Welcome back to Forgotten Falcons, an offseason series we first began in 2019. It’s an opportunity to remember some quality players who have been largely forgotten by the fanbase over the years. Today, we remember one of the best defensive tackles in Falcons history: Roderick Dwayne Coleman.
Time in Atlanta: 2004-2007
Statistics as a Falcon: 49 games, 49 starts, 9 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 30 sacks, 31 tackles for loss
Rod Coleman signed with the Falcons before the 2004 season, arguably his best as a professional. He started his career in Oakland as a Raider. They converted him from linebacker to defensive tackle and the rest was history. Lucky for us, the Raiders decided to replace Coleman with Warren Sapp, a decision they’d live to regret. (Coleman, a former 5th round draft pick out of perennial football powerhouse East Carolina, actually opted out of the last 2 years of his rookie deal, but the Raiders allowed him to slip away in free agency.)
Coleman returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown against his former team in Week 14, helping the Falcons clinch their NFC South crown. Coleman racked up a career-high 11.5 sacks during that first season in Atlanta.
Coleman was joined by Jonathan Babineaux, a second round pick out of Iowa, along the defensive front during his second year in Atlanta. When Coleman was injured in a “watercraft accident” in May 2007, the Falcons had limited options. The NFL Draft had just wrapped. And spending a bunch of money in free agency didn’t make much sense either. With Coleman sidelined for an indefinite amount of time, the Falcons had to pass the torch. Babs was entering his third season as a professional and Coleman was in for a long rehab. Plus the Falcons drafted Babs to play same under tackle role Coleman played.
The Falcons released Coleman in February of 2008. He spent the next year getting healthy and signed with the Saints the following offseason. (They cut him before the 2009 season began and he subsequently retired.) In short, Coleman had an incredibly productive 3 years in Atlanta before his last season as a Falcon was derailed by injury. Shockingly Coleman only received a single Pro Bowl nod (2005).
What are your thoughts about this Falcons legend?