(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer Rock Cartwright never got to say a proper goodbye to his mother eight years ago.
She never told him when doctors discovered a thin film covering her heart that restricted blood flow and ultimately caused her untimely death, fearing her youngest son would be worried sick. That was her nature, and also his.
By the time Cartwright received word from a cousin that his mom was in the hospital in his hometown of Conroe, Texas, on Memorial Day 2004, he was too late. She was gone at just 46.
To this day, the 49ers special teams standout and running back keeps Johnetta Cartwright close each time he steps onto the football field - and that hasn't changed as he changes teams for the third time in his 11-year NFL career.