Remember the Time: An Interview with Marcus Coleman
Marcus Coleman: An Original Texan
It is not often when you get to come back to your home state to be apart of a new beginning and new NFL Franchise. The Houston Texans in the 2002 expansion draft selected the New York Jets, Marcus Coleman who was going into his 7th season in the NFL. With that selection Coleman was one of the “original” Texans that started the foundation for the Texans’ history to come.
Coleman a native of Dallas, went to Lake Highlands High School and attended Texas Tech University and paved his way to the NFL by being drafted in 1996 in the 5th round (133rd pick overall) by the New York Jets. He spent six seasons with the Jets, three with the Houston Texans and his final professional season, 2006, with the Dallas Cowboys.
His 11 year career amassed over 400 solo tackles, 25 interceptions, and 2 touchdowns and started 102 of his 152 games played. He played 58 career games for the Texans and started all but four of those games. He is tied for second on the Texans franchise’s leaders in interceptions (11) list and still holds the Texan single season interception record with 7 in 2003.
Tale of the Tape
Jersey #: 42
D.O.B: May 24, 1974
High School: Lake High Lands (Dallas, TX)
College: Texas Tech University
Drafted: 1996, 5th Round (133rd overall)
NFL Teams: New York Jets (1996-2001), Houston Texans (2002-2005), Dallas Cowboys (2006)
First of all how are things going?
Things are going well. I’m co-hosting a show on KCOH 1430 AM every Sun 5-6 pm with Craig Shelton. I’m 1560 The Game every Friday at 10:30 with David Nuno, doing spots on ESPN, and other side endeavors. I write a blog called The Bump and Run and watching the kiddos grow up.
Who was the most influential person in your life growing up?
Didn’t have just one influential person in my life. My parents were for sure, but they were young as well so it was like kids raising a kid. My grandmothers were a huge influence as well. Between watching my parents and my grandmother’s, the hard work they put in to take care of the family, the advice they gave is something you can’t put a price on.
Have you had a defining moment in your life that made you who you are today?
I can’t say I had one moment that defines who I am. I’ve always been a hard worker, never thought things were easy, and always looked for the next challenge, as I continue to do. It’s been that way my entire life.
Being from Dallas, Texas can you tell me what it meant to go from high school to Texas Tech University?
Going from high school to college was exciting; I looked at it as a challenge. I knew the talent I was blessed with, I also knew playing at the college level others had the same talent. So I fell back on what I know, never being out worked. That summer I went from 180 lbs to 205 lbs, did every drill imaginable, and ran myself till I couldn’t any more. Also, being able to play in the Southwest Conference, a conference with so much history and has produced some of the greatest players ever was special.
What pride do you have to be a “Red Raider” that made it to the NFL?
Being a Red Raider is special. We don’t consider ourselves Pre-Madonna’s. Myself and the guys I played with always wanted to beat the odds, be the underdogs, and accepted any challenge given to us. We relished that, we also knew respect is earned not given, so we did everything we could to take it.
When did you realize that you had a real chance to make it to the NFL?
Honestly I didn’t think about the NFL till the end of my sophomore year heading to my junior year. Even with the guys we had there who had the chance to go like Lloyd Hill, Bam Morris, and Tracy Saul, it wasn’t an actual thought until I heard the whispers, agents started calling my parents etc. At that point I realized it was a real possibility.
You get drafted in the 5th round by the New York Jets in the 1996 NFL Draft, explain that day.
That day was bitter sweet to me. I thought I should have gone the first day. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. I felt there were guys that went ahead of me I knew I was better than. The only player in that class I felt was as versatile or as tough as me was Brian Dawkins. Actually we were pretty much the same. Very good special teams players, very good tacklers, he was a little faster, but I was a better cover man. When I got the call, I was very excited. I now had more to prove than before. I was ready for that.
How was your six seasons with the New York Jets?
My years with the Jets were amazing. Loved the organization. Mr. Leon Hess was the owner at that time. Wonderful man and owner. My rookie year was pretty rough being we went 1-15. When Bill Parcells came he changed the culture of our team. The talent was there, but it was lacking in other areas. I played both safety and corner, learned the game from guys like Lonnie Young, Gary Jones, Mo Lewis, Aaron Glenn and Otis Smith. I had an opportunity to play in the 1998-1999 AFC Championship game, Monday Night Miracle, but the best part of that was the talent we faced every weekend. Jerry Rice, Andre Reed, Chris Carter, Marshall Faulk, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, and more. Not only just playing against them, but beating them as well. Knowing we faced some of the best and beat them, not just once, or every now and then, but consistently was great.
2002 rolls around and the expansion draft was fixing to take place, do you have any idea you might be picked in the draft?
When the 2002 draft came around, I had an idea I would be taken. Herm Edwards was the coach then and both myself and Aaron (Glenn) knew a culture change was coming. Business is part of the game, when it happened I wasn’t surprised.
What were your thoughts then on being apart of the first team in Texans franchise history? When you look back at that time are the feelings different?
I was excited to be a part of a new franchise. Football was back in Houston, teaming up with players from other successful teams, making our own mark in the game. My feelings on that haven’t changed. Very thankful that Mr. McNair, Coach Capers, and Charlie Casserly, chose me as part of the group to represent the Texans.
Did having Aaron Glenn coming with you from New York help the transition?
Aaron and I coming together made the transition very easy. We knew each other’s style, thoughts and I knew what kind of player, teammate and friend I had on the other side. We didn’t have to start over, get used to each other, or change the scheme. All we had to do was what we were already doing.
Did you have a sense of expectations coming back to your home state?
The only expectations I had were to keep playing well and bring our past success of winning to this franchise. We knew the franchise was new and no one had any real expectations of us. However, I, Aaron, Jamie Sharper, Gary Walker, Seth Payne, and Coach Capers himself, expected more from us
What was it like hanging up the cleats for the final time?
Hanging up the cleats in the beginning was tough. Hanging with the fells, the competition, the physical aspects, the game within the game, I missed it. Still miss it some. Once I took it all in, accepted it, I looked forward to the next chapter and new challenges in my life.
What was your most memorable game as an NFL player?
The most memorable games would have to be the Monday Night Miracle and winning the opening game against Dallas as a Texan. That Monday night game was definitely special. To come back and win after being down that much was amazing. Beating the Cowboys was just as amazing. Of course, they thought it would be a walk in the park, but we knew we could play with them, and had enough talent to beat them.
Which NFL player contributed most to your growth? Also, which player did you take under your wing as a veteran?
I would say Aaron (Glenn) and Otis Smith were the most influential to my growth. They taught me a lot about the game, playing the corner position, and both worked very hard, which helped me to continue to work hard. It was a pleasure learning from them. As far as players I took under my wing, there was no specific person. When Dunta Robinson and Jason Bell were here, I would help them the most because we played the same position. I tried to pass the game on to all the younger guys. Besides wanting them to learn the game, be better players, I felt it was my duty and responsibility to pay it forward.
Looking back on your NFL experience, what did you take from it?
I took many things from my experience in the NFL. Co-existing with different personalities, the depth and understanding of the game from an X’s and O’s perspective, and understanding the business side as well. For 11 years, I was in the “best of the best” class. The 1% of players that made it and played at a high level in the NFL. Regardless of talent, in the end working hard, working smart, accepting the challenge no matter how small or how big, it can be conquered.
If you could give advice to someone that you think could help them, what would you say?
My advice to someone would be, work hard, don’t be afraid of challenges, know your limitations without selling yourself short, and be true to yourself.