By LEANNE ITALIE
NEW YORK (AP) — Top prospects in the NFL draft took some special guests to Radio City Music Hall’s red carpet: their mothers.
Before the clock started ticking Thursday in the first round, the AP asked players and their moms to share stories about each other ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday. The players told us what they most loved and admired about their moms, and the moms gave us a few of their proudest moments and most precious memories.
Blake Bortles, the Central Florida quarterback picked third by Jacksonville, said it best of his mother, Suzy: “She’s my hero.”
Here’s more from the NFL Class of 2014 and their moms:
JADEVEON CLOWNEY, picked first by the Houston Texans: “She did everything she could to raise me to the young man I am today. She took care of me and did a great job. You can’t tell? Look at me!”
JOSENNA CLOWNEY: “That’s my baby. He was not this outgoing like he is today.”
TEDDY BRIDGEWATER surprised his mom, a breast cancer survivor, with a pink Cadillac for her birthday earlier this week, provided by the car company. The Minnesota Vikings’ pick had promised her the car when he was 9 years old.
“She told me that I’m blessed and God blessed me with talent so use it to the best of my ability and take advantage. She told me to have a purpose in life and that’s one thing that I take away from her, besides her fight, determination and sacrifices that she made. To live that purpose out loud.”
ROSE MURPHY: “When he was in third grade he was talking about the pink Escalade. I love it! I can’t wait to get it back home to drive it.”
SAMMY WATKINS, who was picked fourth by Buffalo: “She’s beautiful, she’s wonderful. She’s supported me all my life. That’s the one that birthed me, that’s the one that disciplined me, took care of me all my life and grinded and struggled for me.”
NICOLE McMILLER: “Everything in Sammy’s life has been precious to me. His college years were precious because we never thought we would be able to afford him going to college.”
C.J. MOSLEY, picked 17th by Baltimore: “My whole personality is based off her. She’s laid back and quiet most of the time and I’m pretty much the same way. She raised me and my brother right and I’m proud to say that I grew up in a happy home. She was willing to do whatever she could to put food on the table and do whatever she could to keep us safe.”
TRACY MOSELY: “Walking across the stage getting his degree. That was the best.”
KHALIL MACK, picked fifth by Oakland: “Oh man, she’s beautiful. Her persistence, her intelligence and her wisdom. She’s very wise. Her guidance has put me in the position to be able to talk to you.”
YOLANDA MACK: “When he was a little boy he would get up every morning at 7 and listen to praise and worship on TV.”
TAYLOR LEWAN, picked 11th by Tennessee: “She’s always been a person, like myself, who goes to the beat of their own drum and is not really focused on money, just kind of enjoying yourself and being yourself. And she really taught me that.”
KELLY RILEY: “He’s kind of Mr. Tough Guy but then he does this little soft, sweet ‘I love you mom’ thing. He has a very tender heart. He always had that really loving heart.”
MIKE EVANS, who has a 2-year-old daughter and was picked seventh by Tampa Bay: “She’s a strong woman. I watched her struggle a little bit when we were growing up, making sure we had everything we needed, just doing the best she could for us. I want to give her the world.”
HEATHER KILGORE: “He never gave up. There were plenty of times he’d be upset and mad: ‘I quit, I quit.’ The next day he’d get back up.”