The Atlanta Falcons will pay tribute to John Lewis on Sunday by making the late civil rights icon an honorary captain for their season-opening game against the visiting Seattle Seahawks.
“That’s a big deal in terms of the exposure and the impact Congressman Lewis had not just on Georgia, but on the country overall,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on Friday.
Lewis died July 17 at the age of 80 after battling pancreatic cancer.
In 1965, Lewis sustained a fractured skull when he was struck by an Alabama state trooper on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during a march for voting rights to Montgomery, Ala.
Falcons safety Ricardo Allen walked the same bridge alongside Lewis to commemorate the moment two years ago.
“With everything going on right now in the world, we thought it would be best to start it off with somebody as legendary as John Lewis,” Allen said. “He’s done so much for one of our biggest things that we want to stay connected with, one of our main topics as a team that we’re always hitting on: voting rights and the Voting Act.
“We know John Lewis is a big part and a big reason that (Voting Rights Act) is part of the world today. So to be able to tie that in with our team and be able to do it with such a great man like John Lewis — someone that I’ve been blessed enough to go down and do the Selma walk with myself — you know I was all in for it with him.”