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Browns rookies hold youth football clinic at FirstEnergy Stadium

What's the contingency plan if it rains at a youth football camp?

"Come on, this is football, baby," Browns youth football manager John LaForce said.

Torrential rain and swirling winds didn't slow down 215 youth football campers and 23 Cleveland Browns rookies at FirstEnergy Stadium on Wednesday.

As important as the dozens of catching, running and passing drills was, a Q&A session where campers asked Browns players about their favorite football memories was even more impactful. Coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer said Cleveland placed emphasis on character with this draft class, and it was easy to tell with the charismatic answers.

"The most important thing I actually did wasn't football," linebacker Hayes Pullard said. "It was graduating from college. Make sure you take classes seriously. Football doesn't last forever."

"Football is about life lessons," safety Ibraheim Campbell said. "Football is such a tough sport, it makes everything else in life a little easier."

"Embrace all the relationships you'll build," fullback Malcolm Johnson said. "These friends will last a life time."

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Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Oregon) and tight end Kevin Haplea (Florida State) received loud ovations because the campers were familiar with their college teams' success. The little Dawg Pound members were already acquainted with running Duke Johnson, chanting his first name and clapping as the Miami alum introduced himself. Tight end Randall Telfer's favorite football memory was beating UCLA 50-0 while at USC.

"Parents, make sure your kids never, ever wear baby blue," Telfer said to laughter. 

Wednesday wrapped up the first week of the Browns' youth football camp in association with University Hospitals. It will resume again Monday. Playing the sport safely has been a point of emphasis from the 24 youth coaches and six Ohio Wesleyan football players involved.

Youth football camps like Wednesday's give first-round pick Cameron Erving reason to reflect. He remembers being in elementary school playing football for the pure joy. Now he gets to call it his day job.

"Never stop dreaming," Erving said. "It all felt like a dream until they called my name on draft day. It's a blessing to be in this position."

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