Lanier Coleman aiming for Jets roster after four-year journey

Lanier Coleman, right, stuck with the Jets after the rookie minicamp earlier this month. Credit: Getty Images
Lanier Coleman, right, stuck with the Jets after the rookie minicamp earlier this month.
Credit: Getty Images

Lanier Coleman is a 26-year-old rookie trying to make the Jets after more than three years out of football. It is a second chance for the massive defensive lineman after he thought his playing days were done.

Coleman was invited to Vikings minicamp in 2009 after a solid career at Louisiana-Lafayette. He did well in minicamp but not enough to earn an invite to their training camp a month later so Coleman packed his bags and returned to Louisiana to coach high school football. The following spring he played in the Arena Football League, but figured he had hung up the helmet and pads for good when he took an intern position at Louisiana-Lafayette in their weight room.

He stocked protein, racked the weights and cleaned the weight benches. In short, he did the grunt work around the weight room, but he ended up falling in love with the job. He always pictured himself as a coach “but I really got into the intensity and passion of the weight room.”

His thankless efforts did not go unnoticed and in the spring of 2010, Coleman went to Rice University in Houston where he served as assistant strength coach for baseball, football, golf, tennis and swimming. He began to learn more about handling athletes and training them in addition to the administrative side of things. When an opportunity came along a year later to take a similar position at Cal, Coleman hopped on board.

It was there that Chris DiSanto, the Golden Bears’ assistant strength and conditioning coach who is now with the Browns, noticed Coleman’s passion for the game.

“I was at practice, getting excited about practice, jumping around and one of my coworkers, Mr. DiSanto, said that ‘I can tell you still have a fire for this game.’ My thing was, I didn’t have any connections,” Coleman said.

It had been three years since Coleman had played in the Arena Football League and four years since he stepped foot on a football field at the NFL level in Minnesota’s minicamp. His defensive line coach at the Vikings was Karl Dunbar, who became the Jets’ defensive line coach last year. DiSanto pushed Coleman to reach out and see if any opportunities existed.

Coleman felt if he had made an impression on Dunbar four years ago he would have heard from the respected position coach already. He hadn’t, so he assumed Dunbar wouldn’t be interested.

“I felt like if coach Dunbar wanted me, he’d seek me out. But Mr. DiSanto said that I should reach out, show him that I want it,” Coleman said. “So I reached out to him and he reached out to me and we talked. I was shocked because I figured he’d be swamped with people wanting to get to him and he wouldn’t have the time for me. He told me he might have an opportunity for me but that I’d have to bring my A game.

“He was very honest with me. That’s the great thing about him. He’s not only a great coach, he’s a great man as well.”

So Coleman packed his bags and headed to New Jersey as a tryout player in the Jets’ rookie minicamp. Nothing was guaranteed but it was an opportunity he had to take.

It was a worthwhile gamble as he impressed the Jets, especially on the second and third day of minicamp. He played inside at the 3-technique but showed great pursuit and chased down the ball from sideline-to-sideline. Not surprisingly, conditioning wasn’t an issue for him. After the morning workout he looked like he wanted to go out for an afternoon session as well.

That Sunday, the Jets called Coleman up to their office and based off his performance he was offered a contract. It was the contract that had eluded him four years earlier and had led him down this path, from high school football coach to college intern to assistant strength coach.

And now, maybe he will have a spot as an NFL player.

“The huge thing was my effort, my effort and learning the defense as quick as I did; that’s what they liked. The first day was a struggle but the thing was my effort. It stuck out. That’s one thing I’ve always hung my hat on is my work ethic,” Coleman said. “Now I need to make them believe that I’m a great football player as well. It’s been a long way to get here. I just want to help them win games however I can.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates and photos from Jets minicamp this week.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

South Korea ferry disaster: captain's actions 'tantamount to…

The captain and some crew members of the sunken South Korean passenger ferry Sewol have been accused of 'murderous acts' by their own president, after…

News

Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…

News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.