Cornerback Dontae Johnson and his 49ers’ teammates will wear their passions on their feet on Sunday.
For Johnson, it’s the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto and one patient in particular, Cameron Harris, a 2-year-old who recently had a heart transplant. As part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” initiative, Johnson will wear yellow cleats with a “Lion King” theme – it’s Harris’ favorite movie – when the 49ers visit the Bears.
“The lion is surrounded by a heart,” Johnson said. “The color scheme itself is a fade of the sunset from the ‘Lion King’. That’s the theme.”
The shoes worn by most of the NFL players will be auctioned off after this weekend’s games with the proceeds going to the players’ causes.
Among the 49ers’ creative footwear on Sunday:
▪ Running back Carlos Hyde is highlighting the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. His aqua-colored cleats include an image of his French bulldog, Max.
▪ Safety Eric Reid’s cleats are dedicated to former teammate Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights campaign and feature the quarterback’s jersey number, No. 7.
▪ Tight end George Kittle will wear red, white and blue United Service Organizations cleats, which he said are dedicated to service members like his uncle.
▪ Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas’ cleats are adorned with “a, b, c” and “1, 2, 3” and represent Ten Books a Home, a nonprofit in East Palo Alto that promotes early childhood learning.
▪ Kicker Robbie Gould will wear striking light blue cleats in recognition of the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Gould spent his first 11 NFL seasons with the Bears.
▪ Punter Bradley Pinion’s cleats highlight Convoy of Hope, which helps feed the poor and brings relief following natural disasters.
Johnson met Harris and his family through his fiancée, Kayla Bergado, who was volunteering at the hospital. She introduced Johnson to them early last year. He said that Harris has been in and out of hospitals since he was born.
“She had a real connection with him from working there and being with him regularly,” he said. “The stories I would hear from her – we just naturally gravitated toward that family and have been helping him ever since. It’s been a great relationship.”
49ers injuries – Both starting right tackle Trent Brown (shoulder) and starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle) will be game-time decisions Sunday against the Chicago Bears, coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday.
Brown sat out the most recent game against the Seahawks after injuring his shoulder in a Thanksgiving Day practice. He practiced lightly this week and was held out of contact situations. If he can’t play, Zane Beadles is his likely replacement at right tackle.
Witherspoon, meanwhile, injured his ankle Wednesday while competing for a ball in the air. He did not practice Thursday and was a limited participant on Friday. Witherspoon is expected to play, but if there’s a setback either Leon Hall or Greg Mabin would fill in at the position.
Another game-time decision, Shanahan said, is free safety Adrian Colbert, who is returning from a broken thumb. Shanahan had hinted that the next game, against the Houston Texans, might be when Colbert returns to the lineup but held out the possibility he could play in Chicago.
“The longer it heals the better,” Shanahan said. “I know he’s really close. ... If he feels good and is ready to go, he’ll go.”
The 49ers do not list quarterback C.J. Beathard on their injury report. That means he will serve as Jimmy Garoppolo’s backup against the Bears.
Everything’s fine – Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett wasn’t fined for his hit Sunday on Beathard that led to the quarterback leaving the game. Reid, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness, also wasn’t fined.
Matt Barrows breaks down how three San Francisco 49ers offensive players might fare with Jimmy Garoppolo starting at quarterback over C.J. Beathard. Beathard was forced out of last Sunday's game against Seattle. The game against the Chicago Bears