Week One of the Cleveland Browns Football Camp is in the books, as its first session came to a spirited end on a warm and breezy Wednesday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium.
And on this final day, the Browns' rookie class (yes, all of them) came out to help impart some football wisdom both on and off the field.
"It's important to learn everything and fundamentals," rookie fullback Patrick Skov said, "but it's also giving some energy about the sport in general, hopefully you're lighting a fire in them to an extent."
It was a lively atmosphere as campers rotated through different football drills manned by local high school/youth coaches and the rookies, who are finishing their last week before breaking for the summer.
"They're very happy to see us and we're very happy to see them as well just to give back to Cleveland, just to give back period is always a blessing an honor," rookie cornerback Tracy Howard said. "We're having as much fun as they are."
The Cleveland Browns Football Camp, which is held in association with University Hospitals, will help kids 7-12 years old sharpen their skills as they work on all the basics, from passing and kicking to blocking and defense. Two camp sessions will be offered: Session #1 – June 13-15 and Session #2 – June 20-22. Both camp sessions will take place at FirstEnergy Stadium.
For the Browns, who have been especially active in the community lately under first-year coach Hue Jackson, trekking from Berea is just the latest outing following the Cleveland Browns Foundation's annual charity golf tournament and the groundbreaking of James F. Rhodes field, one of five Cleveland Metropolitan School District sites will have synthetic turf installed through a two-year project made possible by Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam.
Players say the importance of giving back to Northeast Ohio and its people is a philosophy Jackson stresses on a daily basis.
"As soon as I got here to Cleveland Browns, I was quick to realize how much they believe in giving back to the community. I remember, in particular, growing up as a kid you can have a big influence on people at a young age," Skov said.
"So I think it's important that we get out here and kind of leave a print on little kids and teach them some basics and just get some face to face experience with the kids and get out in the community."
The Browns rookies took part in the youth football camp at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting in 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.
"It shows you how big and how invested he is in the community, he's trying to instill that in us as a team," Howard said. He added, "When we were growing up, we wanted those guys to give back to us. He's very big on that."
After all, it wasn't long ago members of the Browns' rookie class were kids themselves.
"I love this because I love giving back to the kids and I realize how much I looked up to the guys in the NFL, it's just a fun experience," rookie linebacker Dominique Alexander said.
"(Jackson is) really dedicated in giving back to the community and that's a great thing to have because the community is so important to the team because they're the ones who support us and those are our fans and for us to be able to give back to them and to see how much coach Jackson cares about that, to be a player for him, that's a great thing."
The Browns, who recently wrapped up offseason workouts, will return to Berea in late July for training camp. And you can trust the team leaves with a firm understanding of their relationship with the Cleveland community, the team's youth football camp being the latest testament.
"He coaches that throughout the whole team, it's one of our main topics, one of our main things to do," rookie defensive back A.J. Stamps said. "We want to let them know that we care about them, we're not just here to play football."
The Browns are dedicated 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.