Family & Parenting

NFL Coach That Searches For His Biological Parents Soon Uncovers A Truly Staggering Twist

When NFL coach Deland McCullough — who worked with the Kansas City Chiefs’ running backs in 2018 — was just over one month old, his 16-year-old mother, unable to provide him with the proper care, gave him up for adoption.

Young Deland didn’t ask too many questions about his biological mother and father. However, as time passed and adoption laws changed, he finally embarked on a quest for answers, only to uncover information that sent shock waves through his life…

Deland McCullough was born in 1972 to a 16-year-old girl named Carol Briggs. His birth name was Jon, but it was changed to Deland after Carol gave him up for adoption to a family who was better suited to care for him. Carol never told Deland’s biological father about their son.

When Deland was six weeks old, a couple from Youngstown, Ohio, welcomed him into their family. At first, life was pleasant, but Deland’s adoptive parents eventually divorced when he was two, leaving him again without a father figure.

Deland’s mother Adelle was determined not to let the demise of her marriage get in the way of  Deland living life to the fullest. She encouraged him to get involved with sports and activities after school. There was one sport Deland not only liked, but excelled at…

That sport was football. Football helped him keep his mind off tensions at home, and over the years, he got better and better. By senior year of high school, he was the star running back of the varsity team, and that meant college recruiters took notice of his talent.

One of the recruiters who took a special interest in the young boy was a man named Sherman Smith, a coach at Miami University in Ohio. Sherman was incredibly supportive of Deland, and over time, the two formed a close bond.

After many talks with Sherman, Deland agreed to play for his team at Miami University, which was a huge stepping stone in his career. After a stellar performance at college, Deland was offered a deal every college player dreamed of…

He landed a spot in the NFL on the Cincinnati Bengals! All of his hard work, passion, and drive to be the best finally paid off. Sherman, who he still kept in close touch with, couldn’t have been prouder. However, not long into his new career, tragedy struck…

Deland suffered a horrendous blow to his knee that ended his professional career. He was distraught, but his mentor Sherman was by his side the whole time. Sherman knew just how disastrous it was to have a lucrative NFL career come to a screeching halt.

Within the next few years, Deland got married and had kids. His professional career was behind him, but he still loved football, and he still very much knew how to think the game. So, he eventually found a way to spend time on the gridiron. 

He became a teacher and football coach at Harmony Community School in Cincinnati. There, he was able to take the skills he acquired over the years and help young players on their journeys to greatness. Within two decades, he was coaching at the University of Southern California!

Working so hard to mentor young people made him think about his own past. Before too long, Deland developed a burning desire to find out who his real parents were.

In late 2016, Deland began his search for his biological parents. There had recently been a change in state law that allowed for easier access to adoption papers, so he took full advantage. Almost immediately, he discovered his birth name and information about his real mother. So, he reached out to her, slightly nervous about what he’d discover.

Deland contacted Carol Briggs via Facebook. Carol happily spoke with Deland, and the two had a pleasant conversation. Then Deland asked about his biological father. Carol responded, and Deland’s world flipped upside down…

Carol told him his father’s name was Sherman Smith! It was the same man who met him 28 years earlier and mentored him throughout his football career! Deland was speechless. The entire time he had been with his father and neither of the men knew it!

It took Deland hours to wrap his head around the bombshell Carol just dropped on him; the odds of this happening had to have been astronomically low. But, now that he thought about it, he remembered oddly coincidental clues throughout his life that pointed to this truth…

People would constantly tell him how much he and Sherman were alike. People said they talked the same, walked the same, and had many of the same mannerisms. Now it all made sense: they were father and son! Now, it was time to tell Sherman…

Deland called Sherman and told him the news. Sherman was equally  flabbergasted, but he also felt pangs of guilt about not being there for his son while he grew up. However, after a friendly conversation where Deland assured him it was no ones’ fault, Sherman felt so much better. The entire family was now a unit again!

Deland’s adoptive family and his biological family eventually met for a gathering in Nashville, Tennessee. None of them could believe the revelation that occurred between Deland and Sherman, but everyone was ecstatic they finally figured out the wild truth after almost three decades of friendship!

Deland McCullough, coaching with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in 2018, went on a hunt for his biological parents but never expected such a wild outcome! There was a reason he and Sherman Smith bonded so well, and that reason could only have been one thing: family.

What a wild story! Can you believe Deland knew Sherman for 28 entire years before finding out it was his father all along? The ESPN documentary about Deland’s hunt for his father is nothing short of captivating!

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