For every single team playing an NFL game, Week 13 was a chance to celebrate a cause close to the hearts of players via custom cleats. For the Titans and Browns, it nearly wasn't.
Paul Kuharsky of ESPN reported Monday afternoon the NFL wasn't going to allow players from Tennessee or Cleveland wear custom cleats in Week 14 after being on a bye for Week 13. However, Kuharsky also reports the league has changed course and will let Browns and Titans players sport custom cleats in Week 14.
"We have spoken to both the Titans and Browns," a league spokesperson told Kuharsky. "Players from the two teams on a bye last week can participate in My Cause/My Cleats in Week 14."
The league made a huge deal out of players engaging in charitable behavior during Week 13. As they should have -- it was an opportunity to raise awareness for good causes. Devin McCourty of the Patriots wore shoes representing his charity, Tackle Sickle Cell, which he and his twin brother, Jason McCourty of the Titans, started.
Jason was going to wear his cleats anyway, even though he originally wasn't going to be cleared to sport them.
"I believe you should be [allowed], so I'll be wearing mine for the game," Jason told Kuharsky. "... There are a lot of things I guess they should or shouldn't do. It's just one of those things where it is what it is. I guess at some point there were going to be two teams at any given week that wouldn't be playing, so you kind of get screwed in that sense. That just happened to be us."
Additionally, tight end Delanie Walker, an enthusiastic support of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was going to wear his M.A.D.D./Delanie Walker Gives Back cleats anyway.
This was a no-brainer move for the NFL. It spent all week promoting players who did good things in the name of charity. Had the league stonewalled two teams who couldn't wear the cleats because of a schedule handed to them from the league office, it would have been the most tone deaf thing we've ever seen the NFL do (well, maybe).
Instead, the Titans and Browns will be wearing charitable cleats in Week 14. Maybe next year the league can schedule My Cleats, My Cause on a week where everyone is actually playing.