Posted January 30, 2014

Derrick Coleman surprises hearing-impaired fans with Super Bowl tickets

Seattle Seahawks
(Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman has become a national inspiration. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman is an inspiration to many. As the only hearing-impaired player currently in the NFL, and the only legally deaf player in the history of the league, Coleman has a story of a rise to the top that has resonated with a lot of people. Coleman recently starred in a Duracell commercial that told his story, and that story inspired one nine-year-old girl to write to him.

Riley Kovalcik said in her letter to Coleman after the Seahawks’ win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game that “I know how you feel. I also have hearing aids. Just try your best. I have [faith] in you Derrick… good job on January 20 game. Go Seattle Seahawks!”

The young girl then pointed out to Coleman the things they have in common.

“I [wear] two hearing aids. I love sports. Other things are I’m an identical twin and my twin [wears] one hearing aid too!”

Kovalcik’s father Jake Tweeted the letter out, and it got Coleman’s attention. He replied with his own letter.

And then, it was set up that the twins — Riley and her sister, Erin — would meet Coleman on ABC’s Good Morning America. Coleman came out onto the set and surprised the girls, who had just finished talking about what they would do if they ever met their new hero. Coleman took a picture of himself with the girls, and then opened up his backpack for another surprise: He opened a packet and pulled out enough Super Bowl tickets for the entire Kovalcik family.

“It’s definitely great,” Coleman said Wednesday of the Duracell commercial. “That’s one of the reasons Duracell and I linked up. We wanted to inspire others. We wanted to let them know that whatever accomplishments you want to achieve, regardless of whatever obstacles you have to overcome, you can always endure. Just trust the power within and do what you want to do. That’s basically what I’m doing. One of the biggest parts about that commercial and that whole campaign was what I just wanted to reach out, same as I’ve been doing since college, just reach out to the other hard-of-hearing and deaf community – kids I can relate to and who can relate to me.

“Just to help them and give them the motivation like I would have needed if I hadn’t had my parents. But the fact that it went way beyond [a commercial] was heartfelt and warming. Everybody has problems. Nobody is perfect. I wear a hearing aid, some people have glasses, some people have depression. Everybody has something. But as long as you don’t let that get in the way of what you want to do, you can do anything you want to do.”

A Super Bowl champion? Possibly. An inspiration? Absolutely.

20 comments
DiamondMask
DiamondMask

What nice little girls. Coleman is an inspiration. I hope he has a great game on Sunday.

SeymourWard
SeymourWard

Great story, great individual. God bless you Derrick Colemam!!!!

Paul Nelson
Paul Nelson

Derrick Coleman is a Super Bowl champion whether the Seahawks win on Sunday or not.  He's a class act.

Smokin1
Smokin1

thats keepen it real


Kingdeuce
Kingdeuce

Big Derrick Coleman fan. Heck of a football player and a very inspiring story.

Carndog
Carndog

I'm a Denver fan, but now also a Coleman fan.  Nice job young man!  Now, someone needs to get those girls in Coleman jerseys, not Sherman!!!!!

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

Even if Duracell got pitched in the process, there's nothing but goodness in this story.

Terry
Terry

Somehow, someway, someone will make Coleman out to be a thug for doing this.

I'm sure this forum's usual suspects are on the way...

hans k
hans k

To me it doesn't matter who wins, Seattle or Denver. I hope for the fans, it will be a great game. This is a great story, wel done mr.Coleman jr.!

jim5car
jim5car

mjmistele - I heard/read someplace else that he was the first deaf OFFENSIVE player, stated as a bigger deal than on defense because on O he can't hear snap counts, audibles, etc.  So there's the apparent dichotomy/confusion.

Lot's of fine young men on the Seahawks - the entire team.  Good lucky Sunday...

ChrisLund
ChrisLund

Great story, even better person!

Go Seahawks!!!

mjmistele
mjmistele

Coleman's story is a great one, as is his reaching out to these young fans.  However, the article's statement that he is "the only legally deaf player in the history of the league" may be incorrect.  Bonnie Sloan (defensive tackle for the Cardinals in the 1970s) and Kenny Walker (defensive lineman for the Broncos in the 1990s) were both also deaf players.

telemarkskier
telemarkskier

Yes!  Well done Mr. Coleman, and best of luck on Sunday!  

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@jim5car    Oh, and in Seattle, I doubt that even the LINE can hear the snap count :-)

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@jim5car   Since he's not on the line, he really doesn't need to hear the snap count. He just starts moving when he sees the play start.

Cool
Cool

@mjmistele  Thanks, I was pretty certain that Kenny Walker, who played college ball for Nebraska, was also legally deaf.  I don't think Mr Farrar did he research.  Either way this is still a nice story and inspiring.