Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith just back from a foot infection will take off his cleats Sunday and walk barefoot to the locker room at Raymond James Stadium to raise awareness for a charitable group.
Smith will leave his cleats at midfield after the game against Tampa Bay in continuing his work with Samaritans Feet, a Charlotte-based organization that provides footwear for impoverished children around the world.
Smith is attempting to raise enough money to buy 500,000 pairs of shoes for the organization. Smith and Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams also have taken part in shoe giveaways, where they washed the feet of needy children.
Smith, who participated in a Samaritans Feet event in Peru this summer, plans to give away shoes during many of the Panthers eight road trips, beginning Saturday in Clearwater, Fla.
This isnt a publicity stunt to bring attention to myself. I have seen the hurt and the need firsthand in LA, Charlotte, Peru, Dominican Republic, Memphis and several other places, Smith said in a release. People in our own country are wearing shoes 3 and 4 sizes too small or their shoes have lost all integrity.
The timing of Smiths barefoot gesture is interesting, and presumably coincidental. Smith missed the last two weeks of preseason practice with a foot infection that caused his left foot to become swollen.
Smith couldnt wear a shoe on the infected foot until last Friday. Now hell be taking them off.