As part of the NFL's Legends initiative, former Atlanta Falcons players had an opportunity to attend a reception before the Thursday Night Football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Earlier in the season, as part of the NFL's Legends initiative, former Atlanta Falcons players had an opportunity to reunite at a reception before the Thursday Night Football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The anticipated reunion provided us a chance to catch up with some of the best players in franchise history, including former defensive tackle Rod Coleman.
Coleman signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2004 after five seasons with the Oakland Raiders. The defensive tackle made the most of his four years in Atlanta, admitting his favorite memory came in year one with the club.
"The playoff run we had in 2004 is my greatest memory," Coleman said. "It was my first year here with the team and being able to go to the playoffs and bringing happiness to the city was truly a blessing."
During that memorable 2004 season, the 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive tackle received a gift every lineman dreams about — the opportunity to score a touchdown and doing so against his former team. Facing the Raiders in Week 14, Coleman intercepted Oakland quarterback Kerry Collins and returned it 39 yards for the score. He paced Atlanta that season with 10.5 sacks to help the Falcons finish 11-5. The club later advanced to the NFC Championship Game before falling to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Coleman played for the Falcons from 2004-2007 and along the way earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl accolades. He was named player of the week and player of the month (October) in 2005. His proudest off-the-field achievement was creating Angels Academy of Atlanta during his playing career, and he continues to serve as a positive influence by visiting the students at the school. As for the current Falcons squad, Coleman is optimistic and all in with the team's slogan.
"The Falcons are Atlanta," Coleman said. "If we keep winning and keep making the city happy, the fan base will keep growing. We're trying to get everybody to rise up."