Coleman Gaining Yards, Family in Pursuit of Football Dream

Photo Credit: Santa Maria Times

When making it into the NFL or any professional sport it’s easier to forget where you came from.

Lavon Coleman from Los Angeles, California got introduced to football at a young age by his uncle. He started playing at 10-years-old for a team called the Conquistadors and fell in love with the game from there. The rest was history. Coleman played the sport throughout his childhood at running back, cornerback, and at one point defensive tackle—which he looks back as a funny moment in his career.

“It was cool I got a sack,” Coleman said. “Which was funny but it didn’t really work out well, those dudes were bigger than I thought.”

While he had offers from schools all around the country which included UCLA and Arizona, Coleman had no doubt in his mind where he wanted to go to school. His home state school the University of Washington.

“Washington was for sure my first choice,” Coleman said. “The atmosphere here in Seattle, the education behind really Sarkisian and them just the the people I was coming in with as well people I committed with it felt like it was going to be a really good team that I would be playing with.”

Staying close to home was very not only important for his mother, but to Coleman himself, as he always kept family at the center of his life. Coleman is always looking to add people to his family whether it be friends or college teammates. His best memories at Washington wasn’t carrying the ball and playing the sport, but off the field with his teammates.

“My fondest memories at [Washington] really came in the locker room,” Coleman said. “On the field I mean it was fun and obviously those are things I’ll keep and cherish forever but really just after wins and after losses how we handled the situations in the locker room.”

Contrary to most athletes, Coleman had a preference for practice than the actual game itself.

“Practice was really my most fun part,” Coleman said. “Just to see how committed you know my brothers were to getting better.”

Coleman went on to rush for exactly 2,000 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns in one game his senior season against UCLA. With four years of college under his belt, Coleman started setting his sites on a career in the National Football League. His name, however, wasn’t any of the 256 called thus making him an undrafted free agent.

It didn’t take long for his mood to change as shortly after, the Houston Texans dialed his number.

“It was emotional, not getting your name called was obviously a little devastating but knowing that you know people wanted to give you the opportunity to be able to pursue your dreams just made a huge impact and a big difference. At the end of the day you just feel blessed to have the opportunity to do something different while you can.”

Coleman landed in Houston and began working with starting running back Lamar Miller as well as All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. While not being starstruck by the ones on his side of the ball, it was one who wears No. 99 that gave him the jitters.

“The person that I was starstruck with was J.J. Watt,” Coleman said. “Just cause you know I love watching defensive players, I love defenses that are physical, people that want to hit you.”

Coleman continued to work with Watt and the others creating a new family as they all knew they were all in the same boat trying to make the best team they could for 2018. While he failed to make the final roster in Houston, Coleman was immediately picked up by the Seattle Seahawks and given the opportunity to play close to home once again.

“It’s a blessing coming back to Seattle,” Coleman said. “My son is here so it makes it even more of a blessing to be close to him and not having to be too far and obviously playing here in college, the atmosphere is beautiful, everyone in Seattle is so welcoming.”

Coleman said Seattle’s atmosphere is a very competitive one, but once again, Coleman loved the off the field aspect of the game.

“I love the locker room, the guys are fun,” Coleman said. “They’re just open and it’s really like welcoming to be here, they embrace you and you really get to understand and learn about your teammates. At the end of the day, it’s considered a business but you get treated like a brother here and everyone embraces you from the coaching staff all the way down to the players, it’s a beautiful thing here in Seattle.”

Fans of the NFL know Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll for his explosive enthusiasm on and off the field with the team and Coleman said that what you see is not all of what the players get out of him as he still wants your best every play.

“He’s a fun dude. He’s just trying to make you the best player you can be so you can give your best effort on the field,” Carol said. “That’s one thing I love about coach Pete is that he’s gonna push you to be the best you can and that’s what you want as a player is a coach to take the time and give you the necessary criticism or understanding of your ability so that way you can maximize them, that’s one thing coach Carroll does really well.”

Despite knowing that Carroll is a great leader, he still can’t figure out how the former USC head coach is able to continuously coach and run up and down the sidelines with great frequency.

“I have no idea how he gets it done,” Coleman said.

Rookies have dreams and aspirations of where their careers can go but for Coleman, it’s just one step, and carry at a time.

“I see myself working hard trying to separate myself and trying to take the next step to be a feature [running] back,” Coleman said. “I just see myself hopefully having some playoff wins, specifically a Super Bowl win, but I just want to see myself as a feature [running] back, that’s something I’m working towards every day.”

But it wouldn’t mean anything without family, and for Coleman as long as his son is grinning from ear to ear, he will continue to pursue his dream not just to make himself proud, but his family as well.

“I’ll never rest as long as my son is smiling,” Coleman said. “I have a reason to continue to strive for greatness.”

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