EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Dante Cano had a big idea, so he wrote a letter and sent it to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
With the NFL using pink on hats, cleats and uniforms during the month of October for breast cancer awareness, thought the 11-year-old fan from Marlboro, N.J., why not use the color on the normally yellow penalty flags?
Goodell read the suggestion and jumped on the idea. The game Sunday between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets featured pink penalty flags at MetLife Stadium – all because of the fifth-grader’s note.
“I really felt sort of foolish because I wish I had thought of it,” Goodell said about an hour before kickoff. “Dante thought of it and when I saw that note, I thought it was a great idea. I talked to our people about it and we got it done pretty quickly.”
Cano presented Goodell and the game officials with the pink penalty flags on the field, and took pictures with him, his family and former Jets star Joe Klecko.
Cano got the idea while watching the Browns-Giants game on Oct. 7.
“They were using a lot of pink, so I thought, ‘Why not make the penalty flags pink? They use them a lot, so make them pink,’” Cano said. “I thought since it was a good idea, I should send it to him.”
Goodell signed a football to Cano: “You are very special!” and also signed one of the pink penalty flags. Cano said he felt a bit famous with all the attention before the game.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Cano said when asked if he was surprised to hear back from the commissioner. “This is very cool.”
DOLPHINS: Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill left the game Sunday with an injured left knee and quadriceps muscle and his return was questionable.
Tannehill appeared to be hurt on a sack on third down by Calvin Pace on the Dolphins’ second possession of the game.
He limped off the field and was replaced on Miami’s next series by Matt Moore.
BEARS: Backup receiver Alshon Jeffery was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers because of a right hand injury.
The former South Carolina star was injured against Jacksonville on Oct. 7. The Bears were off the following week, and he sat out Monday night against Detroit.