Jaelen Strong quietly picks up the orange and white cleats he helped design. He turns it over and sees writing inscribed on the sides of each shoe.
John H. Rankin III
April 4, 2003
It's his father's name and the day he passed away after losing his battle with leukemia. Jaelen was nine years old, his dad was 34.
"He was at most of my games," Strong says. "I started playing football when I was six so he got to see a couple of years of it."
Strong hopes to walk in his father's footsteps, wearing his name.
"To get these cleats made means a lot," Strong says. "(It's) a good thing the NFL is letting us do this."
The Texans second-year wide receiver is one of a number of Texans who worked with an independent customizer, Darwin Itzep of Airbrush Brothers, to design cleats for players participating in the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats campaign. Players will also have the opportunity to raise funds for the cause of their choice by auctioning off their cleats at the NFL Auction, where 100% of funds raised will be donated.
Like Strong, more than 500 players across the league will showcase their causes. Strong will represent the American Cancer Society.
"That's the most important thing for me," Strong said. "Just giving back to the community, giving back to somebody who doesn't have what we have. It's a big thing."
The NFL is dedicating the Week 13 games for the My Cause, My Cleats campaign. Players will get to wear their custom cleats on the field and during the games.
Through the #MyCauseMyCleats campaign, Texans players helped design cleats for Week 13 which support the causes and organizations they care about.