Sep 032010

Eagles safety Kurt Coleman

September 3 Philadelphia Daily News

“TWICE, KURT COLEMAN was just kinda standing there, minding his own business, and, hey – a football!

Coleman is a seventh-round rookie from Ohio State whose hard-hitting style and special-teams savvy probably had earned him an Eagles roster spot even before his scintillating two-touchdown first half in last night’s preseason finale, a 21-17 loss to the visiting New York Jets. But Coleman might play a long time in the NFL without fortune ever smiling on him again the way it smiled in this game.

First time, the Jets were running the 12th play of a drive that had started on their 2. Running back Joe McKnight careened into one of his blockers on first down from the Birds’ 35, and the ball popped free, bouncing high off the Lincoln Financial Field turf. Coleman picked it up in stride with no one in front of him. Jets quarterback Mark Brunell, who is nearing his 40th birthday, had the angle but not the wheels. In fact, the guy in the striped shirt did a better job of keeping up with Coleman as he romped down the left sideline 64 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 Eagles lead.

“The funny thing about it was, we had just worked on scooping and scoring 2 days before. So I just got low, scooped it up, high hands, and just ran. As soon as I saw it was [Brunell], I kind of coasted off and just relaxed a little bit,” Coleman said.

Next time, Jets were trying to move from their 1, down, 10-7. Fullback John Conner plunged into a big hole, but as he did, he tripped over a teammate’s foot. Conner hit the ground hard at the 8, and the ball squirted out again, and, again, right into the arms of Coleman. This time, he had to run only 8 yards to his right, but there was more traffic – Coleman lugged persistent would-be tackler David Clowney over the line with him, with 40 seconds left in the half, giving the Birds a 17-7 lead.

“It just popped up. Moses [Moise Fokou] was yelling to pitch it back, but I said, ‘I can’t do that; I’m going in for the touchdown,’ ” Coleman said.

That’s two unforced fumbles, two scoops, two Coleman touchdowns. The last one was reviewed to make sure Conner wasn’t down by contact; initial replays seemed to show Eagles defensive end Eric Moncur reaching out to tick Conner’s foot, but as more angles arrived, they showed the teammate trip, and Moncur grabbing air. The call stood.

Nobody can say whether this has ever happened in a preseason game before, because those records aren’t official, but we do know it has happened only once in a real NFL game – Nov. 28, 1948, Fred “Dippy” Evans scoring twice with fumbles for the Bears against the Redskins.

“My high school coach [Collin Abel, of Northmont High in Dayton, Ohio] just texted me, and he said, ‘Back to high school days, huh?’ ” said Coleman, who was a wideout for Northmont. “I haven’t had two touchdowns in a long, long time, so it was a good feeling.””

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