Deaf History Month 2023: Derrick Coleman: An Inspiring Journey to the NFL

Deaf History Month 2023: Derrick Coleman: An Inspiring Journey to the NFL

Derrick Coleman is a former American football fullback who played in the National Football League (NFL). He was the first legally deaf offensive player in the NFL, and his story is one of incredible perseverance and inspiration.

Coleman was born on October 18, 1990, in Los Angeles, California. At the age of three, he was diagnosed with a genetic hearing impairment that eventually led to him becoming legally deaf. Despite this obstacle, Coleman was determined to pursue his passion for football. He attended Troy High School in Fullerton, California, where he played as a fullback and linebacker. During his high school career, he amassed over 1,000 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns.

After high school, Coleman went on to play football at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He played in 41 games over four seasons and finished his college career with 1,840 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. Despite his impressive college career, Coleman went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was later signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings but was eventually released before the start of the regular season.

Coleman's journey to the NFL wasn't over yet, though. In 2013, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks and made the team's practice squad. He was eventually promoted to the active roster and played in all 16 regular-season games that year. He helped lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, where they defeated the Denver Broncos to win their first-ever championship. Coleman's inspiring story caught the attention of many, and he became an inspiration to people all over the world.

Coleman continued to play in the NFL for several more seasons, including stints with the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons. In 2018, he announced his retirement from the league.

Beyond his impressive football career, Coleman has also been an advocate for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. He has worked with organizations such as the Starkey Hearing Foundation to provide hearing aids to those in need. He has also been a spokesperson for Duracell batteries and has appeared in several commercials promoting their products.

Derrick Coleman's journey to the NFL is an incredible testament to the power of perseverance and determination. Despite facing numerous obstacles, he never gave up on his dream of playing professional football. He has become an inspiration to many and a role model for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

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