PHILADELPHIA - It was this past summer, on June 4, when the Eagles joined the Wear Orange movement to help bring awareness to gun violence and commemorate survivors and victims of it.
That hit home to Eagles kicker Jake Elliott.
“We’ve had initiatives through here, so I’ve been able to learn a little bit about it, and just with the gun laws the way they are now, I feel like there’s so much that’s unnecessary,” said Elliott following Friday’s practice as the Eagles prepare to host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday (1 p.m./FOX).
“I’m not antigun or anything like that, but I think it kind of brings in common sense laws. It’s a group assembled by a lot of different people who’ve been affected by it.”
Observed every year in June, Wear Orange is a national campaign that honors lives cut short and hundreds more wounded by gun violence every year.
Elliott is one of five Eagles who have chosen Gun Violence Prevention as their cause for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats program and will wear cleats making that known on Sunday.
Three of those, including Elliott, will recognize their charity associated with, Everytown for Gun Safety.
The two others are linebacker Shaun Bradley and edge rusher Haason Reddick.
“I know it’s impossible to move the guns off the street in Philly and this area, but at least spread awareness to it, especially for kids at a younger age, and letting them know there’s another way out,” said Bradley. “This is good for this area because it’s bad out there.”
The other two players supporting Gun Violence Prevention are running back Miles Sanders and WR A.J. Brown. Their charity is Open Door Abuse & Prevention.
“I’m from the area,” said Bradley, who grew up in Mount Holly, N.J. “I’m from New Jersey, went to school at Temple in North Philly, so I’ve seen it. I’ve been through traumas. I’ve lost friends. This just hit home for me. …This is big for me, gun violence as a whole.”
Reddick also played at Temple after growing up in Camden.
Sanders is from Western Pennsylvania and Brown is from Starkville, Mississippi.
Elliott is from La Grange, Ill.
Five different players from five different backgrounds unite for a common cause to affect change – that is one of the points of the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats program which was started seven years ago.
“I think obviously being in Philly and just seeing the amount of crime that’s gone up and all resulting in gun violence, that’s touched us,” said Elliott. “I kind of engulfed myself in this community.
“It’s cool to obviously play for this city, but I’ve been fortunate to be here for a few years now so I’ve been part of it for a long time, so I’ve seen how it’s affected so many parts of this city - North Philly, West Philly.
"Our community relations here does a great job getting us out in those areas like when we do the playground build and seeing those communities and how they touch those communities. I feel this is a good cause that sort of touches all those communities.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.