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Quote Roundup: 49ers Players Share the Stories Behind Their Cleats

This Sunday, San Francisco 49ers players and coaches are set to showcase their passions beyond the game through personalized footwear. Over 40 team members are participating in the NFL's 2023 My Cause My Cleats campaign and will be representing a diverse array of nonprofits.

The My Cause My Cleats initiative provides a platform for athletes to share their personal stories and how they are deeply connected to causes that matter to them. The campaign not only raises awareness, but also emphasizes the diverse and impactful ways that NFL players contribute to their communities.

A few 49ers players shared why they're choosing to represent their causes, here's what they had to say:

DL Drake Jackson  
**[95 Problems Foundation](**

Drake Jackson – 95 Problems Foundation

"It's a foundation to give back to people who don't have. That's it. Where I came from, I didn't really have as much, now I do and I can give back to the people who don't. It leans mostly towards athletes because I'm an athlete and that's all I did when I was a kid.

"Highlighting my cause is a big thing because a lot of people are going to see this, and maybe if somebody sees this they can go out and try to help somebody and it just keeps moving forward that way."

DL Arik Armstead  
**[Armstead Academic Project](**

Arik Armstead – Armstead Academic Project

"The Armstead Academic Project is an organization my wife and I founded in 2019 and we work with youth to support in their education to combat education inequity in our country. It's been amazing to see where we started and how we continue to progress.

"As a youth, I struggled with my education and I realized the importance of it later in my adulthood. I truly see that without an environment of support and community, it's impossible for us to expect kids to be successful on their own. I want to have an impact on my community and I wanted to support youth in their education because I feel it's one of the biggest issues in our country and in our society. I want to help kids have the spaces and tools they need to be successful."

OL Jake Brendel  
**[Living for Zachary](**

Jake Brendel – Living for Zachary

"Their goal is to end sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death in student athletes. I'm actually very close to Zachary's family. He was a teammate of mine in high school and we unfortunately lost him to sudden cardiac arrest back in high school.

"It's just a great cause. They donate a bunch of AEDs to local sports facilities and schools and they also donate a scholarship to an aspiring doctor every single year. My cause my cleats is a great platform for us, I know for a lot of guys when they take the helmet off they're kind of away from football, but I think this is a great way for us to bring our personal lives into our job and use our platform to hopefully spread something good."

K Jake Moody  

Jake Moody – TUFF

"TUFF is The Uniform Funding Foundation, what they do is for underserved youth, they get them football equipment that they need to be able to play the sport. I've personally been able to go to some events and help donate some stuff, so I thought I'd give my support where I can.

"Some of my former teammates from Michigan started the foundation. I've helped out a couple times, got to go to some events, volunteer and it's pretty cool seeing the kids get the jerseys, the smile on their faces, just being able to play the sport that we all share. I just wanted to help out as much as I could and be able to give kids everywhere that same opportunity to get really cool gear. It's a pretty good thing that they started."

CB Charvarius Ward  
**[Football Camp for the Stars](**

Charvarius Ward – Football Camp for the Stars

"Football Camp for the Stars is a foundation that supports children with Down Syndrome. My daughter, she has Down Syndrome, and I just want to let all the parents know with kids that have Down Syndrome, there's no reason to be scared, afraid or sad about it. Your child is still beautiful; they're joyful, goofy, funny kids. My baby, she's been excelling at everything she does. She's one year old now and we just threw an amazing birthday party for her, she had fun at that. She was dancing, sitting up on her own, eating her cake, she's starting to pull up on things now. If your kid has Down Syndrome, it's a blessing – It's not a curse, it's definitely a blessing.

"A lot of people in the world look up to NFL athletes, so it's just good to show support to the people that are dealing with the same things that we're dealing with. We're normal people, even though we're on TV every Sunday. It's definitely a big deal that we can support these organizations."

TE George Kittle  
**[Operation Freedom Paws](**

George Kittle – Operation Freedom Paws

"Operation Freedom Paws takes dogs and helps train them so they can be service animals and pairs them up with veterans, so veterans can have a dog that helps them go through their time after serving. It's an awesome organization. I've got to meet a bunch of the dogs, got to meet a bunch of the veterans and it's just really fun to be able to help them out because dogs and the military are groups that I like to work with. My parents do a lot of work with Operation Freedom Paws. My podcast the "Hidden Pearls Podcast" with my dad and my sister, we do a lot of work with them.

"They're great people that run the whole thing. The fact that we can help them out a little bit, more opportunities for them to train more dogs and help out more vets just seems like a great idea overall. One of the biggest parts about My Cause My Cleats is it shows that players are people too. There's things that affect us off the field. There's great causes that every single player supports, there's just so many things out there that need support and attention, so it's awesome that the NFL highlights them."

OL Spencer Burford  
**[Mercy Housing](**

Spencer Burford – Mercy Housing

"This Sunday I'll be supporting Mercy Housing and I chose Mercy Housing because the poverty level in California is pretty big and a lot of people are dealing with homelessness. Especially around the holidays, this could be hard on people, not just physically, but mentally also. Mercy Housing, their whole goal is making sure that everybody has affordable living, making sure everybody's circumstances are where they can prosper and reach their full potential, and so that's why I chose Mercy Housing.

"In doing my research, I learned about everything they're doing and how much of an impact they make in California. The importance for me to share my love for this charity is because nobody wants to go through these trials, especially this time of the year, nobody wants to spend it in poverty. For Mercy Housing to have this accessible and available to all people, I feel like it does a tremendous amount of help, not only to the community, but to people's lives in general. Whether that be developing them as a person or being able to put their family in a home for a better situation to where they can better their kid's lives, and their life could be better than what yours was. That was the biggest thing for me."

Fans may bid on select game-issued player cleats via the 2023 NFL My Cause My Cleats Auction to help players raise funds for their chosen causes. Read more about the 49ers 2023 My Cause My Cleats campaign by visiting

See which causes the 49ers are supporting with their one-of-a-kind cleats in this season's "My Cause My Cleats" campaign presented by Shoe Palace.