CINCINNATI (FOX19) - LaMorris Crawford is one of those indispensable members of the Bengals organization, the kind most fans have never heard of, but many players can’t be without.
He baptized AJ Green and Giovanni Bernard. He co-hosts a bible study with Andy and JJ Dalton. He officiated the marriages of several players on the team.
For seven-plus years he’s been the Bengals’ chaplain, bringing the story of his life — a murdered mother, a father he never met, an upbringing in “the hood” — to bear on his ministry.
That’s seven-plus years of LaMorris and his wife, Megan, helping NFL players find meaning in their lives.
“We’re missionaries to the team,” Megan explained.
But even missionaries aren’t immune from current events. LaMorris, 40, began showing symptoms in the middle of March.
“I was tired,” he told FOX19 NOW. “I couldn’t taste anything. Lost my taste and smell. Then, I started throwing up.”
LaMorris recalls waking up in the middle of the night five days later. He went to the bathroom, he says, his vision a-blur and the room tilting sideways.
“I just knew I was about go," he said. "I was done. I knew it. I was at peace with dying, because I knew where I was going. Only time fear hit me is when I thought of her with no husband and kids with no father.”
Megan recalls the same night.
“I’m looking at him, trying not to panic, praying," she said. “Do I call 911? Or get him to the car?”
Finally they rushed LaMorris to the hospital, where he was tested for flu, strep and COVID-19.
The results came back 11 days later, after Bengals families such as the Atkins, the Daltons, the Bernards and the Taylors had all reached out to offer their support.
It was COVID-19, he says.
LaMorris had been through the worst of it by then.
“Our faith was everything,” he said. “We relied on God and trusted God. We had over a thousand people praying for us.”
It was a trial LaMorris won’t soon forget, one he says he’ll use to help grow others in their faith.
“All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose,” LaMorris said. “We know God is present in everything we go through.”
Megan says she and their children had minor symptoms.
LaMorris self-quarantined and had no contact with the team during his illness. Now he reports he’s been without symptoms for more than a week.