After years of futility the Cleveland Browns are looking for any help they can get to score touchdowns .
However, a running back weighing less than 100 pounds and well under 5 feet tall seems like a stretch — unless it’s 5-year-old cancer survivor Ryan Encinas.
More than 24,000 fans in attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium witnessed Encinas score his first NFL touchdown Aug. 3 during Cleveland’s “Family Night.”
Encinas, who wore a No. 1 Browns jersey and helmet like the team’s, ran 40 yards to the end zone after Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden handed him the ball.
“That was cool,” Weeden told the Akron Beacon Journal. “The kid is 5 years old, and he’s been through a lot. I do a lot of stuff back home with Children’s Hospital, so every time something like this happens, it brings a lump to your throat.”
Encinas was 2 years old when doctors found a cancerous tumor in his left lung. Encinas endured weeks of chemotherapy while his mom, Angela, dropped out of school to take care of him. Encinas beat the cancer and celebrated two years in remission on Aug. 2.
“What an amazing story. Diagnosed at 2 years old with cancer, scores first TD in NFL at 5. #truehero #Browns #yesican” tweeted Justin Allen (@passion4ball).
Browns coach Rod Chudzinski said his 5-year-old son Kaelan came up with the play for Encinas to score after seeing 7-year-old Jack Hoffman score a touchdown during Nebraska’s spring game, according to the Beacon Journal.
“Even #Browns haters have to applaud this,” tweeted Dusty Sloan (@TheDustySloan).
And applaud they did.
Humanity rose above rivalry when football fans set aside their differences for a moment after learning about Encinas’ viral touchdown.
“As a diehard Steeler fan, I have a natural disdain for the Browns and the Dawg Pound. That being said, well done Cleveland…class act! Now let’s play ball,” wrote Robert Warren in a comment thread on ESPN.com.
“Being from Detroit I hate everything about Cleveland and the state of Ohio as a whole, but this is a great story…. GOOD JOB BROWNS!” added Jaqua CognacDutch Caddell to the same thread.