Eagles' Coleman relives his three picks from the past

Posted: October 20, 2011

BRENNEN GLASS could not escape Kurt Coleman.

Not on Sunday evening, after Coleman intercepted Rex Grossman three times in Washington. Not in their matchup 7 years ago, when Coleman intercepted Glass three times in a high school battle as juniors.

"I was watching 'SportsCenter,' and there he was, talking about it," Glass said Tuesday night. "I had, like, four interceptions that season. And he had three of them."

Coleman's three picks Sunday sparked an Eagles win and earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in only his sixth NFL start.

His three picks in 2004 off Glass, a future all-state passer in Ohio, secured a huge win for Clayton Northmont and cemented Coleman as a top recruit, helping to clear his path to Ohio State and professional football.

"He was one of the top quarterbacks in Ohio," Coleman said yesterday. "For us, it was about establishing our position and trying to make a name for ourselves by beating Springfield South."

The teams were undefeated. The game was rather heated.

Glass was eager to keep Springfield South near the top of the Ohio rankings. Coleman was determined to help C-N continue to rise in the eyes of the pollsters.

Coleman wasn't even playing his usual position. He had just moved from cornerback to safety, thanks, in part, to his breakout game in the season opener.

He helped C-N beat Chaminade-Julienne, a Catholic powerhouse in Dayton that featured current Titans backup running back Javon Ringer, just before Ringer went to Michigan State.

Coleman had 10 solo tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown.

Facing Glass and Luke Alexander 2 weeks later, Coleman's coaches decided to move him. The move seemed wise almost immediately, when Coleman snared a tip for his first pick of the day. C-N needed more.

"My coach said, 'I need you to get another one,' " Coleman recalled. "I was, like, 'I got you.' "

"I remember that game well," Glass said. "One of them was tipped, but I threw the other two right to him. Hit him right in the numbers."

That day, said Glass, he knew Coleman might be something special: "I knew if he got himself in the right situation, he would blow up."

There is plenty of room for continued growth for Coleman.

A seventh-round pick last season, Coleman finished the season starting in place of fellow rookie Nate Allen, a second-rounder who ruptured his right patellar tendon in the 14th game. Coleman also started Nov. 15 at Washington in place of Allen, who missed that game with a sprained neck. Coleman intercepted Donovan McNabb in that Eagles win.

Coleman won a starting safety spot out of training camp this season. Allen was not quite ready to return. Jaiquawn Jarrett, a second-rounder out of Temple, was not ready, period.

With players locked out of NFL facilities in the spring, Coleman spent the offseason rededicating himself to fitness.

"I needed to get my body ready to play for this long haul," Coleman said.

He visited Performance Enhancement Professionals in Scottsdale, Ariz., a cutting-edge training site run by former Canadian Olympic bobsledder Ian Danney.

He then returned to Ohio State, where he implemented Danney's regimen. Then he switched to a more conventional routine with the legion of Buckeyes who annually return to Columbus to train together.

Finally, Coleman joined several of his NFL peers at the Power Train site in Cherry Hill, N.J. The result: Coleman, 5-11, still weighs 195 pounds, but it is a more concentrated bulk . . . if not more effective.

Coleman was often hesitant and sometimes bewildered by new coordinator Juan Castillo's scheme. He also had the misfortune of playing behind an overmatched linebacker corps and of covering some of the league's top tight ends (Tony Gonzalez burned him in Atlanta).

So, Coleman was benched after three games this season. Allen joined journeyman Jarrad Page at safety.

Then Page was continually undressed, and, after a shoulder injury during the Eagles' loss at Buffalo, Page was replaced by Coleman Sunday. Page was healthy but did not dress.

Coleman was splendid. Spingfield South splendid.

He scrambled over and took away a first-quarter touchdown pass from tight end Fred Davis, who had beaten linebacker Jamar Chaney. Then, in the third quarter, he flashed in front of Davis at the Eagles' 5 and snagged another pick, a play that saved at least three points. His third interception was a floater from a scrambling Grossman late in the third quarter . . . Grossman's final pass of the game, since he was benched for John Beck.

Beck will replace Grossman as the Redskins' starter Sunday at Carolina.

Grossman also was intercepted by Allen, but it's as if Coleman single-handedly benched the quarterback from the team leading the NFC East in favor of a 5-year veteran who has played in six games.

This week, Coleman can watch Beck and the Redskins at his leisure. The Eagles have a bye. Coleman is back in Ohio, his head spinning from a dizzying season.

"It's pretty amazing. It still hasn't sunk in yet," he said. "It's been a whirlwind of a week."

With so much time on his hands, maybe Coleman can catch up with Glass.

A senior pitcher at Kent State, Glass has baseball bloodlines. His father, Tim, was a first-round pick by the Indians in 1976 and spent 10 seasons as a catcher in the minors.

Glass managed only nine appearances this past season. He is recovering from surgery to relieve pressure from the ulnar nerve in his right elbow and cannot throw for another 3 weeks.

His journey from high school stud QB as a junior to this point has not exactly been as smooth as Coleman's. Glass redshirted for football his first season at Grand Valley State, a Division II powerhouse in Michigan, but played baseball. The next football season, he was a backup quarterback as a redshirt freshman. He again played baseball that year.

He then transferred to Kent State, where he had to sit out a year as a transfer to the Division I school. As a senior last season, he went 4-1 with a 3.27 earned run average. He hopes to be recovered enough by the spring to get a sniff at pro ball.

Throughout, Glass has followed Coleman. The pair were baseball standouts in high school, too.

"I've given him shout-outs when he was in college," Glass said. "I followed him through Ohio State, and since. We weren't great friends or anything, but we know each other, sure."

"Yeah, we've stayed in contact - texts and stuff," Coleman said. "I've followed his baseball stuff."

"I have to tell you," Glass said. "I'm really happy for him."

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