On Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns signed 9-year-old defensive lineman Dylan Sutcliffe from Sunview Elementary School. General manager Ray Farmer made the announcement.
"We are always searching for the best guys for the Cleveland Browns," said Farmer. "That's why we signed Dylan Sutcliffe."
Like all incoming first-round draft picks and highly coveted free agents, Sutcliffe was welcomed by president Alec Scheiner and given a tour of the building. That ultimately led him to the draft room, where he signed his contract. Farmer and Sutcliffe watched film together of a recent OTA practice and debated which uniform combination the Browns should wear Week 1.
Coach Mike Pettine then summoned Sutcliffe to his office for an important, private meeting closed to reporters and later escorted Sutcliffe to his opening press conference.
"I think it's awesome," Sutcliffe said when a veteran reporter asked him about joining the Browns.
At the end of the news conference, Farmer and Sutcliffe's father held up a brand new No. 7 jersey with his last name on the back. Farmer made it clear that Sutcliffe, despite becoming the franchise's youngest player in team history, will compete with first-round nose guard Danny Shelton for playing time.
The Browns prepared a special lunch for Sutcliffe and his family, and then it was off to the locker room. Cleveland sees many "Play Like a Brown" attributes in its newest addition: his passion, toughness and relentlessness. So the coaching staff decided to put Sutcliffe's locker next to fellow leader Joe Haden.
Decked out in a skull cap, helmet and shades, Sutcliffe made his presence known quickly on the practice field. The rookie has long admired the playing style of defensive lineman Phil Taylor and was thrilled to meet his new teammate. The feeling was mutual.
"It's huge for our team to have Dylan with us now," Taylor said.
Sutcliffe joined the rest of his teammates at the end of Tuesday's OTA practice, catching a pass from Josh McCown and later helped break down the huddle. Sutcliffe also had some words of inspiration for the four quarterbacks on the roster.
Sutcliffe is scheduled to rejoin his classmates at Sunview Elementary on Wednesday for his last day of class. His impact with the Browns was immediate and long-lasting.
"To see a young man who's fighting a fight, how passionate he is about what we do," Pettine said, "it's hard to take it for granted when you meet a young man like Dylan."
Click here for more information on Sutcliffe's story and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.