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No Excuses: Deaf Seattle Seahawks Fullback Inspires Fans in Viral Ad

In what's considered the loudest stadium in the NFL, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman can only feel the noise surrounding him.

By Joe Fryer and Sharaf Mowjood, NBC News 

Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman may claim he’s "nobody special" but to the millions of people who know his life story, he’s an inspiration.

"I’m just a guy who has hearing aids and wanted to play football and found a way to do it," Coleman, 23, told NBC News.

As the first deaf offensive player in the NFL, his tough road to the big leagues was featured in a Duracell ad that’s been viewed more than 5.6 million times on YouTube.

Deaf since the age of 3, Coleman has had to rely on lip reading. It’s a skill he honed at a young age at school where his hearing impairment required him to work extra hard.

"Freshman or sophomore year of high school is where I had that mindset of if someone tells me that I can’t do something, well I’m going to try real hard to do it," Coleman said.  “If I succeed great, and if I don’t well at least I know I gave it all I got and I didn't leave any excuses on the table."

Coleman’s parents never made excuses for him either.

"The way they punished and raised my sister and my brother was the same way they raised me," he said. "But at the same time they always gave me more motivation."

In the Duracell ad, Coleman recalls being teased for his hearing aids – but in those instances, his parents would be the first to set-up a parent-teacher conference, he said, and find a way to motivate him.

"We’d tell him God made him for a reason and you don’t let anyone bring you down,” said May Hamlin, Coleman’s mother.  “If people try to bring you down, they’re always beneath you."

From his high school days at Troy in Fullerton, Calif., to playing at Division 1 UCLA, it was Coleman’s attitude that propelled him forward. He made such an impression on his coaches that despite his hearing impairment, he survived pre-season camp, and made it on the active roster list.

Now a Seahawk, he plays in the loudest sports stadium, with one of the most boisterous, raucous and turbulent fans in the nation.

"I may not hear all of them, but I can feel them," says Coleman. "The vibration, their faces, it helps me hear them."

Derrick Coleman the hearing impaired running back for the Seattle Seahawks says anything you want to do can be achieved by overcoming obstacles.   

On Sunday, both the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks will battle it out on the football field for a chance to play in the Super Bowl.

"No matter what you're doing, no matter what kind of problem -- you can't see well, you can't feel well, you can't hear well or you have depression ... whatever you wanna do, its still achievable," Coleman said.  "You just have to overcome certain obstacles."