WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio — For Browns fans, it was not a time for mourning, but rather a time for celebration.
Fans and loved ones gathered on Saturday for Swagger, the team's former bullmastiff mascot who died earlier this month at the age of six. Calling hours began at 1 p.m. at DeJohn Funeral Homes in Willoughby Hills, following by a formal funeral service at 3.
Before dozens of well-wishers, Swagger's body lay in an open casket adorned with Browns gear. His son SJ, who replaced him as mascot this past season, was there to greet those who came as well as to stand watch over his dad and friend.
Swagger served as the team's live mascot from 2014 until Week 6 of last season, and his handlers later revealed he had been battling cancer for some time. He passes away from a stroke, which officials said was "unexpected."
"While we are very sad to have Swagger leave us, we know he brought much joy to families and children that visited the stadium," Ross DeJohn Jr., DeJohn's CEO and funeral director, said in a statement. "A lifelong Cleveland fan myself, we feel fortunate to host this opportunity to join in his celebration of life."
While the Browns sent their condolences after Swagger's death, the team had no direct role in today's services.