My New Favorite NFL Player: Derrick Coleman
By: Connor Lenahan
The other day I caught the Duracell commercial featuring Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman for the first time. I knew Coleman before the commercial due to my fandom of Seattle, but I wasn’t truly familiar with what he has to deal with every day. Coleman is deaf. He also plays for a team heading to the Super Bowl. These two things, using common logic, do not belong together. The fact that Coleman can play any form of competitive sports is an accomplishment. At the lowest level there would be equilibrium issues that would make balance tough for any athlete.
The fact that Coleman played football in high school is incredible. He has to be completely aware of 21 other people at once to follow the action of the play. Imagine doing that again and again, drive after drive, game after game, season after season. Again, common logic would dictate that Coleman had no business succeeding in football at the high school level. But he did.
The fact that Coleman was an undeniable success at UCLA is unfathomable. Coleman shouldn’t have been able to rush for over 1,800 yards and 19 touchdowns in his college career. He certainly shouldn’t have been able to have a dominant game to the tune of 185 yards against Washington State in 2010. But he did. He didn’t listen to logic. He couldn’t hear it. All he could hear was the voice in his head telling him to continue fighting for his dream. He could have given up plenty of times in his life. He could have decided that the end of the road would come with going undrafted in the NFL Draft in 2012. Or it could have been when he was waived from the Vikings during training camp the same year. He never stopped. He kept fighting. That’s what made the Seahawks choose to keep Coleman over former Penn State quarterback and incumbent fullback Michael Robinson. This point should not be overlooked. Robinson was a Pro Bowler in 2011. He was regarded as one of the better fullbacks in football. The Seahawks chose Coleman instead. This alone was incredible.
The fact that Coleman is a part of the Super Bowl bound Seattle Seahawks is nothing short of a miracle. What he has accomplished on the football field should be impossible for someone in his situation. Yet he ignored all of the naysayers and fought until he reached his goal. It’s impossible to say Coleman isn’t an inspiring man. He certainly is an inspiration to me. He’s a role model. He’s proof that no matter the circumstance anything is achievable with determination and hard work. Coleman is tangible proof of why I don’t give up hope whenever an injury befalls me. I could snap my shin again tonight and I know it wouldn’t be impossible to come back from. If Derrick Coleman can make an NFL team without hearing, I can get past anything.
This commercial gave me goose bumps. It’s powerful. It’s inspiring. It’s amazing. It’s hard not to get choked up watching it. At least for me. So I hope you won’t mind me donning my Derrick Coleman jersey in a few weeks while I watch my new favorite NFL player take the field on the grandest stage of them all. I hope you’ll join me too.
Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is the founder and editor-in-chief of Connorlenahan.com. He is a freshman at Boston University, majoring in journalism. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org