Thursday in Hawkville: Derrick Coleman a role model, but also a good player

Posted Jan 16, 2014

Seahawks fullback and core special-teams player Derrick Coleman is hearing impaired, which is generating a lot of attention this week. But the real story to coach Pete Carroll is that Coleman made the team, and made a place from himself on the team.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 16, when the Seahawks continued to prepare for Sunday's NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field:


For Derrick Coleman, that has an entirely different meaning. The Seahawks' fullback and core special-teams player is hearing impaired. So if he can't see your lips, whatever you're saying to him will be lost.

As Coleman and his teammates prepare for Sunday's NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, Coleman's situation has gone from novel to nationwide. He did interviews Thursday that will air on the NBC Nightly News and ESPN. He is featured in a TV commercial for Duracell batteries. He's already been on CBS This Morning in a segment titled "Silent Success."

Does all this attention detract from the fact that Coleman is a heckuva football player, not a good deaf football player? Or is it something he embraces because it allows him to be a role model for other hearing-impaired people?

"It's both," Coleman said in the locker room before Thursday's practice. "My being hearing impaired basically made me who I am, made me the type of football player I am. So when I tell everybody about this it reminds me that, 'OK, I worked this hard to get here. I've got to continue working hard.' So that's basically all it is. I don't really get distracted by doing all the other stuff."

But Coleman is a role model, because he has overcome what everyone else might consider an insurmountable obstacle to do something only a small percentage of people get to do.

"I do everything to the best of my ability," he said. "I already have to work hard in everything that I do, like driving or school work when I had it. It just carries over. It's not like a light switch. Just can't just flip it on and off. It's just one of those things that happened to be a part of it."


"You couldn't pick a better venue to play a championship game, anywhere that I can imagine, than right here at CenturyLink."

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

Coleman definitely has Pete Carroll in his corner, and the Seahawks' coach is glad that Coleman has been a part of all the team's success this season.

"He's been a great contributor on this team," Carroll said. "And he's a guy that does everything right. He does his job impeccably well in all areas, in everything that we ask of him. He's a terrific effort guy. He's tough. He's fast.

"He's been a fantastic part of the team. He's been really a cool story. Not because he has issues, because he's made this team and he's made a spot for himself and he's playing well. The fact that he has a hearing issue is really not even something that we deal with."   


The official report, as issue by the team:


The Seahawks and 49ers will meet for the third time this season in Sunday's NFC Championship game. The Seahawks have met the same team three times in a season four other times in franchise history, including the Broncos and Raiders in the 1983 season:

Denver Broncos, 1983

Regular season
Week 10: W, 27-19 at the Kingdome
Week 12: L, 38-27 in Denver
Wild-card game: W, 31-7 at the Kingdome

Los Angeles Raiders, 1983

Regular season
Week 7: W, 38-36 at the Kingdome
Week 9: W, 34-21 in Los Angeles
AFC Championship game: L, 30-14 in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Raiders, 1984

Regular season
Week 6: L, 28-14 in Los Angeles
Week 11: W, 17-14 at the Kingdome
Wild-card game: W, 13-7 at the Kingdome

St. Louis Rams, 2004

Regular season
Week 5: L, 33-27 OT in Seattle
Week 10: L, 23-12 in St. Louis
Wild-card game: L, 27-20 in Seattle

Did not practice
WR Percy Harvin (concussion)

Limited in practice
DT Jordan Hill (groin)

Full participation
RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related)
LB K.J. Wright (foot)

Wright, who was limited on Wednesday, took the next step toward playing for the first time since breaking a bone in his foot during the Week 14 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. Wright participated in all phases of practice, getting some snaps at his weak-side spot with the No. 1 defense and also working there with the second unit.

"During the stretch just prior to him getting hurt, I thought K.J. was really playing some of his best football," defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said after the team practiced outside along the shores of Lake Washington. "The different challenges we've asked of him, whether it's covering a back or a tight end or just the whole knowledge he brings to our whole linebacking crew, so the potential to have him back as part of the mix would be something that would fire us up for sure."

Malcolm Smith has played well while filling in for Wright, but Quinn said, "We knew we'd get a chance to get K.J. back, and we certainly hope that this is the time."

Lynch, who rushed for a franchise playoff-record 140 yards in the divisional game against the Saints, was back after taking his usual day off for rest. Carroll also provided the latest update on concussed wide receiver Percy Harvin during his midday session with the media and writer and producer Tony Drovetto provides the details.  

For the 49ers:

Limited in practice
CB Carlos Rogers (hamstring)
RB Will Tukuafu (knee)


"He just does a great job of fighting through it and breaking tackles. So, he's a hard tackle, I will admit, but it can be done."

49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, on Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch

Full participation
LB NaVorro Bowman (wrist)
LB Ahmad Brooks (illness)
WR Michael Crabtree (wrist)
DE Demarcus Dobbs (knee/shoulder)
C Jonathan Goodwin (foot)
RB Frank Gore (knee)
LB Dan Skuta (foot)
DT Justin Smith (shoulder)

Brooks, Smith, Goodwin and Dobbs were back after sitting out Wednesday. Rogers was limited again, but he is practicing for the first time since injuring a hamstring in the 49ers' regular-season finale.


The players will hold their final full practice on Friday, which is "No Repeat Friday" on the Carroll calendar.

Also on tap is "Blue Friday," and the activities include a noon rally at Westlake Park that will include Seahawks alumni, Sea Gals, Blue Thunder and Blitz; and a "12" banner being towed behind a plane from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. along the I-5 and I-405 corridors.