FLOWERY BRANCH, GA —Erik Coleman has the type of personality that draws people in. It seems the only thing that's missing in his life is a camera.
Coleman is trying to change that. The seven-year veteran safety still has plenty of years left on the football field, but he has an eye toward the future.
After all, football doesn't last forever.
"There's a lot of benefits that come with the NFL, and I think it's very important to take advantage of those, so when you're done your not sitting there like 'What am I going to do now?' " Coleman said. "All of those people that are working have a head start on you. You have to do all you can in the offseason to better yourself."
When the opportunity presented itself for Coleman to do an internship at WXIA in Atlanta, he didn't hesitate to take the time out and continue learning more about the trade he focused on in college at Washington State.
During his time with WXIA, Coleman really honed in on learning all the details that go into being an on-camera personality. It's not just about showing up and talking into a camera.
"I learned just everything," Coleman said. "How to dress, how to sit in your chair, how to speak and how to be enthusiastic — all of those little things that you wouldn't learn just watching television."
Getting into broadcasting wasn't always Coleman's focus. Being a football player was obviously his top goal, but if that didn't work out, he wanted to become an FBI agent or get involved in law enforcement at some level.
In college, he became more exposed to the media and the intricacies involved with bringing people news every day and he fell in love with it.
Around his teammates, Coleman is known as the type of player that can illustrate points well and present different ideas — a perfect combination for television.
"He's a great speaker, very open, a nice people person and he's comfortable in front of the camera," fellow safety Thomas DeCoud said. "His best attribute is his knowledge of the game, and he'll be able to break things down and point out things that people might not see."
Perhaps that's the one thing that outweighs Coleman's prowess in front of a camera. His football knowledge, according to his teammates, is at an extremely high level. And not just at his position.
Coleman has a mind for the entire game, and he's hoping that one day, he's able to share that knowledge with a large audience and open viewers' eyes to the different aspects of the game.
He may not be ready for prime time just yet, though. Coleman freely admits that he has a lot of things he needs to work on, and he's proactively trying to improve the areas he feels are weaknesses right now. He said he needs to get more comfortable reading off a teleprompter and become more confident in his delivery.
But while it's still a work in progress, Coleman feels the extra work is all worth it if it means he can have a life whenever his football career ends.
"I just want to prepare myself for after football. ... You have to do all you can right now to prepare," Coleman said. "You never know when this wonderful dream is going to end."