Recommended Reads: ‘No Excuses’ tells story of deaf Seahawk player

Wendy Kendall with Derrick Coleman Jr. at Third Place Books.

No Excuses, by Derrick Coleman Jr. with Marcus Brotherton

Derrick Coleman is No. 40, a fullback for the Seahawks and part of the Super Bowl XLVIII championship team. He made history by becoming the first deaf offensive player in the NFL. He tackled Trindon Holliday at the 12-yard line on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII — getting the game started right, I’d say. And the rest is history, including the first Super Bowl Championship team that included a deaf player.

All Twelves, and football fans, will enjoy his new memoir book. It’s so interesting to read about his childhood and his progression from Pop Warner, to High School football, and then trying to get into the NFL, and then the story about what it was like to be in that Super Bowl! But that is just the icing on the cake, because this book brings to life so much more than just football.

I had the privilege of meeting Derrick Coleman Jr. at his recent book signing at Third Place Books. His memoir is written is such a conversational and personal way, that when I met him I felt an instant connection through what I’d read. Mixed into the life stories are life lessons that feel so sincere and embraceable. This isn’t a book that preaches at you what you should do; it takes your hand and shows you what works. He shows you the importance of having goals and pursuing them.

This book is about a man who persevered to overcome in a big way his obstacle of being deaf. That has been an incredible inspiration for so many in the deaf community – kids and adults. I would never discount that. Standing in line at the book signing, I was surrounded by so many people who told me how inspired they are by the hope that he’s shown them. Yet, as he says himself, we all have obstacles that we have to overcome to achieve our goals. He has written a book of sincere and plain-spoken inspiration for anyone who has ever dreamed and been told they couldn’t do that.

I can tell you that in person, Derrick Coleman Jr. is a humble, caring and compelling man. His whole face and demeanor lights up around kids, and he’s given back to kids in many ways. In a recent interview, this UCLA graduate told kids, “The sky’s the limit for you; I’m nobody special. If I can make it to college, y’all can too. Don’t have any excuse. Whatever it is you want to do, do it. Have fun and don’t worry about other people.” Coleman has confronted even more than the one obstacle in his life, and he’s learned many things from his struggles, that he’s now sharing. His sense of humor has softened life’s blows, and adds to this engaging read.

For you football fans, there are some tantalizing stories you’ll enjoy. His memoir is about such recent history, you’ll recognize many of the people included. Thankfully Coleman has recovered from his foot injury, says he’s feeling good, and participated in all of Seattle’s organized team activities, which are now done. All indications are that he’s preparing for his second season as the Seahawks’ likely starter at fullback. As always, Coleman takes nothing for granted.

If Derrick Coleman Jr. was signing off from this recommendation, he’d say to you – Be Great!!

I’ll add, Go Hawks!

Thereby hangs a tale . . . .

— By Wendy Kendall

Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.

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