May 31, 2011: The NFL and its players are still at odds, but adidas is maintaining an even marketing keel. The athletic footwear and apparel company said it has added two NFL rookie wide receivers to it growing list of endorsers: Leonard Hankerson of the Washington Redskins and Edmond Gates of the Miami Dolphins.
Hankerson was the Redskins’ third-round selection (79th overall) out of the University of Miami in April’s NFL Draft. Gates was taken in the fourth-round (111th overall) out of Abilene Christian by the Dolphins.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The signings support the recent launch of adidas’ adiZero 5-Star, called "the lightest cleat in football" by the company. At 6.9 ounces, adidas said the shoe is three ounces lighter than "the nearest competitor." MSRP is $100.
The product hit retail on April 1, but was unveiled in February during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
In March, adidas signed a group of incoming rookies, including New York Giants defensive back Prince Amukamara and wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young and Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph.
“Players at all levels are looking for an edge to keep them fast and we’ve changed the game with the new adiZero 5-Star."
Multi-media marketing will support, including print, POP and Internet, including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
“Football players are faster than ever before,” Mark Daniels, director of football for adidas. said in a statement. “Players at all levels are looking for an edge to keep them fast and we’ve changed the game with the new adiZero 5-Star. Both Hankerson and Gates are going to be equipped with the lightest cleat in football to help them make an immediate impact in the NFL.”
The players join an adidas football roster that also includes Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush, Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess.
“My game is all about speed,” said Hankerson. “Being a half step faster than the defense is what made the difference in my games at Miami. Playing football in the NFL means I’ve got to bring everything I’ve got and really focus on being even faster. adidas is making the lightest cleats out there right now and in the NFL, I know I’m going to need a light cleat that keeps me fast and gives me the confidence I need to join the ranks of the other fast NFL receivers coming out of the U.”
According to Gates, “I consider myself to be one of the fastest players in this year’s draft. I signed with adidas because of the adiZero 5-Star. The cleat is super lightweight and comfortable. It looks good and feels great and because it’s so lightweight it will help me take my speed to the next level and play even faster.”