CLEVELAND (WJW) – Three Cleveland Browns defenders got the chance to check out a different brand of football as they met with veterans on Tuesday for a wheelchair football clinic at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.
Defenders Sione Takitaki, Tommy Togiai and Chase Winovich met with disabled veterans and members of the Cleveland Browns wheelchair football team as part of Salute to Service Month.
“We’ll be out there coaching them up, trying to give them some pointers here,” Togiai said.
The clinic taught the veterans how to play the game, which is presented in a seven-on-seven format, as well as several skills drills, but one of the main goals was to have fun.
Togiai said he enjoys giving back to veterans because it’s a cause near to his heart.
“Veterans run deep in my family. My grandpa and his brothers served in our military,” he said. “So, I mean it’s really an honor for me to be out here with these guys and have fun with them and spend time with them. And get to know them a little better and everything.”
Cleveland Browns Wheelchair Football team quarterback Josh Green has only been playing the sport for a couple of years but loves the camaraderie it provides.
“Getting to play the sport and meet other disabled people from around the country, to all come together and it’s like a brotherhood,” Green said. “Whether you’re on their team or not, I mean, you instantly have a friendship and have something to talk about. It’s an awesome time.”
Getting to meet the Browns players is an opportunity that he, the other players and the veterans will never forget.
“I couldn’t wait for this,” Green said. “I had to miss some family stuff to come here and that’s OK. I just wanted to see these guys in real life and appreciate them. And then show them athletes come in all sizes and abilities and show them what we can do.”
This event was part of the Browns Give Back campaign. The Browns plan to continue to honor veterans later this month at the Nov. 27 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Adaptive Sports Ohio, CrossCountry Mortgage were also co-sponsors of the event.