The stories behind some of Panthers' 'My Cause, My Cleats' designs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers cornerback Daryl Worley went to one of the darkest moments of his life when coming up with a message to wear on his cleats for Sunday's game at New Orleans.

The message -- "Cease Fire PA" -- has the image of a red hand holding a gun and another red hand with the index finger in the barrel.

It is a message to stop the senseless violence that took the life of Worley's cousin when Worley was a sophomore at William Penn Charter High School in Philadelphia.

"It was a dark place in my life," Worley said as he explained why he chose this for the NFL's "My Clause, My Cleats" initiative. "It's not something I like to think back on, but if I can express it and make a change to avoid it in anyone else's life, that's something I'll always do."

Worley's message is one of many that made an impact on Ryan Bare, the unofficial cleat designer for the Panthers, as he prepared between 40 and 50 pairs of cleats for this weekend.

Before he begins the tedious task of customizing the cleats, Bare first hears the stories that inspire the image. Worley said losing the life of his cousin, as well as other family members and friends, made his decision easy.

"That's something I'm passionate about," Worley said. "Honestly, when things like that happen, most of the time it is senseless violence, and that's what that was.

"Everyone has a reason for why they're doing it, whether it's a foundation or a cause. It affects someone in some way."

Worley's story is one of many that will be shared on cleats across the NFL this weekend.

Here are a few more from the Panthers:

  • Safety Kurt Coleman: Along with his wife Laura and their three children, Coleman visited Levine Children's Hospital in November and asked patients to draw pictures of their favorite superheroes and then had Bare transfer them onto cleats. "My father is a cancer survivor," Coleman said. "Helping not only patients but also their families became very important to me after experiencing firsthand the hardships everyone goes through."

  • Linebacker David Mayo: He went with a Salute to Service theme to honor his brothers, Specialist Jordan Mayo and Captain Justus Mayo, who have served tours in Afghanistan and remain in active duty. He will have the name of each brother on a cleat and present them to his brothers later as a gift. "I want to show them and the troops all over how appreciative I am," Mayo said. "Every time they play the national anthem I'm so thankful for what I do for a living."

  • Running back Christian McCaffrey: His cleats are a tribute to a mission trip he made to Rwanda while in high school. McCaffrey said the cause empowers him to "continue to serve the people of Rwanda, especially as they are continuing to better their nation after the 1994 genocide, and tell all my loved ones in Rwanda know I'm playing for them."

  • Running back Jonathan Stewart: His platform is "Inspire the Fire," an after-school arts program in Charlotte, North Carolina. They will be auctioned off at an event on Dec. 11 to benefit the organization.

  • Defensive end Julius Peppers: His cleats bring light to the "Light on the Hill Society Scholarship," which provides tuition assistance for African-American students at the University of North Carolina.

  • Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn: His cleats represent his foundation that helps premature babies. "I was a premature kid," Munnerlyn said. "They definitely have a special place in my heart. I just got to go out there and let the kids know anything is possible. I was 3 pounds and could fit in a shoe box. Look at me now."

The list goes on and on.

"It's been busy the last month or so," said Bare, who owns Sneaker Replay Customs in nearby Denver, North Carolina. "But it's definitely been worth it to do the work for the guys and learn more about their causes and foundations."