NFL Draft 2010: Emotional Gerald McCoy Realizes Dream

Luke McConnellCorrespondent IApril 23, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  Gerald McCoy (R) of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates as he holds a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey after he was picked third overall by Tampa Bay during the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Whoever coined the phrase, "Real men don't cry," was a complete idiot.  I mean seriously.

I am much more of the thought that real men DO cry.

Gerald McCoy is very much a man, and those tear ducts were flowing quite heavily on Thursday night at the NFL Draft.

The former Oklahoma All-American was drafted third overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a first round that, early on, was dominated by McCoy and and his former Oklahoma teammates.

Sam Bradford was taken first by the Rams, and after McCoy was taken third, offensive tackle Trent Williams was taken fourth by the Washington Redskins. Jermaine Gresham rounded out the Sooner barrage when he was taken at 21 by the Bengals.  

Just a year ago, these same four players all decided to stay in school another year to try to bring a national championship to Norman. Things obviously didn't work out the way they had planned, but no one can deny that they only helped themselves by having another year to improve their skills and abilities.  

This night was a great night for Oklahoma, but it paled in comparison to what this night meant to McCoy.

In June 2007, McCoy's mom, Patricia, passed away of a brain aneurysm. It was a blow to all the members of a very close family. She was an encouragement to them all.  

When McCoy was thinking about quitting football after his freshman year, his mom straight up told him that quitting was not an option in their family.

McCoy honored her Thursday night by having her initials embroidered on his left shirt sleeve.  

The tears started flowing while McCoy was on the phone with the Bucs and didn't stop until he was heading onstage to shake hug Roger Goodell.  

It was one of the most moving moments I've seen in sports. When he picked up his daughter, Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backwards), I almost lost it myself.  

McCoy is off on his new career, but he always will remember where he has been.  

"She's the main reason I'm here," McCoy said.  "I missed her today. I made it, Momma. I made it."