Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman is a talented, young player who provides a new hope. This new hope is not exclusive to the contingent of Seattle faithful who rally behind their beloved Seahawks. Derrick Coleman is an inspiration to anyone that has ever been told they could not do something. The 23-year-old running back from Los Angeles, California is the first deaf offensive player in NFL history.
The road for the resilient Coleman has not been easy. The scrappy fullback was diagnosed as legally deaf at age three. His hearing ability is approximately 20 percent of what is considered normal hearing. To aid with the challenges, Coleman uses hearing aids. These devices increase his hearing capabilities to a range of sixty to eighty percent of adequate auditory range. Nevertheless, the impairment brings forth great struggle, despite all the equipment used to assist.
Derrick Coleman, prior to being the face of hope, was often ridiculed when he was young due to his condition. He was told countless times he should quit or give up on his dream of playing football. Thankfully, the spirited youth did not relent. Derrick Coleman played his high school ball in Los Angeles at Troy High School. From the fields of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the determined athlete would continue to nearby UCLA. At UCLA, the running back would excel at both fullback and kick returner. Entering the 2012 Draft, Coleman was rated the sixth full-back overall in his draft class. Unfortunately, the ratings did not translate to success. The UCLA graduate went undrafted.
Despite his snub, the California native is a world-class athlete. Coleman is five feet eleven inches and weighs two hundred and thirty pounds. He possesses breathtaking speed, running a 4.5 second forty-yard dash. The juggernaut is an excellent blocker and serviceable ball carrier; the Minnesota Vikings took note of this. Despite the results of the draft, Coleman was signed as free agent to the Minnesota Vikings in April 2012. Four months later, he was waived from Minnesota’s depth chart.
In December of 2012, the Seattle Seahawks were shopping for a fullback and special teams player. The unrestricted free agent was signed to the practice squad, beginning his ascension to greatness. In 2013, Coleman navigated his way through the depth chart and finally landed a spot on Seattle’s 53-man roster. The hard work, determination and tenacity had paid off. The fierce warrior is now a crucial link in Seattle’s special teams and goal-line packages.
As of February 2, 2014, Derrick Coleman’s journey has taken a new direction: Super Bowl Champion. In a period of twenty months, the maligned prospect went from undrafted to playing on the grandest stage in football. With his tale of courage and triumph comes an encouraging notion: anything is possible. The story of Derrick Coleman has gained a lot of limelight and national attention. Duracell was inspired to regale in this heroic narrative. The running back was featured in a commercial which chronicled his childhood and career. The moving cinematic tells the saga of tribulation a young Coleman faced. However, this anecdote features a delightful moral, telling of a man who would not quit in the face of adversity.
The Seahawks can write a new chapter in this amazing tale tonight. Regardless of the team an individual chose to support, it was a kind of poetic justice to see Coleman head onto the biggest stage in football. Though in the end he was a winner, simply witnessing the Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman suit up and take the field for the Super Bowl seemed more than enough. When number 40 lines up behind the quarterback, a new hope now fills many eyes with a brilliant light. The same light that has twinkled in the eyes of every man and woman who has ever had a dream but only met defeat. Derrick Coleman serves as the example to all that anything is possible…if one just believes and never quits.
By Keith Fuchs