JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On most Sunday’s, the NFL is very strict about what players can and can’t wear during games. This week the NFL will relent on those restrictions in the name of a good cause.
This Sunday, when the Jaguars face the Indianapolis Colts at 1 p.m. at EverBank Field, players will have the chance to showcase causes that are important to them as part of the NFL’s annual “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign.
More than 40 Jaguars players are participating this year, and have worked with local and national artists to customize cleats to represent an issue or organization that is of special significance to them. Each pair of shoes tells a personal story, and many pairs will be donated to NFL Auction to raise funds for their chosen organization.
The players each chose a cause that was important to them and teamed with an artist to depict their cause on the shoes they will play in on Sunday.
Running back and return man Corey Grant chose The Curtis House, a charity in his hometown of Opelika, Alabama, which works with kids.
“This is one I actually work with in the off-season when I go back home,” Grant said. “A lot of kids go to this home and get their work done after school and it’s a great thing. I’m all for it.”
Marqise Lee spent his youth in and out of foster homes, and he knows the difference that foster parents can make in the lives of kids who don’t have a stable home to rely on.
“Throughout foster care, you build relationships,” Lee said. “I was in foster care all my life. I got out when I was 18. It’s big for me and I feel like it’s important to show people my background and where I’ve been, and to support foster care.”
For Leonard Fournette, the decision was an easy one. His cleats promote stopping crime in the 7th Ward of New Orleans, where he grew up.
“It was any easy choice. Right out the back of my mind, I knew what I wanted to do,” Fournette said. “I think we have one of the highest rates of killing. In my neighborhood there were a lot of people who had talent who didn’t make it out.”
It wasn’t too long ago that the NFL frowned on any kind of on field show like this. But now, players have the chance to help give a platform to causes that are important to them.
“I think the league is going above and beyond in helping the players and understanding the players in how we can make the league more fun,” said defensive lineman Calais Campbell. “What we really have is the platform to enrich causes. That’s huge, because we all are very passionate about something -- we’ve all be affected by something, so it’s nice to care about something and reach as many people as we can through this great platform of the NFL.”
Throughout the year, Jaguars players are very active in the community and several of them have chosen to represent local Jacksonville organizations this Sunday. Linebacker Myles Jack, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and fullback Tommy Bohanon will wear shoes honoring the Jacksonville Humane Society. Quarterback Blake Bortles will celebrate the first responders of the Jacksonville’s Sherrif’s Office and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Wide receiver Keelan Cole will wear shoes calling attention to the good work of the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida. Defenisve tackle Abry Jones and offensive tackle William Poehls will honor the Wounded Warrior Project.
For a complete list of participating players and a look at their shoe design and cause, fans can visit www.jaguars.com/mycause.