Longtime Eskimos, Riders offensive lineman Thaddeus Coleman not ready to retire

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Veteran American offensive lineman Thaddeus Coleman has played professional football since 2008 and he’s not planning on retiring.

“A lot of people have been asking me: ‘is it time to hang up the cleats?’ A lot of guys that I played ball with, a lot of coaches, even guys I went to college with, asking me about: ‘are you ready to get into coaching? Are you ready to hang up the cleats?'” Coleman said on The Rod Pedersen Show.

“Everybody’s just asking me so I just put out a Tweet so I could end it just like that. So I can let the people know I’m not ready yet.”

Coleman started his career north of the border in 2013 with Edmonton and left for Saskatchewan after winning a Grey Cup with the Eskimos in 2015. The 34-year-old has spent seven seasons in the CFL, including 92 games played.

“I take care of myself. Since high school when I started getting into working out and started learning about that. Started learning about what you should be eating, especially as you get older — this game you don’t play that long,” Coleman said.

“My body adjusts and it adapts very quickly to injury. We play a physical game. If you train yourself hard enough you can bounce back from an injury or just being hurt very fast. That’s just the name of the game if you want to play very long.”

The six-foot-seven, 320-pounder played NCAA football at Mississippi Valley State University where he was selected to the Southwestern Athletic Conference first-team two times (2006 and 2007). He prepared his body for a lengthy pro career and it’s turned out that way.

“Unfortunately, it’s two-and-a-half to three years on average that you’re in professional football. Guys don’t really think about well what if I play seven, eight, 10 years? They don’t really get past that three-year mark,” Coleman said.

“You can’t always think about the right now, you gotta think about the future. I want to play 12, 15 years — I want to keep going. Guys don’t want to take care of themselves. A lot of guys go down and they don’t come back and that’s because there body wasn’t ready for that injury to occur.”

Last season Coleman started 17 games at right tackle for the Riders and lined up there for the West Division Final against Winnipeg. He was a reliable protector on the front side for right-handed quarterback Cody Fajardo.  Despite a successful season, Coleman remains a free agent.

“I’ve talked to a few teams and it is money right now. The cap is killing a lot of guys right now because so little guys are getting paid big amounts of money and it’s not leaving a lot of room for guys like me,” Coleman said.

“It’s tough right now but it’s a wait and see thing. Everybody has to figure out their roster before training camp and during training camp, so I gotta wait and see, that’s all I can do right now.”

Saskatchewan appears to be trying to go younger along the offensive line. The Riders re-signed 28-year-old Takoby Cofield prior to free agency even though he only suited up in four games during the 2019 campaign. Meanwhile, 25-year-old Terran Vaughn held down the left side for the green and white with 15 starts a year ago.

“It’s really not about the money. I play the game because I love the game, I have a passion for this game, I love learning, I love to teach about this game,” Coleman said.

“It’s playing for the love of the game. It’s about playing ball, playing in front of your family, playing for your friends. That’s what I get from it myself.”