Bears players participating in NFL Heritage Program
Cairo Santos is proud to be the first Brazilian-born player to play in the NFL. This weekend, he will have another opportunity to showcase this achievement.
Santos will wear a sticker of the Brazilian flag on his helmet when the Bears play against the Los Angeles Chargers. He also wore it during last weekend's home game against the Raiders.
It's a program in the NFL called the Heritage Program. It celebrates the cultural backgrounds of players and coaches in the league.
In Weeks 7 and 8, players wear flags on their helmets and coaches have patches on their jackets. Over 330 players and coaches are participating in the program across the league.
Participants can choose to wear the flag of a country or territory where their relatives were born or where they've lived for more than two years.
Santos, who was born and raised in Brazil, is excited to wear the Brazilian flag on his helmet.
He became interested in American football when he went to Florida as a high school exchange student at the age of 15 and eventually earned a scholarship to Tulane University.
Santos feels honored to have the Brazilian flag on his helmet, as it makes him feel like Brazil is with him in the NFL.
Punter Trenton Gill, whose dad is from England and mom is from Canada, wears two stickers on his helmet. His dad moved to Canada at a young age and met Gill's mom while they were studying at Lambton College in Ontario.
Gill still has relatives in both countries and proudly wears their flags on his helmet to honor them. Gill feels that playing for his relatives is a special way of showing his appreciation for their influence in his life.
Other players on the Bears team also wear flag stickers on their helmets to honor their heritage. These players include DJ Moore, whose father is from Jamaica, and Yannick Ngakoue, whose heritage is from Martinique.
Receiver Velus Jones Jr., who has ancestors from the Netherlands, also proudly represents his heritage. All of these players feel a deep connection to their respective countries and are proud to showcase that on the football field.