JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Christmas came early for the Jaguars with today's official celebration of "Unboxing Day" for the NFL's annual My Cause My Cleats campaign. An NFL tradition, players and coaches around the league got their first look at their brand-new custom footwear that will showcase causes that are important to them during Week 13 and 14 games. The Jaguars will wear their shoes during their Week 14 home matchup against the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 13 at TIAA Bank Field.
More than 50 Jaguars players and coaches have elected to participate in the campaign 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 will be donated to raise funds for their chosen organization. Participants are raising awareness for a variety of causes, from the environment to healthcare to social justice. WR DJ Chark Jr. is recognizing the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
"I have lived with anxiety throughout my life and it has been something that has impacted me on and off the field," said Chark. "I believe that more awareness should be directed towards mental health, particularly with athletes. I want to use my platform to help people who are going through the same thing and remind them that there are people out there to talk to and they aren't the only ones going through it."
Several players have elected to represent Jacksonville-based organizations. OL A.J. Cann is representing Family Support Services of North Florida and the work they do to ensure kids have a stable home environment. TE Tyler Eifert will continue to create awareness for veteran mental health and honor K9s for Warriors on his cleats. WR Keelan Cole Sr. is once again using his cleats to celebrate the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida, an organization he participated in as a child in his own hometown of Louisville, Ky. DT DaVon Hamilton will recognize the importance of pet adoption by showcasing the Jacksonville Humane Society on his cleats.
In a first for the Jaguars, coaches have the opportunity to participate in the My Cause My Cleats program. Head Coach Doug Marrone is honoring the First Coast Child Protection Team.
"My wife, Helen, has long represented vulnerable children in the communities we've called home, and it remains a passion for her and my entire family," said Marrone. "We should all be aware of and seek to protect kids who have been the victim of abuse to ensure they have a chance to grow up and achieve their dreams. I look forward to raising awareness for those kids during the My Cause My Cleats campaign this year."
For a complete list of participating players and coaches and a look at their shoe design and cause, fans can visit https://www.jaguars.com/mycausemycleats20.