CLEVELAND — Browns rookies Seth DeValve and Carl Nassib aren't that far removed from their high school glory days, when they were playing under the bright lights on Friday nights.
They made as much clear Wednesday morning, as the pair of newcomers helped host an official groundbreaking with City of Cleveland at Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Bump Taylor Field, which is one of five sites that will have synthetic turf installed through a two-year project made possible by Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam.
"Rolling up into the parking lot, just seeing the field, seeing it all ready to go is exciting. It's probably not going to take too long for the turf to get put down," DeValve said. "I imagine these guys are doing summer practices and itching for the season."
Through the Browns' two-year CMSD fields project, Roye Kidd Field, James F. Rhodes Field and Bump Taylor Field will be completed for the start of the 2016 high school football season, while John Adams Field and John Marshall Field will be renovated in 2017.
"I walked the neighborhood this morning — matter of fact last night — passing out flyers in the community about this great great great project from the Cleveland Browns," City of Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell, Ward 9, said. "And the residents love that you guys are reaching back and connecting with our children and our community."
Cleveland Metropolitan School District chief operating officer Patrick Zohn echoed a similar sentiment.
"(This field) is a classroom because there are lessons you're going to learn out here by just participating and being involved that you're not going to learn in a traditional classroom," he said. "You know, teamwork, sacrifice, strategy, learning how to deal with a defeat and coming back from it and getting stronger, learning how to celebrate a victory with class and distinction … those are the types of lessons that a field like this can give you."
Students, administrators and community members with ties to Glenville, which has a long history of sending football players to college and the NFL, gathered to celebrate a field befitting of one of the state's top programs.
"They told me this is a pipeline to Ohio State and the NFL," DeValve said. "It's really pretty incredible."
Nassib added, "I come from a big football family. Football can take you places, it can give you life skills and looking at the (artist's rendering), this is going to be a great field and there's going to be a lot of great games here."
Bump Taylor Field will also serve as host to John Hay home games and additional Senate League athletic competitions and activities.
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.
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.