Lee, a three-time Pro Bowler who wore No. 4 for 11 seasons in San Francisco, will wear No. 8 for Cleveland. He spoke to the team's website about the decision.
Madeline, born on January 27, lived just eight days before dying of post-birth complications. She swallowed fluid during a C-section and struggled to breathe. She was immediately given a breathing tube and placed in intensive care, but came down with an infection on the fifth day and was unable to recover.
“I think sometimes, not necessarily by me and my wife, her life can get overlooked," Lee told Browns.com. "She was here, she was a person but nobody got to meet her, nobody got to see her,” Lee said. “She was really alive and really a person. It's a way to honor her and kind of just give her some glory she deserves.”
The trade to Cleveland has brought Lee closer to his wife and two sons (aged five and three years old), who live in his hometown of Charlotte. He says that despite Madeline's "horrible situation," there have been blessings that came out of it.
“It's just kind of changed the mindset of, say, your son's outside and you don't feel like getting up and throwing the ball with him because you’re tired," Lee said. "Well, get your butt up and go out there and do it because who knows?” Lee said. “You give everything you can to them because it shows that sometimes you don't know if something is going to happen."
- Jeremy Woo