NFL news of September 14, 2002

The NFL denied a request from Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to wear black hightop shoes for Sunday’s game against Miami.

Manning made the request to honor former Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas, who died of a heart attack Wednesday in Baltimore at the age of 69. Unitas wore hightop black shoes throughout his NFL career.

The league said in a statement Friday that no team other than the Ravens will be allowed to wear a patch or armband on their uniforms during Sunday’s games to honor Unitas.

Teams throughout the league will hold a moment of silence before kickoff.

League spokesman Steve Alic said a similar situation arose in 1999, when former Bears running back Walter Payton died of a liver ailment. Several players, including Rams running back Marshall Faulk, wanted to change jersey numbers to Payton’s 34 to honor the NFL’s career rushing leader. But only the Bears were allowed to wear patches or armbands.

— The St. Petersburg Times “Manning’s tribute to Unitas banned”

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