back to Northeast Ohio and that's why we're here today."
Entering its 18th year, the annual golf tournament is the Cleveland Browns Foundation's longest tenured and most successful fundraiser, raising nearly $3 million since its launch through the collaboration of the Browns, the team's partners and other generous supporters.
The Foundation has zeroed in on the importance of education and, in particular, chronic absenteeism in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and across Northeast Ohio
"Our family for a long time has really been involved in a lot of different philanthropic opportunities and our reach has been this wide and we've narrowed it in to focus on education," Jimmy Haslam said.
"I don't think any of us could argue or disagree with how important education is and it starts at a young age to get these kids to go to school and stay in school and that's why we've gotten involved in school attendance."
The Foundation aims to identify and eliminate barriers affecting students' readiness to learn so all individuals can reach their maximum potential through high-quality education and make a positive long-term impact on Northeast Ohio. The Foundation has forged collaborative partnerships with a holistic, measurable approach to enhancing childhood development and quality of education.
Among current Foundation partners include the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (Get 2 School! You Can Make It! attendance campaign), Achievement Centers for Children (Adapted Football League) and Shoes and Clothes for Kids (Special Teams Package).
The Browns Foundation is a critical component of the Browns Give Back mission, which aims to give back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment education and youth football while engaging the community through their signature First and Ten volunteer movement.
Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign was 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. Fans are encouraged to share how they give back in their communities by tagging their stories #give10 on social media.
About the Cleveland Browns and Browns Give Back:
The Cleveland Browns give back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team's signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visitwww.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
About the Cleveland Browns Foundation:
The Cleveland Browns Foundation is dedicated to a solution-based, holistic approach to ensure Northeast Ohio youth receive the education and development they need as a foundation for independence and success. For more information, visitwww.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
About First and Ten:
Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to #give10 and help their communities 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.