When it comes to supporting a charity to make a different, you can't 'tear away' former Cleveland Browns running back Greg Pruitt from the opportunity.
Such was the case this past Saturday as Pruitt, the man who made the tear-away jersey rule famous in the National Football League, was in town signing autographs at MCSports at The Crossings plaza in Perkins Township in an effort to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Northeast Ohio.
The Perkins Fire Department (IAFF Local 953) helped run the event while the Browns Backers of Mansfield helped coordinate the event to get Pruitt in town.
"I am very involved with the Cleveland Browns Backers all over because they are great fans first of all," Pruitt said. "Its a way to show my appreciation to them as a former player and I know in order to do things like this, you have to have the funds to do it so they have different ways of raising funds for the club and for charities. If there are kids involved, I want to be there."
Perkins firefighter Brian Hackeburg was one of the main organizers of the event and said the autograph signing raised $633 in two hours.
"It was a steady flow of people," Hackenburg said. "We've gotten a lot of support with this and raised a decent amount of money and that is the goal here...every dime here goes to MDA of Northeast Ohio. The best part about that is all the money stays locally to the kids in Erie County so that is great."
Hackenburg also noted that other area businesses helped step up and bringing in other Cleveland Browns-related players is something he'd like to keep doing.
"Buffalo Wild Wings also donated some of their proceeds they made during the event so that was nice of them and MCsports did a nice job of sponsoring the event and we're grateful for that," Hackenburg said. "If we can get a bigger turnout this is something we'd like to keep doing. The best part about it is people can come out and donate to MDA and get something and meet someone in return."
Pruitt says most of his efforts are made during the NFL season to help promote the signings better, but he is available year round.
"During football season I'm out and about quite a bit, but to me its not a lot," he said. "I've always thought the Browns had the greatest fans period and they supported us through good teams, so-so teams and bad teams and it's for a great cause."
Pruitt believes it is important to use the Brows organization as a drawing card for the cause.
"It's good that people can use the Browns in a way to draw support for worthy charities," he said. "Our kids are our future and we need to take care of them because in the end if we're blessed to live long enough they are going to have to take care of us."