Six years after Ravens linebacker Jeremiah Moon gave away his cleats, they returned to his hands Sunday.

The initial exchange happened after a Florida Gators home game.

Moon’s family, who lived in Hoover, Alabama, was at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, to see him play, so he stayed on the field for a while to talk with them. Just as he was about to go up the tunnel, a young fan named Jacob Long came up, and the two started talking. After taking a few photos, Moon decided to give him the shoes.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Over the next six years, Moon said he and Long exchanged the occasional message — usually Long telling him good luck — but they didn’t regularly keep up with each other’s lives. Ahead of the Ravens’ New Year’s Eve game against the Miami Dolphins, Moon received another direct message.

“He told me he was going to be in the flyover before the game,” Moon said. “I was like, ‘No way.’ He explained how he was a Marine and everything, and my dad was a Marine. He was in the service for a while. So I just thought that was a cool thing.”

Moon’s dad was stationed in Japan and served in Operation Desert Storm, but left the service before Moon was born.

Long, who is now 19, is in his first year in the Marines and completed basic training in Parris Island, South Carolina. He was in one of two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from the Marine Corps Heavy Helicopter Squadron 302 that flew over M&T Bank Stadium before kickoff.

View post on Twitter

Moon played for the Gators from 2016 to 2021 (he had an injury redshirt and a COVID-19 redshirt year). He played in 10 games his final year. After going undrafted, he signed with the Ravens and was part of their practice squad for the 2022 season. In 2023, Moon made his NFL debut against the Indianapolis Colts and played 64 snaps and made five tackles. He has become a contributor on special teams and has played in seven NFL games now.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The Ravens’ public relations team worked with Long’s mother to get the cleats to Moon in the locker room before the game.

“It’s like a full-circle moment,” said Moon. “You just can’t make it up. It was just fate that he was going to be in the flyover team while I was playing, especially playing here. I could be playing anywhere else.”

Moon reacquainted himself with the Long family over a 15-20 minute conversation after the game, where he then returned the shoes, signed, to Long. And two days later, Long returned to his base.

“It just worked out perfectly,” Moon said. “We’re going to keep in touch for sure.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correct Jeremiah Moon's last year with the Gators, and to clarify when he met with the Long family.

More From The Banner