shawne merriman (peta)*The Buffalo Bills’ NFL season just ended, but star player Shawne Merriman‘s new role—as a PETA spokesmodel—has just begun.

To encourage everyone to keep fur out of their winter wardrobes, the defensive end has teamed up with PETA for a brand-new ad campaign in which he shows off his tattoos—including, appropriately, the words “Heart of Gold” on his chest—next to the caption “Ink, Not Mink. Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin, and Let Animals Keep Theirs.” The ad, available here, was shot by top photographer Tyler Jason.

“Shawne Merriman is a tough opponent on the field, but it’s as plain as the words on his chest that he has a heart of gold for animals,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Football’s a rough sport, but as PETA’s undercover videos show, it has nothing on the violence of the fur industry.”

PETA and Merriman want consumers to know that every year, millions of foxes, minks, and rabbits—and even cats and dogs—are beaten, electrocuted, and strangled for their pelts. Many are skinned alive. For every piece of fur—whether it’s a full-length coat or a bit of trim on a collar or cuff—animals suffered immensely.

Merriman joins a growing list of top athletes—including Terrell Suggs, Willis McGahee, Chris Andersen, Chad Ochocinco, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tony Gonzalez, Aaron Curry, Michael Strahan, Gilbert Arenas, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, and Tito Ortiz—who have teamed up with PETA to promote kindness toward animals.

For more information, visit PETA.org. Watch PETA’s undercover investigation of Chinese fur farms here.