Joe McKnight’s memory has been honored in the finest fashion: by the men who play the game, during the game. From New York to Los Angeles, the tributes show the national respect and love for Joe
Former Curtis teammate Duke Riley gave up the number 40 he has worn so proudly to wear Joe’s number 4 in the Tigers’ win over Louisville in the Citrus Bowl. A senior, it was Riley’s final game in an LSU uniform.
Southern Cal junior running back Ronald Jones switched jerseys to number 4 for the Trojans’ win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl. The entire team joined him in a very special tribute, with a “JM4” decal on their helmets.
Former USC star Reggie Bush honored the running back that succeeded him in college with custom cleats that sported the familiar Trojan colors–One shoe with a photo of McKnight in college; one with the dates of his birth and death. Bush wore the shoes in the Buffalo Bills game against the Oakland Raiders. It was the only weekend that NFL players were allowed to wear special cleats with their own design.
The New York Jets honored McKnight with a moment of silence before their Monday Night Football game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association honored Joe with a moment of silence before the All-State Prep Classic games in the Superdome.
More on Duke Riley’s tribute:
LSU’s Duke Riley to Honor Joe McKnight in Citrus Bowl
Tiger senior will honor fallen friend
LSU senior inside linebacker Duke Riley will replace his usual No. 40 with 4 tomorrow in the Buffalo Wild Wings Sugar Bowl, as a tribute to the late Joe McKnight.
From LSU’s release:
Riley, who ranks second in the team with 85 tackles, was recently named LSU’s most valuable player for the 2016 season in vote of his teammates. McKnight served as a mentor and role model for Riley, along with many other students who followed in his footsteps at John Curtis.
“I lost a brother and someone I always looked up to,” Riley said about wearing the No. 4 jersey against Louisville. “Joe was someone I grew up watching, someone that was my biggest role model. People say legends never die so I’m wearing this No. 4 jersey for Joe McKnight (tomorrow) against Louisville.
“Joe meant everything to me. Honestly, I wanted to be a baseball player and then I saw what he could do with a football and how he could change the view of kids my age with a football in his hand. I know football meant everything to him. It was his life and he made football my life.
“This is honor to be able to do this. I’m so thankful for Coach ‘O’ (Orgeron) and the staff for giving me opportunity to wear this number for my brother who will be watching down on us. I’m going to give everything that I have for him and for LSU.”
Riley, who is a four-year letterwinner for the Tigers, has worn No. 40 for every contest of his 49-game career with the Tigers.
McKnight, of course, was a high school legend in Louisiana at John Curtis Christian School, where Riley played as well. He was gunned down on the West Bank of New Orleans in a road rage incident earlier in December.
Very cool gesture on Riley’s part, and a heckuva way to end his career with LSU, regardless of how the game turns out.