Community

Browns players join local police in surprise visit to Michael Zone Recreation Center, stress unity

Ibraheim Campbell, Rashard Higgins, and Ricardo Louis teamed up with Cleveland Police to surprise kids at Michael Zone Recreation Center.

CLEVELAND — Ricardo Louis, Ibraheim Campbell and Rashard Higgins joined forces with local law enforcement and emergency medical services at the Michael Zone Recreation Center Tuesday afternoon.

The pair of Browns players partnered with members of the Cleveland Police Department and Cleveland Fire Department for a surprise visit to watch local youth football teams practice. The event comes as the Browns stress unity and the team's ability to bring the community -- regardless of race, religion or background -- together. 

"(The kids) are the future of this country that we live in and with everything that's going on in the country with the protests throughout the NFL and everything, we're just trying to make it clear," Campbell said. "The message we're trying to get across is that we're in it to unify the country and make it better a place better place for youth and the people that are currently in it."

The visit comes days after Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam issued a statement supporting their players' contributions in the community and right to their platform as professional athletes in positive, meaningful ways. Earlier this month, the team also unveiled a video stressing unity and equality before the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns players also linked up with police officers and members of the military in a show of solidarity.

"For the kids, they're watching us and they want to understand, and they see we accomplish certain goals and see how we come together and accomplish something like when we played the Steelers," Louis said. "Coming together with our owners, and the fire departments and all that, that just shows unity is a special thing. We can do a lot of things with that."

The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school 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.

Through Browns Give Back, the Browns are continuing their commitment to #give10 through the team's signature First and Ten volunteering campaign during the offseason after engaging the community throughout the season each Tuesday on the players' day off. 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 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.

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