Former Browns golf for charity

6/20/2012 by Matt Florjancic.

VALLEY CITY, Ohio -- Several former Cleveland Browns players joined the Cleveland Touchdown Club on Thursday at Coppertop at Cherokee Hills Golf Course in Valley City for the club’s annual golf outing.

Former running backs Greg Pruitt, Jamie Caleb and Kevin Mack, defensive backs Ben Davis and Ernie Kellermann, defensive tackle Jim Kanicki, punter Bryan Wagner, offensive linemen Dave Wohlabaugh and Steve Zahursky and linebacker-defensive end John Thierry participated in the event. The funds raised will help the club continue its scholarship program -- four $1,000 scholarships were awarded last year -- and its support of the Browns football camp.

Twenty-five children who could not afford the Browns camp were given the opportunity to participate because of the Cleveland Touchdown Club.

“I understand that the success that I’ve had in my life is because somebody took the time to make me do enough of the right things to give myself an opportunity to be successful in what I was trying to accomplish,” Pruitt said. “It’s just a way of giving back. Most of these events raise money for a lot of great causes and it benefits kids. They are the future of America. I want to be comfortable enough to know it’s in good hands.”

According to Tony Dick, the Browns’ manager of alumni relations and one of the organizers of the golf outing, the relationship between the Browns and Cleveland Touchdown Club started around the time Paul Brown founded the organization in 1946.

“That relationship was something that was instantaneous,” Dick said. “It was an immediate relationship and carried all the way to 1996. In the interim, the Touchdown Club helped keep the name of the Browns and our alumni active in the community. Since 1999, we’ve worked to continue that.”

The Cleveland Touchdown Club is celebrating its 74th anniversary in 2012. In addition to its support of scholarships and assistance with football camps, the Cleveland Touchdown Club holds an annual banquet where they honor football players from the MUNY Football League, as well as the high school, college and professional ranks.

The Club annually provides food for the Special Olympics Field Day at the Browns’ Berea training facility every February.

“I grew up in Cleveland and I’ve always been an avid Cleveland Browns supporter,” Kellermann said. “I know this event raises money for kids and so, I readily support this type of event. It’s a fun day and it’s a very rewarding day in that they raise sufficient monies to help displaced children.”

Thierry added, “It’s a good charity and they do good things for families and kids. You look at all the stuff kids can get caught up in, they need some type of way of getting to do things, like football camps. I didn’t have this and wish I could have, but I had aunties and a grandmother, people to keep me in line, but a lot of kids don’t have that. Just for them to see this type of stuff is a great thing.”

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