Browns welcome kid with rare disease for symbolic contract

Published 2:27 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The newest member of the Browns arrived in a limousine, signed his contract and suited up in front of his locker.

Dylan Sutcliffe then headed out to the practice field, where the 9-year-old boy with a rare disease that affects the nervous system lived out his dream of joining his favorite NFL team.

The Tuesday visit was arranged by the Browns and Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

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Browns coach Mike Pettine said Dylan shares the team’s ideals of passion and toughness.

Dylan has ataxia telangiectasia (uh-TAX-ee-uh te-LANGE’-ee-ek-tay-juh), which makes it difficult to coordinate movements and often weakens a person’s immune system. He was assigned No. 7 after inking his symbolic one-day contract in the office of general manager Ray Farmer.

He watched game film, then spoke at a press conference in the Browns’ media center, where beat writers and photographers joined in.

“Having my own locker, it’s nice. It’s fun,” said Dylan, who also met privately with team president Alec Scheiner and Pettine.

On the final play of practice, quarterback Josh McCown kneeled next to Sutcliffe in the end zone. After wide receiver Paul Browning caught a long touchdown pass, he presented the Lyndhurst, Ohio resident with the football.

“Not knowing what the future holds, it’s tough, but today is a very good day,” said Derek Sutcliffe, Dylan’s father. “If you think about his condition too much, it hurts. It’s all about creating memories in life, and we’ll remember this forever.”