We didn't get to know cornerback Tray Walker very well, but Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman did. They were inseparable as rookies, bound together by shared pasts: Their parents grew up together in South Florida's Liberty City. They might even be distantly related.
"I won't lie, he got me through some hard days," Perriman told BaltimoreRavens.com after Walker died in March following a dirt-bike accident. "It was difficult. If he hadn't been there, I would have gone crazy. He was basically the only one – or one of the only ones – who knew everything about my situation. He was the one person I could come to and tell everything about how I was feeling."
In the weeks since Walker's passing, Perriman's social media has become a steady stream of tributes to his friend. Among the hashtags: #longlivetray, #RIPTW25, #LLTW25. Over the past several days, Perriman's appreciation for Walker became permanently inscribed on a pair of cleats.
But will Perriman actually be able to wear the cleats next season? Here's the NFL's footwear policy: "Shoes must be of standard football design, including 'sneaker' type shoes such as basketball shoes, cross-training shoes, etc. League-approved tri-colored shoes are permitted with black, white, and one team color. Each team must select a dominant color for its shoes, either black or white (with shoelace color conforming to the dominant color of the tongue area of the manufacturer's shoe). ... A player may wear an unapproved standard football shoe style as long as the player tapes over the entire shoe to conform to his team's selected dominant color. Logos, names, or other commercial identification on shoes are not permitted to be visible unless advance approval is granted by the League office."
Maybe we'll see the cleats only in pregame, a la Cam Newton's Superman kicks. An Under Armour official told the New York Times in 2013 that the NFL allows players to wear different cleats up to 90 minutes before kickoff.