CLEVELAND -- In the National Football League, players have different ways to finding a work-life balance, and for rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, it comes through spending time with those going through struggles.
On his off days, Kizer pays visits to University Hospitals and spends time with pediatric patients and their families.
“I take a big initiative on myself on getting into the community as much as I can,” Kizer said. “My trips to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is one that allows me to take a step back and really put things in perspective.
“Obviously, we are going through some tough times here in this facility. That allows me to step away from it and make sure I understand what is important. I will continue to do whatever I can to have the same impact that I have on the field, off the field.”
Visiting patients at University Hospitals is one of the many charitable endeavors Kizer has undertaken since joining the Browns through a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of the University of Notre Dame.
Around the National Football League last weekend, players wore specially designed cleats supporting causes close to their hearts, and Kizer was one of 18 members of the Browns took part in the event.
Kizer represented The Andrew Weishar Foundation, which is the family charitable organization of his former Notre Dame teammate, Nic Weishar. Andrew Weishar was Nic’s older brother and passed away after a battle with colorectal cancer.
After a difficult battle of treatment and surgery, Andrew had a recurrence of cancer and passed away on October 12, 2012, just two weeks shy of his 22nd birthday.
“They have been able to immediately impact and ease some of the pressures that come from families who are dealing with cancers of all sorts,” Kizer said. “I have a relationship with Nic, his brother at Notre Dame, and that has allowed me to become really tight with the family.
“I’m looking forward to continue to bring awareness to what they have. They do a big music festival called WeishFest. I’m going to continue to work to promote that and allow them to continue to raise funds so they can continue helping these different families.”
In his first 10 NFL starts, Kizer completed 166 of his 313 attempts (53 percent) for 1,823 yards with five touchdowns against a league-worst 14 interceptions. Additionally, Kizer took 24 sacks for 152 lost yards and held a 57.2 quarterback rating.
Then, in a 19-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Kizer completed 15 of his 32 attempts for 215 yards and one touchdown with a lost strip-sack fumble and interception on the Browns’ final two possessions of the game.
It was Kizer’s sixth .500 or worse completion percentage in 11 NFL starts, and following the game, he expressed frustration because of the constant struggles. However, since that time, Kizer has reclaimed the balance ahead of Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
“Obviously, I was able to go back and watch the film, take down some specific notes to work on this week and I’m excited for another opportunity to go out there and try to lead the team to our first victory,” Kizer said.