Nearly two years ago, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman was passed over in the 2012 NFL Draft, casting serious doubt on his future in pro football. On Sunday, the NFL’s first legally deaf offensive player will play in the NFC Championship game.
Coleman, 23, is now starring in “Trust Your Power,” a viral advertising campaign for Duracell. The powerful commercial depicts Coleman’s rise from a bullied youth who coaches labeled a “lost cause” to a spot on an NFL roster.
“They didn’t call my name. They told me it was over,” Coleman said in the commercial. “But I’ve been deaf since I was 3, so I didn’t listen. And now I’m here, with the loudest fans in the NFL cheering me on, and I can hear them all.”
Coleman’s route to the NFL was far from conventional. The 6-foot, 230-pound fullback enjoyed a standout career at UCLA, including an 11-touchdown campaign as a senior. Despite his collegiate success, Coleman went undrafted.
But in 2012, Coleman signed with the Seahawks, and a strong preseason earned him a spot on the team’s 53-man roster. He remains a backup to starting fullback Michael Robinson, but scored his first touchdown in Week 13 of this season against the New Orleans Saints.
In an interview with Sporting News, Coleman explained how he came to star in Duracell’s “Trust Your Power” campaign. “They came to me, and said they liked my story, and I said 'OK', I want to join up,” he said. “I just hope to inspire people, especially children, to trust the power within and achieve their dreams.”
The 49ers will travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in this Sunday’s NFC Championship game, which will air on Fox at 6:30 p.m. ET. Coleman’s spot in Duracell’s “Trust Your Power” commercial campaign can be viewed below.