Patriotic gestures by Lance Briggs
Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs intends to wear gloves and cleats in the colors of the United States flag on Sept. 11 against the Atlanta Falcons, and he won't be fined for violating uniform policy.
"Reebok great job on these gloves and shoes..looks like I'm getting fined this week. Lol!" Briggs tweeted Thursday. "By far the best fine I will ever have to pay. Thanks"
But the NFL told team equipment managers on Friday morning that players may wear special shoes and gloves made by NFL licensees -- including Reebok -- for Week 1 games.
All NFL players Sunday will have a patch on their jerseys featuring a ribbon with stars and stripes along with the dates "9/11/01" and "9/11/11." Coaches, personnel and staff will have pins featuring a similar ribbon.
The NFL is believed to have the most extensive dress-code rules among the four major sports and does not take uniform violations lightly.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league does not "anticipate any issues."
"We have extensive plans for Sunday to respectfully recognize the significance of the day," Aiello said in an email. "Lance Briggs and all players will participate."
Coach Lovie Smith said he has no problem with Briggs defying the NFL dress code in this instance.
"I mean, we're going to do an awful lot before the game as an organization -- the NFL as a league -- to honor the victims," Smith said. "But you know, if they (the NFL) say it's OK and the guys are good with it, of course we're all for it, too."
Like Briggs, Charles posted a picture online. It showed an all-red bottom surface around the cleats beneath a white shoe with large blue stripes wrapped around it and white stars along the heel. The back of the glove is all red, with the words, "Never forget," circled around the date, Sept. 11, 2001. The palm of the glove is blue, with white stars.
"I never forget," Charles tweeted.
Charles and Briggs will have some company Sunday.
Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, a five-time Pro Bowler, showed up at Friday's practice with a stars-and-stripes design on his gloves and shoes. He plans to wear the same accessories Sunday at Houston. Wayne's teammate and friend, Pro Bowl safety Antoine Bethea, is expected to don the same attire.
Shortly before the league announced its policy change, Wayne told reporters it would be the "best fine" he ever paid and that he expected the league to alter the policy within 24 hours.
He was right.
Wayne went on to explain why he felt so strongly about wearing the stars-and-stripes during Sunday's game.
"Think about it man. That's an important time in our life. A lot of people lost plenty of loved ones," he said. "It's in history. Your grandchildren and children after that, they will be hearing about that. It's definitely a time where it needs to be recognized, and that's a way for guys to put their two cents in.
"I'm going to wear it, and wear it proudly."
Two seasons ago, receiver Chad Ochocinco, then with the Cincinnati Bengals, was fined $10,000 for wearing the wrong color chin strap during a game. Before that, the NFL threatened to fine Colts quarterback Peyton Manning a reported $25,000 if he followed through on his wish to wear black hightops in tribute to late Baltimore quarterback Johnny Unitas.
Briggs has been an oft-mentioned topic during Bears camp because of his unhappiness with his current contract and subsequent demand for a trade. General manager Jerry Angelo said he will not shop the six-time Pro Bowl performer.
Paul Lukas of ESPN.com's Page 2 compiled a sampling of other related gestures that are planned:
Briggs' gloves and cleats also are designed by Reebok.
• Major League Baseball teams will wear American flag patches on their caps Sunday.
• In college football, Tulsa will be going with a star-spangled helmet script Saturday.
• Boston College will have red bandanna helmet stickers, to honor former BC athlete Welles Crowther, who saved a number of lives during the attacks on the World Trade Center.
• Arkansas will have a red, white, and blue mid-field logo.
• Samford will have a dual helmet tribute, for 9/11 and for Alabama's tornado victims.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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