McDonald makes mom proud

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
4:54
PM ET
ESPN.com senior writer Elizabeth Merrill profiles Patriots offensive lineman Nick McDonald in a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com.
There is a stoicism about McDonald that is uncommon for most 24-year-olds. McDonald knows what it's like to be without a home. When he was 14 years old, his mother died of cancer. His father, still devastated after many months -- "I mean, it was the love of his life," McDonald said -- holed up in his room and eventually left town. So it was Nick and his three siblings, alone in their house in Sterling Heights, Mich., relying on themselves and the occasional kindness from strangers.

Their electricity and heat were disconnected; their house, eventually, had an eviction notice on the door. His brothers and sister had to scatter to different places, and McDonald bounced around a couple of homes. Gayle Joseph saw some of this because her daughter, Meghan, was dating McDonald. And at night, when Joseph thought about it, she would lie in bed and cry.

Maternal instinct took over. She knew it sounded crazy, asking the teenage boyfriend of her daughter to come live with them. What mother with a sane mind, she thought, would do that? But Joseph kept coming back to the same thing: He needs a mom, and he needs a home.

So McDonald moved into a fold-out couch in Joseph's basement and stayed there, even after he broke up with Meghan. He stayed for a few years. He became part of the family.

To read Merrill's powerful story, CLICK HERE.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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