In December of 1972, a 16-year-old girl named Carol Briggs went into labor. She was from Youngstown, Ohio, but, given her circumstances, she elected to deliver her child at a birthing center in the greater Pittsburgh area. Briggs was in no situation to raise her child and the biological father wasn't, either. He was a few years older than her but still just a kid, really, with a college scholarship. So she put him up for adoption. The adoption agency told her the boy she named Jon was going to live with a doctor and his wife in Columbus.
That didn't happen.
Instead, that little boy was adopted by A.C. McCullough, a local radio host, and his wife, Adelle Comer, in Youngstown, the same city as Carol Briggs. Jon was renamed Deland McCullough and adopted into a family with a mother, a father and an older brother. Sounds perfect.
Except McCullough's adoptive father walked out on the family when he was just two years old. Deland grew up in a single-parent household in a rough area of a rough city, but was drawn to football. He earned a scholarship to Miami (Ohio), where he set the RedHawks' school record for career rushing yards. A brief professional career led him into coaching, where he's now regarded as one of the best running backs coaches in the game. A FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year finalist, McCullough spent six years at Indiana, one at USC and is now the running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.
But as McCullough, now married with four children, aged, the question of his birth parents gnawed at him. So he started asking questions.
And that's all I'm going to say, because this is a truly incredible story that I wouldn't dream of spoiling for you. Told beautifully by ESPN's Sarah Spain, this is a story you need to do yourself a favor and read for yourself.