"Probably about a month ago, my dad had some pains in his stomach that he had checked out. They were pains that had existed for quite some time. He was told they were indigestion and acid reflux. You can get medication for both. And the medication failed a month ago.
"He went to the doctor's and found out he had stomach cancer. We weren't sure what stage but we were told that there was a chance it could be far advanced. I went home before camp. Coach Weis blessed me with a chance to fly home and see my family. I was able to spend a lot of quality time with my family for that week, along with my mother and brother who were down in Texas with him.
"In the middle of camp, I got a call from my mom. My dad had been moved to a hospital. His condition had worsened and he was weakened. We weren't sure what the cause was. Again, I left my teammates to go home and spend some quality time with the parents and my brother only to find out the cancer had moved into the lymphatic system and infiltrated the lungs. It was considered terminal and given four to six weeks to live.
"Much like my dad, he doesn't like pain. He doesn't like any pain that he endures on top of that. On Tuesday night, at about nine o'clock Texas time, 10 o'clock here, I got a phone call saying that he'd gone and didn't want to deal with the pain anymore. He died in his sleep.
"I just wanted to clear up a few things. I don't want anything I say to be mistaken. Don't take my serious side as not missing my father. He was a loving and caring father and husband who only grew to love God, his family and life, exponentially more than he had the last few weeks of his life. My mother, Deb, and brother, Tommy and I, will miss him dearly.
"Another thing is not to mistake my sorrow at times for weakness. That would be a very big mistake. Because of my dad passing, I could use an event like this as motivation to continue forward and press on instead of a distraction on what needs to be done.
"At this time, I would like to say some thanks yous. I would like to thank family and friends for continued love, prayers, support and discretion at a time like this. I'd like to thank my church homes both in Texas and here in the area. I would like to thank my brothers on the football team, who have carried me through the sport my father introduced me to. Without them, I wouldn't be here. I would like to thank Coach Weis. Not only has he been a father figure at a time like this but he's given me comfort and the chance to go home and spend probably the greatest time of my life with my father.
"On top of that, I would like to thank God in not only healing my father but taking him quickly so he didn't have to suffer."
*Inaudible question: "My dad looked the doctors square in the eye when he found out he was possibly terminal and said, ‘I will be damned if I die in a hospital.' We got him into hospice care and it was the third night in hospice care that he died in his bed after he talked to my mother, brother and his dog was by his side."
*Question regarding his faith for the deeply religious Morton: "My faith in Christ continues to give me hope. I hope that my father is no longer in pain, which I know. I hope that there's a meaning to everything he went through. I hope there's a meaning to every step I take. That word, hope, is the biggest word I continue to derive from there."
*On how many times his dad made it up for games: "In person, he probably made it up two or three times a season. This was supposed to be the big season of coming to every game. But leave no doubt, my dad was a presence at every game. As soon as I was off the field, I had messages on my cell phone about missing a block or a block I had made. He was there no matter whether he was in the stands or not."