BEREA, Ohio – The Cleveland Browns on Tuesday signed 9-year old Dylan Sutcliffe to a one-day contract as the team celebrates the one-year anniversary of its First and Ten volunteering initiative this week. Sutcliffe, who was diagnosed with ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), joins the Browns for OTAs today after he told Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana that his dream was to play football with the Browns. General Manager Ray Farmer made the announcement.
"We're excited to add another quality player to our roster as we prepare for the 2015 season," said Farmer. "When we first connected with Dylan, it was clear he was a competitor who had all of the right attributes to be a contributor to our team."
"Dylan is definitely a young man who has all of the 'Play Like a Brown' traits, particularly through his passion, toughness and relentlessness." said Head Coach Mike Pettine. "We look forward to seeing him bring that energy to practice this afternoon."
Following his limousine's arrival in Berea, Sutcliffe was welcomed by President Alec Scheiner and escorted into a meeting with Farmer in the draft room, where the two ultimately agreed to terms and watched film. The Lyndhurst, Ohio native was accompanied by his parents, Derek and Jennifer; grandparents, Dennis and Mary; and his 4-year old brother, Sean, who has also been diagnosed with A-T.
After signing, Sutcliffe entered a private coaching session with Pettine to prepare for his day with the team.
Sutcliffe will be formally introduced to the Dawg Pound and local media during his 10:30 a.m. press conference with Farmer prior to Browns practice. He will be outfitted with his own locker in the Browns locker room before taking the field at noon.
Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) is a primary immunodeficiency disease that affects a number of different organs in the body. A rare, recessive genetic disorder that affects between one out of every 40,000-100,000 children worldwide, A-T is a progressive ailment that is characterized by neurological problems, particularly abnormalities of balance, recurrent sinus and respiratory infections and dilated blood vessels in the eyes and on the surface of the skin. Patients also typically have immune system abnormalities and are very sensitive to the effects of radiation.
Throughout the week, the Browns are celebrating the first anniversary of the First and Ten campaign, which was launched on June 6, 2014 during the Browns 2014 NFL Draft Class' first community appearance, alongside President Alec Scheiner at Grindstone Elementary School. In the past year, the Dawg Pound has pledged to more than 500,000 hours of volunteering to help their communities, with Browns players contributing more than 900 hours of community service in Northeast Ohio this past year.
About Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana:
Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Currently, there are more than 170 children in northeast Ohio waiting for their wish to come true. You can help share the power of a wish® by making a donation, volunteering, or referring a child. For more information, visit our website at oki.wish.org or call 1-877-206-9474.