Week 14 in the NFL adds an extra layer of importance for many players across the league.
Hundreds of players will be participating in the league’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign where guys get to wear kicks dedicated to an initiative they’re passionate about. The shoes all feature unique designs that reflect each player’s cause. You can see all 29 shoes/cleats that members of the Seahawks organization will be wearing on Sunday in Los Angeles when Seattle takes on the Rams.
Geno Smith had his cleats sitting in his locker on Thursday afternoon: shades of pink and green with the words “Parenting with a Purpose Life Center.”
Seattle’s backup QB revealed that his mother, Tracey Sellers, started the center in Miami more than a decade ago. She works with Geno's grandmother, Joann Smith, and a team of others who collectively make a profound impact in the community.
“She started it when I was in high school,” Smith explained. “She helps out all the young parents in the community – single mothers and fathers. She helps them get jobs. She helps them if they need to find shelter. She does everything from providing diapers and baby food to actually taking people to job interviews.”
Tracey had Geno when she was 17 years old and was able to overcome the challenges and obstacles of being a young single parent. In addition to her center, she does real estate and private contracts.
“There’s nothing that she doesn’t do, honestly,” Smith said.
Smith means that quite literally. His mom is his financial advisor and his assistant. It’s been that way ever since he was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.
Now into his seventh NFL season, she still invests in him daily and makes sure she’s always there for him and his growing family.
“It’s extremely cool,” Smith said. “I’m a father now, and I realize truly how much time and effort was sacrificed into getting me to this point – raising me the right way and instilling a good foundation in me. I love my mom to death for that. I can’t thank her enough. She’s my idol.”
Being a good parent is intuitive to Smith given the example his mother set for him growing up. However, she’s always there to remind him of what’s most important.
“The main thing is investing time into my kids,” he said. “It’s hard with being at work, but every second that I get, every minute that I get, I’m on the phone with them or I’m with them. You can never replace that.”
Smith estimated that the Parenting with a Purpose Life Center assists up to 100 single parents at a time and has served well over a thousand helped since its inception. You can go here to learn more about the center.