Detroit Lions' Erik Coleman Talks NFL Lockout and His New Team (B/R Exclusive)

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterMarch 19, 2011

FLOWERY BRANCH, GA - JULY 30:  Erik Coleman #26 of the Atlanta Falcons runs drills during opening day of training camp on July 30, 2010 at the Falcons Training Complex in Flowery Branch, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Detroit Lions safety Erik Coleman is training hard and excited for the opportunity to play with Louis Delmas and the rest of his new teammates in the upcoming season.

That is, If there is an upcoming season.

Coleman was nice enough to take the time away from the NFL player meetings in Marco Island, Fla. to talk with Bleacher Report about the current labor situation, his offseason plans and his new team/teammates.

On the Current Lockout and Labor Disagreement Between Owners and Players:

Coleman says the lockout hasn't changed his day-to-day life as of yet. Normally, this would be the time of the year that players would be working out on their own anyway and getting ready for the season.

He says that hasn't changed, even with the season in jeopardy.

"Financial transparency is the biggest issue," Coleman said. "They're asking us for more money, they should provide the information that says they need that money."

Still, the goal for Coleman and the rest of the NFL players, he says, is football.

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"Players can't lock themselves out, we want to play," he said.

Regardless of the back-and-forth between the two sides—especially in the media—Coleman says he personally doesn't have any animosity toward the owners and doesn't believe any other players do as well.

He did however intimate that players feel disrespected by ownership and by league executives like Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash. Coleman pointed to "non-truths" from the league offices as an example of the lack of respect for players.

All that aside, Coleman said he doesn't want to let things get "too personal", and that this is just business (writer's note: something fans would be well to remember as well). He even went so far as to call the Detroit Lions—and its ownership—a great organization.

On His Offseason Training Plans:

Currently, Coleman is training at Bommarito Performance Systems in North Miami Beach, Fla. If a fan of the NFL or the NFL draft hasn't heard of BPS, he/she is not listening close enough.

Last year, BPS trained top combine performers such as Jason Pierre-Paul, Bruce Campbell and Jimmy Graham. This year, DeMarcus Van Dyke ran the combine's fastest 40-yard dash after training there.

The incoming rookies are in good company. Alongside Coleman, he estimated more than 30 NFL players who are training together at BPS, including several Pro Bowl-caliber athletes.

Coleman will continue to train at Bommarito during the lockout since players are, literally, locked out of team facilities until the current labor disagreement is over. That could be as soon as April 6, when a federal judge will hear Brady v. NFL, a class-action lawsuit filed by NFL players in order to lift the lockout and allow players to practice and play football again.

Some players have well-publicized plans to get together with their teammates in order to train as a team during the lockout. One of those players is Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.

Coleman says he hasn't talked with Vanden Bosch yet, but would be open to get together with him and his future Lions teammates.

"I'm just looking to do what gets me most ready to compete," Coleman said.

On His New Team and Teammates:

Speaking of Coleman's future Detroit Lions teammates, he's currently training with two of them at BPS—Drew Stanton and Louis Delmas.

Stanton, in fact, was integral in Coleman's decision to become a Lion. He told the former Atlanta Falcons safety all about the culture and the high character of the team, as well as what he perceived was their biggest offseason need—a veteran safety.

A few days later, Coleman received a call from his agent informing him that the Lions were interested, and a big part of his decision was how highly Stanton, a third-string quarterback, talked about the team.

Coleman also had great things to say about future battery-mate, Delmas, who he has spent more time with since becoming teammates.

"Great player, great instincts, very explosive," Coleman said of Delmas.

Coleman thinks he fits in well alongside Delmas and in the Lions' system, which has some similarities to what he's run in stints with Atlanta and the New York Jets

Before the lockout, Coleman was able to talk with Gunther Cunningham, Jim Schwartz and Tim Walton about his role on a team of which he believes, "The sky's the limit!"

"The team ended the season on a very high note and is the last team who was able to beat Green Bay," Coleman said. "This year, I believe we can beat any team that is put in front of us."

Michael Schottey is an on-call editor for the Bleacher Report College Writing Internship, as well as an NFL Featured Columnist and an NFL Labor/Draft Expert. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, he has professionally covered the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, as well as NFL events like the Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl. Follow him on Twitter.