Derrick Coleman has been deaf since the age of three, but that didn’t stop him from achieving his dream of playing NFL football. On Sunday, February 2, Coleman and his team, the Seattle Seahawks will play in the Super Bowl.
Coleman’s story is certainly inspirational — he was signed by the Seahawks even though no team selected him in the 2012 NFL draft and the first team that signed him, the Minnesota Vikings, cut him from the team before the 2012 season started.
Coleman’s story was so uplifting that Duracell batteries, which of course makes batteries that power hearing aids such as those worn by Derrick Coleman, featured him in a recent commercial.
And it was that commercial that motivated 9-year-old Riley Kovalcik of New Jersey to write a letter to the running back, the first deaf player to play an offensive position in NFL history.
Here’s what Riley, who is hearing-impaired as is her twin sister, wrote to the Seahawks’ running back:
“Dear, my insperation Derrick Coleman
“I know how you feel. I also have hearing aids. Just try your best. I have faif in you Derrick good Job on January 20th game. Go seattle seahawks! here are things we have in comen.
“I where two hearing aids. I love sports.
“other things are I’m a identcal twin and my twin where’s one hearing aid too!”
Riley’s dad, Jake Kovalcik, wanted to get the handwritten letter to Derrick Coleman quickly, so he photographed it and sent it to the player via his Twitter account, as The Los Angeles Times reported.
— jake kovalcik (@JakeIsMobile) January 21, 2014
“The only reason I put the tweet out was so that he can get to see that he’s an inspiration for my kids,” the proud father told the New York Daily News. “I don’t think she’s ever written to anyone like that, ever.”
Coleman, who receives hundreds if not thousands of letters, saw the tweet and felt pretty inspired himself. So before a team practice last Wedensday as the Seahawks prepared for only the second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, the former UCLA star sat down and had-wrote his own letter to Riley.
“It means the world to them,” Coleman said. “It only took a couple of minutes of my time.”
He then snapped a picture of his own letter and tweeted it back to Riley’s dad.
@JakeIsMobile Your girls are awesome! Read them my letter back when you can! Thank you for the support! Means a lot! pic.twitter.com/9x5tQQwNbk
— Derrick Coleman Jr (@DC2forlife) January 22, 2014
Here’s what Derrick Coleman wrote to Riley Kovalcik.
“Dear Miss Kovalcik,
“Thanks for the letter. Really was great hearing from a friend who I have so much in common with. I aprciate you rooting for the Seahawks and me and hope you continue to do so when we play in the Superbowl!!!
“I want you to know that I always try my best in everything I do and have faith in you & your twin sister too. Even though we wear hearing aids, we can still accomplish our goals & dreams! If you or your family ever in seattle, I hope we can all get together & play some sports or games!
“Derrick L. Coleman Jr”
Needless to say, the letter sent the little girl — and her dad — over the moon.
“He’s been so successful,” Jake Kovalick said of Derrick Coleman. ” He’s somebody to look up to and he made her feel like hearing aids are cool.”