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Focus on: Derrick Coleman
When the Seahawks deploy a lead blocker for All-Pro tailback Marshawn Lynch in Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Panthers in Carolina, that fullback will be Derrick Coleman.
That’s the same Derrick Coleman who was a tailback at UCLA and was signed to the Seahawks’ practice squad last December. Oh, and he’s legally deaf.
Talk about overcoming serious odds while making a quantum leap. What did Coleman show the coaches to make a commitment that included terminating the contract of Pro Bowl-caliber fullback Michael Robinson?
“We know he can carry the ball, too, if we need him to. He catches the ball really well. And he’s learning the system as a fullback. He outlasted the competition in this one to go into the opener as the starter. That’s a big accomplishment for Derrick, and we’re really excited about him.”
Roster reduction day can get the best of the best players. But Coleman knew he had done everything possible to prove to the coaches that he deserved a spot on the 53-man roster, if not the starting job. As it turned out, he won both.
“Most definitely,” said Coleman said of his did-the-best-I-could approach to Saturday – when he was eating banana pancakes with Chandler Fenner, a cornerback who’s on the injured reserve list, when he got the call from his agent telling him that he was one of the 53.
That coach is Sherman Smith, the Seahawks’ original running back. It was Smith who offered early in training camp, “Derrick shows that he can do it. He’s got the want-to and he’s a very intelligent guy, so he’s handling it mentally. He’s doing a nice job. I think the guy has a chance to be a good fullback in this league.”
And the 6-foot, 233-pound Coleman also got coached up by the player he is replacing – Robinson.
Coleman also is savvy enough to know that now is no time to rest on preseason laurels.
“I’m happy that I get an opportunity to go out there and play and help this team do something,” he said. “But at the same time, I’ve just got to keep working hard because it doesn’t stop here.”
No, Derrick Coleman is just getting started. Read