Week 13 will be special for New England Patriots players and the reason has nothing to do with the teams performance.
This week gives players the opportunity to wear custom cleats thanks to the “My Cause My Cleats” initiative. For Tyquan Thornton his cleats will serve as a tribute to one of his best friends.
In Week 6, Thornton played in his second-ever NFL game and was able to score his first regular season NFL touchdown. Thornton pointed to the sky and fans later found out why.
“I was packing my bag getting ready for the game when I got the call,” Thornton said of the moment he learned his friend, Cedric Walker Jr., was killed. “It was a lot.”
That is why Thornton chose to benefit March For Our Lives for the NFL’s custom cleat initiative.
“Growing up in Miami, it’s not a secret what was going on down there,” Thornton said of why he chose to benefit March For Our Lives. “There’s a lot of violence going on. I’m the hope of the city — not just me, but a couple of other guys. There’s a lot of guys that have talent, but don’t make it out. I feel like this is my chance to speak and play for the ones who don’t get that opportunity.”
How Did the Patriots Support Thornton?
It was very difficult for Thornton to play that day. After the immediate aftermath of the call he received he was urged to play as his friend would have wanted.
The rookie credited his teammates and coaches for how they supported him during the difficult time.
“I feel like the coaches and my teammates opened up their arms, listened to me, and tried their best to keep a smile on my face,” Thornton said. “I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job handling it, but I’m still mourning to this day.”
What Causes Will Other Patriots Players Support?
Thornton is far from the only player in New England who will be wearing custom cleats with a message.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones decided to support Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
“Helping younger people is what my passion is, whether they like sports or not, to help them reach their dreams,” Jones said this offseason, while visiting the Metro South Club in Brockton in March.
“There’s a lot of good kids here that need guidance, but that’s all they really need,” Jones added. “They have good hearts. Just talking with them today, meeting some of them, it is really cool to see all of them playing together and competing, having fun.”
Running back Damien Harris also has some special cleats for Week 13 even though he was ruled out of the game against the Buffalo Bills. Harris will be supporting Planned Parenthood with his custom cleats.
Fellow running back Rhamondre Stevenson is supporting the One Mindset Foundation which highlights your mentorship. Stevenson’s college teammate Chanse Sylvie founded the organization.
“As a kid, I didn’t really have any guidance,” Stevenson said. “I knew my grades had to be good, things like that, but I didn’t have anybody in my ear telling me that constantly. That’s kind of what (Sylvie) does – just keeps kids on the right path. He teaches them everything about college, getting in, and just how to better their lives.”