Browns punter Andy Lee changing numbers to honor late daughter
Andy Lee was traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the Cleveland Browns last week after spending 11 seasons in the Bay Area. Lee, who has been one of the best punters of the last decade and a three-time All-Pro, will look different in 2015 for more than his jersey color.
Lee is switching from his customary No. 4 to No. 8 with the Browns, honoring his late daughter, Madelyn. Tragically, Madelyn passed eight days after being born in January from complications. For Lee, it is something that he will always have to live with and by changing the number on his jersey, have with him while he is at work, per ESPN.com.
Lee has two other sons, but the loss of a child remains an unspeakable burden. There have been other high-profile NFL players who have lost children in recent years, most notably former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Joe Jurevicous and Baltimore Ravens kick returner Jermaine Lewis. Both lost children in the immediate aftermath of being born. In an odd and unrelated (and much less important) twist of fate, both of those players won Super Bowls in those campaigns.
"I think sometimes, not necessarily by me and my wife, her life can get overlooked. She was here, she was a person but nobody got to meet her, nobody got to see her," Lee said, according to the team's website. "She was really alive and really a person. It's a way to honor her and kind of just give her some glory she deserves."
"It's been life-changing, some good ways, some bad ways. It's made me appreciate the two boys that I do have, my wife, my family," Lee said Thursday.
"It shows how fragile life is. It's also changed the way I feel about dying. I don't want to die, I don't want to leave my wife and kids. But also, I get to see my little girl some day."
Here's to inner peace for both Lee and his family.
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