Rashod Bateman watched his mother endure a decade of physical abuse. He watched her tirelessly work multiple jobs to try to make ends meet for her kids.
Now the Ravens' first round rookie is paying her back. As Bateman showed on Instagram, he bought his mom, Lashonda Cromer, a beautiful house.
"Dreams to reality," he wrote. "Welcome home mama, I love you."
We asked all the rookies what they would spend their first paycheck on and Bateman said, "I'll definitely be buying my mom a house first."
Bateman grew up in Tifton, Ga., which is where his mother was still living. No word on where the new house is, but it's definitely an upgrade.
For an in-depth look at Bateman's childhood and how Cromer sacrificed for him and his brothers, read the Cover Story from last month.
For eight years, Cromer worked overnight 12-hour shifts operating machines that made hardwood flooring and carpet. After divorcing her abuser, she struggled to single-handedly support the family and they moved four or five times. Once, they were evicted from their mobile home she was renting because Cromer was also trying to pay for her father's funeral.
There were times when Bateman would come back from practice and there would be no water or no electricity. His brother, Travian, recalled watching his mother go long stretches hardly eating to make sure her boys had enough bologna sandwiches, Cup O' Noodles or tuna. Bateman asked his third-grade teacher if she could buy him his first pair of football cleats because he knew his mother couldn't splurge for them.
Cromer kept working, including as a cashier at a Dollar General and as a teacher's aide in the school, giving her more normal hours so she could be there more for her boys, including going to Bateman's football games to show her support.
Bateman was the Ravens' first rookie to sign his contract, reportedly a four-year deal worth $12.6 million with a $6.5 million signing bonus, per OvertheCap.com. Now we see he's putting it to good use.
Congrats to all!