Erik Coleman, former New York Jet, had his sights set on broadcasting long before his current job in broadcast journalism.

Coleman, the Jets’ free safety and former 5th round pick from the 2004 NFL draft, says one of the things he found most surprising about his introduction to the NFL was how much playing professional football was like going to school.

“…the amount of knowledge that you had to attain and then apply on the fly was something that was very surprising to me,” Coleman explained. “I didn’t realize how much studying and communication went into playing at the NFL level.”

His degree in communications came in handy in his post-football life. Two years after his NFL retirement, Coleman became an on-air analyst for SportsNet New York in 2014. From there he went on to call college football games for the Pac-12 network, CBS Sportsnet, as well as hosting a show for the Jets on CBS New York with Steve Overmyer. He works as a co-host on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Sunday Morning Kickoff, with Jeff Rickard, and appears on Jets 360.

He recounts feeling bitter towards the sport immediately following his retirement, but credits football for the opportunities he’s had later in his career.

“Football has always been great to me and it continues to bless me after the game,” he says.

According to Coleman, one of the biggest struggles he’s faced in the broadcasting world is having to critique players who are currently in positions he once was. He uses his communication skills to make sure it’s clear that he’s not critiquing the players as people, but rather their performances week to week.

“I’m not going to tell someone that this player is terrible because all players that make it to that level are elite,” he explains. “They’re the best of the best.”

Life Beyond Football

Playing and analyzing football is what Coleman is known best for, but he says his real talent and passion lies in helping people in need. In particular, Coleman prides himself on helping people and their families deal with drug and alcohol addiction through Guardian Recovery Network.

“I connected with the Guardian Recovery Network to help individuals and their families going through drug and alcohol addiction. I speak to high school kids, families, even individuals going through or who are affected by drug addiction; try to help them with resources. If they’re going through struggles at home, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have choices,” Coleman said.

Battling addiction is a cause that is near and dear to Coleman’s heart due to his upbringing.

“I grew up in a home where drug and alcohol abuse were prevalent,” Coleman explains. “And sharing my story with people, I think, really opens up their eyes and gives them an opportunity to understand that there are people who care about them.”

To learn more about Erik Coleman’s addiction advocacy, or to get addiction treatment help for yourself or a loved one, contact Guardian Recovery Network online or call 877-831-2533.