TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander is paying homage to ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, who will be inducted into the Buccaneer Ring of Honor at halftime when the Bucs play the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football this week with his cleats.
Alexander had special cleats made with Gruden’s face on them, commemorating Gruden leading the Bucs to a 48-21 win over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002 — the franchise’s first and only Super Bowl title.
“I have a lot of respect for the history of this game and appreciate the opportunity to represent this franchise,” Alexander told ESPN. “I wanted to honor Coach Gruden and all the former players who will be there Monday night that brought this organization and this city a Super Bowl championship.”
Gruden will become just the second coach inducted into the Bucs’ ring of honor, joining the late John McKay, who was the franchise’s first-ever head coach.
The cleats were created by Tampa artist Jason Hulfish, who used both hand-painting and airbrushing for the design.
“He just asked for some special cleats for the Monday Night Football game and it just made sense that we did Gruden and the ring of honor,” Hulfish said. “We had some fun with the Chucky character.”
“Gruden is the ultimate football cleat character, combined with Chucky,” Hulfish said. “Kwon loved it!”
Hulfish’s artwork has also appeared on cleats for defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, wide receiver Mike Evans, left tackle Donovan Smith, defensive tackle Chris Baker. He also recently created cleats for Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith and New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum.