BY Art Thiel 12:50PM 06/10/2014

Thiel: Seahawks FB Coleman busts a fine move

Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman, known worldwide for a compelling TV commercial and his work with the hearing-impaired, had an appreciation of his own to offer Sunday night.

Derrick Coleman was again an inspiration.  / Wiki Commons

As part of a team that won a Super Bowl, as well as becoming an international inspiration to the hearing-impaired community, Seahawks fullback and special teamer Derrick Coleman has had a remarkable share of big moments lately.

He had a small moment Sunday that meant as much as anything to him, and to those who witnessed it. Aboard an Alaska Airlines flight heading into Seattle, where he would resume practice Monday, Coleman, whose Duracell commercial has 22.5 million YouTube visits, had a comfy first-class seat — a good thing when you’re six feet and 233 pounds.

Coleman, who grew up knowing a little something about being overlooked,  stopped reading his iPad and saw a young Marine waiting for the rest room. Coleman stood and shook his hand and chatted.

“As a kid, I always wanted to be an Air Force pilot, but that wasn’t going to happen, and I turned to athletics,” Coleman said Monday after practice. “I think about people in the armed forces, especially around Memorial Day, and how much they’re sacrificing so we can maintain our good lives.”

Coleman said he asked the Marine to take his first-class seat. Coleman would take his coach seat. The young man smiled and said no, he couldn’t do that. Coleman kept talking.

“He said his name was Stoney,” Coleman said. “He was in the Navy, and switched to the Marines. He had a leave. I told him what he was doing was hard work, and what I was doing was fun, and I was getting paid well for it.

“I asked him if he would allow me to give him this small appreciation for what he’s doing for me and all of us. Hey, it’s just a couple of hours in an airplane.”

Stoney sheepishly agreed. They switched seats.

“After we landed, he waited for me at the gate to thank me,” he said. “I gave him an autograph. One of the flight attendants handed me a note and said with all the good food and drinks, he never stopped smiling the whole flight.”

A fellow passenger, who also couldn’t stop smiling and had to tell someone, called me.

The Tribe of Twelves grew by at least one Sunday night. Had nothing to do with a big thing like a scoreboard.


  • Steve


    Thanks to the Marine for his service and kudos to Derrick Coleman. Well done.

    • art thiel

      For every athlete who misbehaves, remember there are many more like Derrick Coleman.

  • K.j. Hinton

    An exceptional young man.

  • Greg

    Damn fine!! It doesn’t get any more human!

    • art thiel

      Simple gestures. Always the best.

  • Howie Seago

    Derrick just scored even bigger on my scoreboard. Thanks, Art for shining the light even more on a classy guy.

    • art thiel

      Good to hear from you, Howie. You’re welcome.

  • YoungMi

    Wonderful !!!!

  • John

    Coleman is a class act. My daughter is deaf and attended the parade with a group of her friends. She got a great picture of Derrick signing with them as he passed and posted it online. Derrick replied to it and really made her day. A few weeks ago she was also invited (along with others from school) to meet him at an event and she got to have a quick chat with him while getting his autograph. He is a great inspiration to not only the deaf community but to others with difficult situations to work through. Stories like this prove what a stand up man he is.

    • art thiel

      Coleman understands well what he means to many others and has embraced the responsibility. And as you can see, it goes beyond the hearing-impaired.

  • Dan Galvin

    I agree with your perspective Art on how Derrick transcends being defined solely by his hearing impairment. I am not hearing impaired, nor is any of my family, yet I am inspired by his perseverance, his indomitable spirit, his work ethic and his humility. I live in Illinois, and I am definitely not a Seahawks fan, but I am a fan a character…and of Derrick Coleman.

    • art thiel

      Dan, thanks for writing. Good to hear from a sports fan who can set aside the standard passions and appreciate an athlete’s character.

  • Jackie

    One of many fine men in the Seahawks organization – you know his momma is proud!

  • Pebbles

    What a class act!

  • captainjack65

    Derrick you are not just an inspiration to the hearing impaired but an inspiration to all us who sorely need a first class modern day hero. You are a great role model for the youth of this generation as well as us old timers. You gave UCLA alumnae another reason to be mighty proud of you, You young man are a class act.

    • art thiel

      Well said, captain.

  • Daharsh

    I have never been a pro anything fan. But I must say. After my years in the service. I know that changing of the seat ment more then anything.people forget freedom is not free. Thank you two11th man. You just grew one more 12th man

    • art thiel

      It’s remarkable how small kindnesses resonate with so many.

  • Nacho31

    Love the story!! Good to know that athletes still care about others and that it actually makes the news.

  • Regina Branham

    Derrick does it from his heart – He’s a big guy – but, his heart is bigger…..

  • Christine Holland Cosgrove

    Stony Wall, I don’t think I ever heard you described as “sheepish!” Love that someone could do this for you buddy, you deserve it.