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/ Source: TODAY
By Julie Pennell

NFL rookie Mecole Hardman Jr. wanted to do something special for his mom, so he took her out to brunch … then surprised her with a new house!

“It was a long time coming,” the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver told TODAY Home.

Hardman Jr., 21, said he’d wanted to give his mom Danyell Hardman, 45, a house since he was a kid. “We never really had a definite home,” he said, adding that his family moved around a lot.

He grew especially close to his mom when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013. “The first thing you think of is cancer,” he said. “You think about all those times you did this or that and all the times you talked back to her or the times you were disobedient.”

Ultimately it wasn’t cancerous, but she did need surgery. “During that time, I was driving her around, making sure she was good, trying to cater to her every need,” he recalled. “It didn’t matter what time — anytime day or night.”

The experience pulled them closer than ever, he said. “You just want to enjoy that time because life is short.”

Hardman Jr. went on to attend college at the University of Georgia, where he played football. Earlier this year, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted him to the team and, to celebrate — and thank his mom for all her support through the years — he was finally about to do what he always said he would.

Hardman Jr. in action during NFL scouting on March 2.Joe Robbins / Getty Images

His parents had already picked out their dream house, but Hardman Jr. told them he wanted to buy them something special once he made it big. So, he offered to help fix up their current house in the meantime.

Little did his mom know that the plan was just a ruse to throw her off track. He then went to his dad, Mecole Hardman Sr., 46, and asked him which house they wanted. “He said this one, and I said, ‘OK, I’m going to get it.’

“I wanted something bigger and better for them, better for my (5-year-old) little sister,” he said. “I wanted her to grow up in great house and great neighborhood.”

Mecole Hardman Jr., stands with his mom in front of the new house he bought for her.MecoleHardman4/ Twitter

On the day of the big reveal, Hardman Jr. took his mom to brunch and had a van waiting to take them to the house afterward. “She’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ and trying to fight us in the van,” he recalled with a laugh. He made up an excuse that they were going bowling.

Instead, they showed up at her dream house where he gave her the key. “She was shocked,” he said. “It was fun — she loved it.”

His mom can be seen crying in the video, saying, “I’m just blessed.”

The home in Georgia, has so many things the family never had before, including a second story and basement, Hardman Jr. said. There's also a swimming pool in the backyard.

Mecole also bought his dad a new car to go in the new garage.

“Whenever I get a chance, I’m going to bless my parents,” he said.