Browns rookies give back on day off

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns may be done with the mini-camp practices and organized team activities that encompassed the offseason workout schedule, but the 2014 rookie class is still hard at work in the Cleveland community.

On Tuesday, the Browns spent part of the morning signing autographs for and working with children from Youth Challenge at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

"Giving back means everything," cornerback Pierre Desir said. "Giving back to your community and just being in someone's life and giving your time, it really shows that you care about them and about the community. You've got to do whatever to help a child's life. Even if that's a couple hours or a couple minutes, that's going to help, and that's what really matters."

Fellow cornerback Justin Gilbert added, "It's great. It's great to see the smiles on their faces. They always put smiles on our faces, and the rookies that I came here with, it's just great to be around these guys and know that we could possibly change their lives."

As a father of two daughters, Desir knows the impact giving back can have on a child.

"With my family, we try to give back and try to volunteer," Desir said. "It's very important to give back to those who are less fortunate because you giving back could impact their lives, even though it might be for a short time. I'm excited to come out here, do it again and put some more smiles on kids' faces."

Rookie running back Terrance West enjoyed giving back, and wished he could spend more of the day with the children at the zoo.

"The area I'm from in Baltimore, we don't have a lot of guys that give back and do positive things in the community," West said. "Me just being here is a blessing. Also, I have a six-year old son, so it's just a blessing to put a smile on the kids' faces.

"I want to go in the zoo and see the animals too. When I was a kid, I went to the zoo with my grandmother and my mom, and that's something that sticks out, that I remember. These kids, they'll remember this moment for the rest of their lives. They've got Johnny Manziel over there that they're excited to see, and it's just a blessing to be here."

In addition to showing support for the Cleveland community, events like Tuesday's trip to the zoo allows the rookies to bond with each other.

"It's kind of like we were when we first got here," Gilbert said. "We were just bonding with each other and got thrown in with the vets. This allows us to get back with each other and kind of vibe a little bit now that we've been in and out with the vets to see how things have been going."


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