Campbell native will watch big game from sidelines as Chiefs’ running backs coach

Local News

Deland McCullough briefly played with the Cincinnati Bengals and in the Canadian Football League

CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – As we watched the San Francisco 49ers earn another trip to the Super Bowl on Sunday, we could see members of the DeBartolo family, who own the team, celebrating their latest win.

But, when the big game is played in a couple of weeks, there will be another local native on the sidelines.

Even from a young age, Adelle Comer instilled in her sons a sense of discipline and a need to think about the future and their place in the world.

“Where are you today? Where you want to be in six months? Three months? You know, what do you want to do this week?” Comer would ask.

Deland McCullough is now the running backs coach for the Super Bowl-bound Kansas City Chiefs, who will take on the locally-owned San Fransisco 49ers.

In 1973, Comer and her husband adopted McCullough when he just months old. He went to Campbell Memorial and played football — Comer never missed a game.

Deland McCullough, throwback football picture

“From Pee Wee League until Deland went to play Canadian Football League and I moved to New York and I said, ‘I’m coming up to see your games up there,'” she said.

Comer was divorced when Deland was just a toddler. She raised him and his older brother Damon on her own.

“He listened to his big brother too and his big brother played a large, a huge part in his upbringing,” she said.

After receiving a scholarship and playing at Miami of Ohio, McCullough played briefly with the Cincinnati Bengals and then the CFL.

Eventually, he became an assistant coach with Indiana and USC.

Then in 2017, after the birth of his fourth son, McCullough decided to begin the long process of finding his biological parents. By late that year, he discovered they both were from Youngstown.

His father was Sherman Smith, who played in the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks and was a coach at Miami of Ohio — he actually attended the signing ceremony for the son he didn’t know was his own at the time.

Now, at the age of 47, life is coming full circle for the one-time Campbell Red Devil.

“He’s learned a lot being a player, and that makes him a great coach. It make him an awesome coach,” Comer said.

And it makes Comer one proud mom.

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