Justin Coleman Flew 10,861 Miles Bouncing Between Patriots, Seahawks

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FOXBORO, Mass. — Justin Coleman is forgiven if he doesn’t want to hop back on a plane and fly across the country anytime soon.

The cornerback flew 10,861 miles last week as he bounced back and forth between the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots on the week of roster cutdowns.

The hectic stretch of travel started Aug. 30, when he was cut by the Vikings and flew back to Knoxville, Tenn., where he went to college.

When he cleared waivers on Sept. 1, the rookie cornerback flew to Seattle for a workout with the Seahawks, then returned to Knoxville on Sept. 2. Coleman then flew to Boston on Sept. 3 for a workout with the Patriots on Sept. 4, when he signed to New England’s active roster. Coleman was cut the next day, cleared waivers on Sept. 6 and flew back to Seattle to sign with the Seahawks’ practice squad.

Just when he thought he was settled, Coleman flew back to Boston on Sept. 9, when the Patriots signed him off the Seahawks’ practice squad. Coleman fittingly had a layover in Minnesota on his way back to Boston.

“Yeah, the past few weeks have been pretty hectic,” Coleman said Thursday. “I’ve been going back and forth across the United States, but it was a pretty good flight and pretty good experience going from one great team to another. I feel like I had a good opportunity to play at either team. I was glad the Patriots picked me up.”

The Tennessee product now has some job security, at least for the next couple weeks. When a team signs a player off another team’s practice squad, he takes up a roster spot for three weeks. Even if the Patriots cut Coleman, he still would be paid for three weeks and his roster spot couldn’t be filled.

So why are two of the NFL’s premier franchises playing tug-of-war over a 5-foot-11 cornerback who went undrafted just four months ago? His 6.61-second 3-cone drill at the NFL Scouting Combine certainly helps. Coleman also ran a 3.98-second short shuttle and a 4.53-second 40-yard dash, and had a 37.5-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump. He allowed receptions on 58 percent of his targets in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus.

“We felt like he?d give us good depth at that position,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday. “We?ll keep working with him. There?s some new learning, obviously, and acclimation of what we?re doing, but he seems pretty smart in terms of picking it up, works hard.

“Last week was kind of late in the week in terms of the preparation week by the time he got here. We?ll see what happens this week. I don?t know. But that will be up to him and how well he performs, how it goes out there. But he?s working hard, glad we have him, he?s a good player to work with.”

It was a wild week for Coleman, but it worked out in the end, as he found himself on the 53-man roster of the Super Bowl XLIX champions.

Thumbnail photo via Phil Sears/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Jan 2, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Justin Coleman (27) in the first quarter of the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at EverBank Field. The Tennessee Volunteers beat the Iowa Hawkeyes 45-28. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
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