Jarvis Landry, Joel Bitonio and Joe Schobert finished Wednesday's OTA session and moseyed over to a couple of carts parked near the practice fields, but out of sight.
About 50 yards away stood the Berea-Midpark High School football team, all wearing their jerseys with TITANS emblazoned across the chest, reveling in their exclusive viewing of practice. Little did they know an even better gift was coming around the corner, delivered by a few of the Browns' biggest stars.
Landry and Bitonio drove along the back of the practice field end zones on the carts and parked in front of the players, who had just received a brief, inspirational talk from Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens.
"What's up guys?" Bitonio said as he and Landry parked their carts.
Kitchens informed the players they were about to receive a surprise gift, placed on the back of the carts but hidden by an orange sheet. Landry and Schobert teamed up to reveal the contents of the nearest cart, while Bitonio handled his cart's reveal on his own. The reaction to both?
Berea Midpark High School was surprised with $25,000 worth of new helmets from Xenith through the Browns HELMETS program in collaboration with Xenith, University Hospitals and Ohio Lottery. The event also was a pay it forward with the announcement of Barberton High School as the next school to receive $25K worth of new helmets.
"They look pretty sweet to me," Bitonio said. "Hope you guys enjoy them."
Enjoy, they did. Berea-Midpark received $25,000 worth of brand new Xenith helmets to equip its team through the HELMETS program, a collaboration between the Browns, University Hospitals, Xenith and Ohio Lottery in a shared effort to enhance health and safety of young athletes through proper equipment, education and training. The Titans were randomly selected among high schools who registered for the HELMETS program through the Browns' website and were happy to accept approximately 75 new orange satin chrome helmets, delivered to them by Bitonio, Landry and Schobert.
HELMETS encourages and incentivizes local high school football programs throughout Northeast Ohio to strengthen their commitment to player health and safety by enrolling coaches in USA Football’s Heads Up Football program. All teams registering for HELMETS must be certified or plan to become certified in USA Football’s Heads Up football program.
Wednesday also included a random drawing for the next program to receive a $25,000 contribution toward new helmets through the HELMETS program. The winner: Barberton High School.