If the Seahawks stick to standard procedure Sunday in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers, Derrick Coleman probably won’t get the ball in his hands very often. The dazzling Marshawn Lynch is Seattle’s feature back, and the 23-year-old Coleman is a bottom-of-the-depth-chart fullback and dogged special teams guy.
Yet Coleman, a force in his UCLA playing days, is getting a load of attention these days, not because of his ability, but rather his disability. He is legally deaf. He is the first such player ever to perform with an NFL offensive unit, where such things as hearing the snap count and picking up quarterback audibles are imperative to success in a game loosely defined as “kill the man with the ball and everyone within reasonable proximity to the ball.”