By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Editor’s Note: The 7th paragraph was recast on Dec. 7, 2016, to correct the NFL players who wore AHA-related cleats.

Daren Bates of the Oakland Raiders, whose mother was a heart transplant recipient, is one of eight NFL players paying tribute to the AHA this weekend.

When Daren Bates of the Oakland Raiders had the chance to design special shoes for the National Football League’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign this week, the choice was clear.

His mother, Weslyn Bates, a heart transplant recipient, died last year. His specially designed red cleats feature the words American Heart Association and its logo, a torch superimposed over a heart.

“You all helped my mother live some wonderful years after her transplant,” Bates tweeted this week. “How could I not??!!”

Bates, a linebacker and special teams star for the Raiders, is one of eight NFL players paying tribute to the AHA this weekend as the league uses special shoes to highlight causes near and dear to its athletes.

As part of the special promotion on Week 13 of the season, game broadcasts and other media will showcase the unique, colorful cleats that players designed with Nike, Under Armour and adidas and will wear during the games.

Many players plan to auction the shoes after their games to raise money for their causes. The shoes will be available at the official NFL Auction site, www.nflauction.nfl.com.

Other players featuring American Heart Association-related cleats are:

  • Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver
  • Braxton Miller, Houston Texans wide receiver
  • Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders running back
  • Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills nose tackle
  • Josh Ferguson, Indianapolis Colts running back

“Honoring @#American Heart this Sunday” tweeted Miller, whose red cleats also sport the AHA logo. “We need to keep the (heart symbol) CHARG1NG!”

Two of the players are paying tribute to their fathers. Diggs’ cleats proclaim ARON, who died of congestive heart failure eight years ago, while Cooks, whose father died of a heart attack when he was only 6, emblazoned AHA’s motto on his cleats in big black letters: “Life is Why.”