CHICAGO (WJZ) — When Chicago Bears linebacker Josh Woods steps onto the field at Soldier Field on Thursday night, fans will see something a little different about his uniform — his cleats.
Woods, a Maryland native, is one of numerous NFL players taking part in the “My Cause, My Cleats” effort to raise awareness about various causes close to the players’ hearts.
Written on Woods’ shoe is the number 79, a nod to his former teammate from the University of Maryland Jordan McNair.
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McNair, 19, then a sophomore offensive lineman at Maryland, collapsing during practice in College Park on May 29, 2018. He died from heatstroke 15 days later.
“On my cleats, I chose to pay homage to my late teammate and friend, Jordan McNair. I wanted to make sure Jordan got a chance to live out his dream and play in an NFL game!” Woods wrote on Twitter prior to the Bears’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Today is our #MyCauseMyCleats game! On my cleats, I chose to pay homage to my late teammate and friend, Jordan McNair. I wanted to make sure Jordan got a chance to live out his dream and play in an NFL game! pic.twitter.com/4A79DRz25o
— Josh Woods (@allhail_JWoods) December 5, 2019
McNair’s family has since started a foundation to raise awareness about heat-related illness and death in sports.
His death led to changes at the statehouse and on campus, including the suspension of head coach DJ Durkin.