Kurt Coleman finding a sunny start in Philadelphia
Published: Monday, October 25, 2010
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 23:06
Despite being a three-year starter at Ohio State and a selection to the 2009 Big Ten All-Conference team, safety Kurt Coleman was not selected until the final round of the NFL draft.
Before April's draft, ESPN gave Coleman a grade of 40, which places him with a group of players described as "underdeveloped prospects that need extra time and coaching in order to compete for a roster spot in the NFL. NFL teams are looking for a ‘diamond in the rough' with this type of prospect."
Knowing 243 players were selected before the Philadelphia Eagles picked Coleman gave him motivation. "I don't really look at it like I got to prove people wrong because I know I'm going to prove myself right," he said. "But yeah, I do have a chip on my shoulder because I feel like I was good enough to be drafted high."
Former teammates also feel he was under-appreciated.
"I was a little surprised because I know the type of football player and person he is," OSU defensive back Donnie Evege said. "I feel like the Philadelphia Eagles got a steal on him because he is definitely … first- or second-round material."
Talent aside, Coleman had to adapt to what comes with being a late selection.
"I had a lot of confidence in myself that I was going to be able to come in and learn the system and perform well," Coleman said. "As a late-round draft pick or a free agent, you have to do it fast and you have to do it often."
Coleman has not only earned a roster spot, but he is second on the Eagles depth chart at safety and one of the first off the bench in obvious passing situations. Friends in Columbus have taken notice.
"I heard on special teams he is doing a great job and even getting in a little bit at safety," OSU safety Jermale Hines said.
In filling those two roles, Coleman has made 11 tackles in his young professional career.
Despite his success on the field, Coleman had adjustments to make in other areas.
"The thing that you do have to get adjusted to is being in the professional world, living a professional life and … going to work each and every day and doing your best," he said.
The professional nature of the NFL means less player-bonding outside of the team than at the college level.
"There's grown men out here," Coleman said. "They have separate lives outside of what they do at work. In college, you got guys you are going to stay with forever."
Coleman still talks regularly to many people at OSU.
"We talked about (me entering the NFL) a little bit," Hines said. "He just said, ‘Just stay focused and all of that will take care of itself and just keep playing fast.'"
Coleman used the same advice to begin his career.
"As long as you make the team, that's really all that matters because what you do with your opportunities is really a reflection of yourself and your character," Coleman said.
Hard work on the field has led to some fun off of it.
"I might have jumped the gun because before I made the team I bought a new car," Coleman said. "A Cadillac Escalade."
With a new ride and a firm position on the team, Coleman is enjoying his situation.
"I have been having a lot of fun out here, and it's been a very good season so far," he said. "It's a fun team and a fun atmosphere and a fun city to be in."
Evege expects the Eagles to have fun with their new acquisition.
"They got a heck of a ball player in Kurt," he said. "And they definitely won't be disappointed."