Follow us:

Seahawks Blog

The latest news and analysis from all angles on the Seahawks.

January 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Derrick Coleman: “It’s every kid’s dream”

Seattle backup fullback Derrick Coleman has seen vastly increased media attention since his Duracell ad debuted earlier this month. Here’s some of what he had to say at NFL Media Day today about that and other topics:

(on where he got his inner confidence) “It was definitely from my mom and my dad. When I got my hearing aids, I wasn’t really developed like a normal child should be. I wasn’t talking; yelling, ‘No’ all the time. I was always hyper, but I wasn’t outside of the house. They always just kept grinding and grinding me, saying, ‘Just go out there and be you. Don’t worry about anybody else. If people start making fun of you, just walk away or tell me,’ my mom would say. You only want to surround yourself with people that want to see you succeed. The ones that don’t and want to pull you down to their level, walk away from them. Ignore them. It kind of stuck, because now I’m really good at ignoring things. It comes back and bites me sometimes.”

(on being at the Super Bowl for the first time) “It’s definitely a great experience. It’s every kid’s dream. You grow up watching it. Your parents are watching it. To me, it’s still football. You go out there and you run, hit and block and do what you have to do. This is the biggest it can get.”

(on how tough it was to get through obstacles in his life) “Oh, it’s tough. There were unique obstacles I had to go through. Mine was a hearing problem, but everybody on this team and everybody on the Denver Broncos, we all had some tough obstacles to get through. The difference between us all is that we overcame it all. We didn’t let it hold us back in anything that we did. We set our goal, we set our dream, and we finally accomplished it.”

(on what kept him going) “I think the biggest thing that kept me going is, one, that I’m a sports junkie – I just love playing sports – and, two, I always had a good support system. Even when I was feeling down, I have this good support system: my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister, and all my second family and friends. They all give me motivation. When I’m here right now, I’m not just representing the Seattle Seahawks. I’m representing everybody who supported me growing up and helped me overcome my obstacles.”

(on the letter he received from the girl in New Jersey about his hearing aids) “I retweeted it when I first saw it on Twitter. I think the biggest thing was that it was one of those things where she’s not asking for anything, not a autograph or something. She’s just saying, ‘I have faith in you. You’re my inspiration, and I hope you do well in everything you do.’ That kind of just touched my heart a little bit. It made me feel warm. So I just thought I would take five or 10 minutes before practice and reply to her. Every now and then that makes a big difference and that’s kind of what I wanted to do. I’m pretty sure that letter probably helped them take the next step or whatever they have to do.”

(on if playing in the Super Bowl makes a statement to the deaf community) “Yes. The hardest thing about being in the deaf community is getting over wall one. Everything I do is going to affect them in terms of perception. Everything they do is going to affect me. What I’m doing now, getting the opportunity to play for the Seattle Seahawks and getting the chance to play in the Super Bowl, that’s basically saying that when people are hard of hearing now, you can do it too. They’re not going to be saying you can’t do it because you’re hard of hearing. I’m making that step. That’s why I go and talk to a lot of kids, because when they start making excuses and being lazy and people start getting that perception, they’re going to come to me thinking I’m the same way. Everything I do affects them and everything they do affects us.”

(on whether or not he had a childhood role model in the deaf community) “No, not really. There wasn’t a person who had hearing problems or something like that. It really was my parents. It was my family that really helped me keep grinding and going and going. That’s why I always talk to kids, and I’m glad to be in this situation because I can help. I get to be a role model for everybody else.”

(on what his hearing capacity is without the hearing aid) “From zero to 10, eight, nine, 10 is normal for everybody. Without my hearing aids I’m a two or three. With my hearing aids I’m a six, seven or eight depending on what day it is.”

(on whether he has trouble hearing interviews) “No, not really. It’s not that loud right now. Also I can read lips. Playing in loud stadiums or talking to the quarterback or anything, as long as you’re looking at me I can read your lips and we’re good to go.”

(on increased attention lately) “I’ve been talking to kids way before (this). Now it’s just a lot of requests. I was even thinking about joining an organization in terms of global hearing loss and stuff like that. In terms of me going out and sharing my story and making sure that other kids, if I can achieve my dreams and my goals, they can do the same thing without any excuses. We’re all going to have setbacks but you keep pushing through it.”

(on what he’ll do after football) “After football I’ll probably go back to school. I majored in political science and hopefully I’ll get to go to law school. We’ll see where time goes but I definitely know I was to get into law or politics.”

(on whether or not he’s aware of how global his story is) “I just became aware of it a couple of days ago. My agent’s always telling me how many views I have on YouTube. It’s funny, because I was looking on Twitter and I saw a lady from Australia and I said, ‘How did it get way over there?’ Like I said, I’m really just targeting one group of kids and the fact that it went all over is a blessing. I’m doing something right. I’m helping.”

(on whether getting cut from Minnesota gave him motivation) “Oh, absolutely. You only get so many opportunities in this world and however many you have, you can’t just squander it. You have to manage every chance you have. I wasn’t just sitting at home just hanging out playing video games. I was still, either early in the morning or late at night working out, because you never know when that next opportunity will come. If it never came, I knew I was prepared regardless.”

(on his college recruitment process with relation to Pete Carroll) “USC and UCLA kind of recruited me. I was kind of a USC fan for a while, but I think at the end of the day UCLA was a better fit for me. I wanted to keep playing running back and I felt like I could make an impact right away. But even the official visit I had with USC, Coach Carroll’s philosophy is the exact same as it is now. That’s why I love being a part of this team, because I always have to work extra hard, twice as hard, put in the extra effort to focus because of my hearing, but everybody in this organization does the exact same thing so it makes me feel just like them. I don’t feel any more superior or inferior because we’re all putting in the extra effort and extra work.”

(on whether he feels he’s been denied opportunities in football because of his hearing) “Yeah. I think it’s really just because of the hard work I had to put in, the extra effort. That’s how I got where I am now. Now, hearing impairment, I don’t ever consider it a disability or anything like that. Everybody in the world has problems. Nobody’s perfect. It’s just one of those things you have to pay more attention to and that’s where the hard work comes in. That’s what made me who I am and got me to where I am now.”

(on his lip reading skills) “I’m not saying I’m perfect at it. If we’re talking right now I’m good at reading. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. But when it comes to some guy way over there, that may get kind of hard to do. I remember I had an interview one time and they had a clip of Russell (Wilson) and Doug Baldwin saying things and they wanted to see how good I was. I think I got like 85, 90 percent at it. It was pretty good, but you’re not always perfect at it.”

Comments | More in News & Notes

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►