It never fails, every year somebody is added to this roster that has an incredible story worth telling.
This year, that guy is UCLA’s running back Derrick Coleman who has had to overcome an unusual disability on his way to the NFL.
Coleman, who reportedly signed as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings, has a severe hearing impediment and has to wear hearing aids in order to communicate with teammates on the field. He has to wear skull caps under his helmet in order to keep the hearing aids dry and properly in place.
It hasn’t always been a disadvantage, though, as Coleman admits that in one particularly loud stadium he simply clicked the hearing aids off. I bet offensive linemen wish they could do that from time to time to avoid false starts.
The lack of hearing heightens Coleman’s other senses, according to Coleman, who will read the lips of those trying to communicate to him.
“My dad always said: Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your surroundings,” Coleman said. “So that’s how I am on the field. I always have to know what’s happening everywhere. You should anyway. You’re supposed to know what’s happening.”
“I’m not the type of person who is ever going to blame it on my hearing if I mess up,” he said. “Maybe I have too much pride because even if I don’t hear it, I might just say I got it wrong, rather than blame it on my hearing, you know?”
It sounds like Coleman is a fairly incredible kid worthy of a chance to keep on playing running back.
For more on Coleman’s story, click here for a great write up.