CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns’ family lost one of their own on Friday.
Swagger, the Browns’ 145-pound bullmastiff mascot, passed away unexpectedly, and his handler, Justin McLaughlin, posted the news to his Facebook page.
“Today was not expected,” McLaughlin said. “Swagger unfortunately has passed away completely unexpected this afternoon. A lot of people did not know Swagger had been dealing with cancer for the past year.
“Today, he had a stroke, and it took his life. We will always remember him as the most loving dog we have ever encountered. His love was felt by thousands of people literally all over the world!!! #headofdawgpound #swagger #youwereloved.”
Swagger, who along with his son, SJ, hailed from FD Farms in Rootstown, and led the Browns out of the tunnel for home games since 2014, with the lone exception being the 2017 game against the Minnesota Vikings in London.
The Browns had a British bullmastiff lead them out onto the field for that game to keep the tradition going.
SJ is an 15-month old bullmastiff and took over for his father on Sunday, November 10 when the Browns hosted and defeated the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium. SJ has earned the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen badge and will make pre-game visits to Dawg Pound Drive, just like Swagger did in his career.
“Swagger has been a huge part of our team since 2014 and our fans absolutely love him,” Carlos Oseguera, the Browns’ senior director of fan experience and special events, told ClevelandBrowns.com at the time of Swagger’s retirement in October of 2019.
“Between his event appearances, pre-game duties on Dawg Pound Drive and his running out of the home team tunnel on game days, he’s been the utmost professional through his years of service.”