Cleveland Browns Star Baker Mayfield Honors Military Member Killed in Afghanistan Before Game

by Matthew Memrick

Cleveland Browns star quarterback Baker Mayfield honored a fallen U.S. service member in pre-game warmups on Sunday in a fitting tribute.

Mayfield wore special cleats showing 22-year-old Maxton Soviak before the Browns-Houston Texans game, according to Fox News. Cleveland beat Houston, 31-21, and Mayfield suffered an injured shoulder during a play. 

Mayfield toughed it out, however. He stayed in the game and threw for 213 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception for the Cleveland Browns.

Special Cleats Honor Marine

Soviak was a Navy corpsman and was one of 13 service members killed in Kabul last month. 

The Ohio native from Berlin Heights enlisted in 2017 and graduated from Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. In September of last year, the Navy assigned Soviak to the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

Sols by Sir artist Marcus Rivero, who has worked with pros on the cleats and shoes for about a decade, designed the shoes. The company has worked with several pro athletes, including former pro running back Marshawn Lynch and baseball star Zach Cosart. 

Lynch famously wore Rivero’s gold cleats for a 2017 game and was fined by the league. NFL players cannot wear specialized cleats during games.

The Navy also released a statement, bringing to light Soviak’s duty in his service.

“He was excited about the opportunities the Navy would offer him and planned to make the Navy a career,” the statement said. “We are incredibly proud of his service to our country.”

The Navy said Soviak was “a wonderful son who loved his family, his community, and was proud to serve in the U.S. Navy.”

A History With Military Honors

The quarterback has made connections with the military since starting his pro career in 2018.

Back in August, he thanked veterans and active military who came to a Cleveland Browns practice. The Cleveland Plain Dealer caught Mayfield in his short presentation during an Aug. 17 practice.

“Thank you so much for allowing us to go play this game that we love,” he said. “We appreciate you guys more than you know.”

In 2019, the team sold special Mayfield Salute-To-Service football jerseys with the proceeds going to help America’s warriors. Other team uniforms were also available in the uniform tribute.

The newspaper said the Fanatics collection went to “a group of charities the NFL has selected that help military personnel and veterans. The league has donated $10 million to military nonprofits since 2011.

The team has also worked with the USO of Northern Ohio. One of its projects is sending care packages to the active military overseas.

Sunday’s win helped Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns go to 1-1 on the season. The team hosts the Chicago Bears next week in an early NFL matchup.