You don't have to be a Bills fan, to know that Josh Allen is truly special.
A respected leader in Buffalo's locker room, and an emerging talent in the NFL, Allen has showcased far more than just his football skills in his two short seasons in the league. Shining as bright as the young quarterback's talent on the field, is his genuine desire to make a difference off it. Most recently, Allen's commitment to the community was put on display through his participation in the NFL's "My Cause My Cleats" campaign.
A program that began in 2016, "My Cause My Cleats" gives athletes an opportunity to raise awareness for the initiatives that are closest to their hearts by allowing them to customize their game day footwear. For Allen, deciding what to highlight on his cleats was simple. After choosing to celebrate his relationship with John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, the quarterback paid a visit to the facility on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
This wasn't an ordinary visit, however. With help from two local teens, who both received care at the hospital, the look for Allen's cleats was brought to life.
"Absolutely, [my work with the hospital inspired the cleats] and I had a couple of kids, Charlie and Clayton, come out and they designed the pair for me," said Allen. "They're kids that had spinal and brain injuries, but they're fully recovered now. It was pretty cool to be sitting in there and hear their stories and for them to go and design these cleats. The colors represent spinal and brain injuries, trauma injuries. They've got the ribbons on there and they both signed it. So, it means a lot to me."
During his time with the Bills, Allen has teamed up with John R. Oishei Children's Hospital to give back to patients in need. One of the ways he's done so, is by reaching the end zone. For each touchdown the second-year signal caller throws or scores himself this season, he'll donate $200 to the hospital. A singular example of how he's using his platform to assist others, Allen has made it clear that he intends to do as much as he can.
"Growing up, and being a sports fan, an avid sports fan, and looking up to athletes that are in my position now, I remember being a kid and just wanting to talk to them, wanting to see them and wanting them to make a positive impact," he explained. "That's really all I'm trying to do. I understand what situation, what position I'm in and if I can be a role model to anybody and try and be a good person and do the right things off the field, that's really all I want. The football and play will take care of itself but off the field is who you really are, and I try to be the best I can be there."
Passionate about the cause, Allen views the cleats as another chance to share his support.
The powerful design features several intricate details that when put together, form more than just a unique set of shoes – they tell a story. The vibrant greens and yellows symbolize the injuries the boys endured, as well as their perseverance during recovery. Additional elements, like a silhouette of Allen's popular hurdle from last season, a charging buffalo, the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital logo and autographs from Charlie and Clayton, are also incorporated on the set.
When the Bills take the field against the Ravens in Week 14, Buffalo Bills players and staff members will be wearing cleats and shoes to bring awareness and support to causes and organizations that are important to them as part of the NFL's "My Cause My Cleats" initiative. Scroll through to view photos of some of the cleats that will be worn during the game.
Impressed by the final product, Allen credited the boys for their creativity.
"I was in there and I'm not artistic at all. Trust me, I tried," said Allen with a chuckle. "They gave us blank pictures and I tried to draw and that's not me, but I gave some insight like what would look cool. They took everything from the colors to the design…and it was definitely a cool experience to design cleats with these two kids."
Allen, who was moved by the experience, is ecstatic for the chance to wear the cleats on Sunday as he takes the field against the Ravens.
"I hope I wear them with pride and understand they know that I'm playing because of them, playing for them and appreciate them helping out," he said.