Swagger joined the Browns as a puppy at the start of the 2014 NFL season
The Cleveland Browns are mourning the loss of their first-ever live mascot Swagger, who died on Friday at just 6 years old.
The NFL team announced the devastating news on their website, explaining that Swagger, a 145-pound bullmastiff died after battling cancer over the past year.
Swagger first joined the Browns as a puppy at the start of the 2014 NFL season.
Since becoming a member of the Browns family, Swagger made regular appearances on Dawg Pound Drive and events throughout the community.
“Swagger ran through the tunnel at every Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium from 2014 to the midpoint of the 2019 season,” the website states.
Swagger’s role with the Browns became a family affair after his son SJ “took over for him in Week 10 of the 2019 season.”
SJ will continue to represent the team “into 2020 and beyond,” according to the website.
Born in July 2013, Swagger was a member of the American Kennel Club in Rootstown, Ohio. The club was run by Fred and Debby McLaughlin and their son Justin was Swagger’s handler.
Justin also spoke out about Swagger’s death on Facebook.
“Today was not expected,” Justin captioned a Facebook post, which shows him cuddled up to the pooch. “Swagger unfortunately has passed away completely unexpected this afternoon. A lot of people did not know Swagger had been dealing with cancer for the past year. Today he had a stroke and it took his life.. 😥 We will always remember him as the most loving dog we have ever encountered. His love was felt by thousands of people literally all over the world!!!”
Since his death, both fans and players on the Browns have paid tribute to the late pooch.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield shared a sweet slideshow of photos of himself posing with Swagger, writing, “We love you and we’ll miss you. Doggy heaven got a good one today.”
“The goodest boy in all The Land… RIP Swagger,” sports reporter Michael Welsh tweeted.
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The Browns also tweeted about Swagger, sharing a black-and-white photo of him resting on the football field.
“We’re heartbroken by the passing of our beloved mascot, Swagger. As a constant presence on game day and the leader of the Dawg Pound, Swagger was a proud member of our team for 6 seasons. RIP.”