The “Monday Night Football” matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens showcased a potent Lamar Jackson-led offense that pulled off a 31-25, come-from-behind victory. But more importantly, the contest was part of the NFL’s “Crucial Catch” initiative, an annual push for early detection and awareness.
The Ravens’ Crucial Catch game was especially meaningful to wideout Miles Boykin, who made his season debut Oct. 11 after suffering a hamstring injury during training camp. Boykin understands how everyone is affected by cancer, which prompted him to step up as an ambassador for the program.
“Cancer is something that has affected everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are,” Boykin said on Glenn Clark Radio Oct. 11. “Being able to hopefully screen and catch cancer earlier than what people normally test it at and give people a chance to survive and have a better life when they figure out that they have it … for me, it was always important just because I wanted to help from that standpoint.”
The third-year receiver out of Notre Dame has a personal connection to the cause as well, so when Crucial Catch announced openings for new program ambassadors, Boykin came aboard immediately. The program’s 2020 campaign was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Boykin’s personal experience with his mother, Felicia, who is a nurse, motivated him to raise awareness in 2021.
“Anything that comes from the medical field, I would automatically have a tie to,” Boykin said. “My mom raised me, so I get to hear all of her stories about being a nurse and her helping people. So, you know, I think it’s the least that I can do with the position I’m in to try to help as many people as I can.”
“My mom’s best friend passed away from breast cancer, my great-grandfather passed away from cancer,” he added. “I just think [cancer] is one thing that, no matter who you are, everybody knows at least one person who has had cancer, whether they beat it or not.”
The NFL’s main partner for Crucial Catch, the American Cancer Society, stresses cancer-screening examinations as often as possible in an effort to detect warning signs as early as possible. Boykin says he understands the tendency to avoid screenings, but stresses their importance in the overall fight against the deadly disease.
“If I wasn’t an athlete getting checked every year, I understand why I feel like it would feel like a nuisance having those physicals, having those checkups,” Boykin said. “Now that I’ve seen the whole picture, it might be a nuisance, but a nuisance that can save your life, a nuisance that can help your loved ones. That’s how I look at it now. … You’re doing yourself a favor and you’re doing everybody around you a favor.”
Boykin’s return is equally as important for him as an individual. After tallying 464 yards throughout his first two seasons without missing a game, he looks forward to making an impact on the Ravens’ offense the rest of the season.
In his first game back, Boykin played 15 snaps on special teams as he eases back into game-speed football. Even though his playing time was limited, rejoining a Ravens squad playing at the top of its game is something for Boykin to look forward to.
“Mentally, I’m so excited to get back on the field. Physically, man I’m getting better every day, just taking it one step at a time and I’m just blessed to be a part of this team,” Boykin said. “[I’m] blessed to be able to live my dream. … I can’t wait to get back on the field again.”
For more from Boykin, listen to the full interview here:
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