Brown homers for local kids

Antonio Brown hit a home run on the field, but more importantly his efforts on Saturday hit a home run off the field.

Brown hosted his first annual Antonio Brown and Friends Celebrity Softball Game at CONSOL Energy Park to benefit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, and the day was a hit from start to finish.

"It's a special opportunity not only for the community, but for the kids at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh," said Brown. "My teammates and I gathered together for a good cause.

"Kids are important. I have four kids of my own. I understand some kids are born with circumstances they can't control. It's great to see they handle it well with a great attitude in the midst of adversity."

Brown made sure to include some of the hospital's patients in the activities including batgirl Maddie Garner and batboy Max Cieply.

"I am so excited about this. I can't believe this happened to me," said Garner. "I love how awesome he is at football and he is really super nice. He is a gentleman."

Brown was joined by fellow receivers Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates, linebackers Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams and Arthur Moats, kicker Chris Boswell, tight end David Johnson, fullback Roosevelt Nix and the big guys up front, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, and Maurkice Pouncey. Former Steelers Will Allen, Weslye Saunders and Merril Hoge were also on hand to help out.

"It's amazing to have teammates come out and support me," said Brown. "I want to commend all of my teammates for coming out here and showing their support for something like this. I am so glad they gave of their time to help the kids out."

Wheaton, who said Coates won the day just for his game day gear, said it was fun to get together for a good cause and to get the competitive juices flowing.

"We all get to get together outside of football, have fun, bond with the fans and enjoy the moment," said Wheaton. "We are all competitors. We all like to do stuff like this."

Brown took part in a meet and greet before a home run hitting contest and then the main attraction, a game pitting teammates against each other that Brown's team unofficially won after it ended a little early.

And while the day was all fun and games, the main thing was the money that was raised to help the kids at Children's Hospital.

"I think it's crucial.  Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is one of the top 10 children's hospitals in the country," said Children's Hospital's Dr. Victor Morell. "In order to stay there we need support from the community. I think somebody like Antonio doing this, raising money for Children's Hospital, is vital. Children's does a lot of free care in the community and all of this money that is raised helps us provide that outstanding care."

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