Detroit Lions receiver Marvin Jones appeared on the sideline with his family before the game Sunday to honor his infant son, Marlo, who died a few days ago.
A moment of silence was held at Detroit’s Ford Field as 6-month-old Marlo was pictured on the Jumbotron.
Jones could be seen wiping away tears during the national anthem, and he hugged many well-wishers before he left the field, ESPN reported.
Jones also honored the moment on Instagram, writing in Spanish that he still couldn’t believe Marlo wasn’t with them but knew he was smiling down at them from above.
Teammate Darius Slay told the Detroit Free Press he was inspired by Jones’ presence. When Slay emerged from the tunnel he fist-bumped Jones, told him he loved him, and hugged his wife, Jazmyn, the Detroit Free-Press reported. “I’m still here for his family,” Slay said.
The team lost to visiting Green Bay, 23-20, in its final game of the season. The 29-year-old Jones, an eight-year veteran in the league, had 62 receptions this year before landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury earlier in the month.
Quarterback David Blough said the team “wanted to play for our family that was hurting, to tell you the truth. ... It’s a bummer that we couldn’t finish it.”
On Saturday Jones announced Marlo’s death in a heartbreaking post. “Yesterday the Lord called home a piece of my family’s heart, Marlo. It is hard to believe that our little angel, our fighter from day one, our son “Marlito” has unfortunately passed away and is no longer here with us. ... You will always be in our hearts.”
The Lions issued a statement as well.
Jones had posted a Merry Christmas video with Marlo and the rest of the family just days before the baby’s death.