Auburn offensive lineman Shon Coleman had a much different reason for walking into St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee Friday than he did back in 2010.
As a high school senior, Coleman started two years of chemotherapy at the hospital after being diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
The offensive lineman was back in his native city this weekend to watch the 2016 NFL Draft surrounded by his supporters at the hospital.
Coleman’s family and friends celebrated when the Cleveland Browns selected the tackle with the 76th overall pick. The 6-foot-5, 307-pounder was the first player from Auburn taken in this year’s draft.
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ESPN sent a video crew and reporter Kaylee Hartung to spend the day with Coleman at St. Jude’s. Hartung interviewed Coleman after he heard his name called on ESPN2.
“It’s awesome just to be back here so many kids man it’s unbelievable what this program is doing,” Coleman said. “Just to come back here and give back, let people see what I’m going through right now is inspirational for their journeys.”
Coleman left Auburn where he started 25 games the past two seasons with a year of eligibility left.
The lineman had to sit out many pre-draft events including the NFL combine and Auburn’s pro day as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn MCL. Coleman only missed one game last season (Idaho) after injuring his leg against Georgia, but doctors found a tear during a post-season examination.
Both ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay were complimentary of Coleman’s on the field talents and view him as a future starter at left tackle.
Kiper praised Coleman’s hand placement, footwork and size on the network’s broadcast while McShay offered an assessment of Coleman’s pass blocking skills.
“He really developed even though he comes from that Auburn offense,” McShay said. “Powerful upper body he latches on when he has good balance, he’s capable of steering defensive lineman and he really is relentless from start to finish.”