By Ronald Guy
Monte Coleman was the epitome of the unheralded, blue-collar and over-achieving teams of the Joe Gibbs era in the 1980s and early 1990s. An 11th-round draft pick by the ‘Skins in 1979, Coleman carved out a 16-year career in D.C., played in the second most games in team history and won three Super Bowls.
Coleman, an athletically gifted linebacker, never started more than 11 games in a season, excelling instead as a situational pass rusher and a coveted, team-first super-sub on a bunch of elite ‘Skins teams. Truth be told, there are a lot of NFL teams Coleman could have started and starred for during his career, but he was consistently asked to sacrifice and accept a role beneath his talent — something he did with rare grace and professionalism.
True to his lack of look-at-me flash, Coleman’s indelible image isn’t of a play or tacky touchdown dance: It is of him standing on the field before every ‘Skins game, face stoic and determined, with his helmet held high. For me and for many ‘Skins fans, it is a cherished memory of when the team was like family and a source of civic pride.
Sitting down for a beer-side chat with Coleman would be an absolute thrill. I’d want to hear all about his journey, how he managed a 16-year career from the 11th-round and the source of his unwavering motivation, sense of team and pride in his work. In the end, something tells me I would leave the conversation not as an awestruck fan, but as a man with several “go-dos” to be a better person. Oh, and the one thing I’d have to ask? It would be to simply get a photo with him holding a ‘Skins helmet overhead.
The Dangerous One
Hmmmmm......in no particular order....1. Sammy Baugh 2. Sonny 3. Riggins 4. Monte Coleman 5. Dexter Manley Honorable mention to Jack Kent Cooke, Joe Gibbs and Joe Bugel.....Great article!!! Interesting....
Riggo...the toughest cut for sure. He was #6 only because I feel like he's already been my drinking buddy for 30 years and counting.
Um, hello!? Riggins! He might be a Top 5 beer man for any team.