Erik Coleman, former Jets safety, likes where team's going

Jets safety Erik Coleman intercepts a pass intended

Jets safety Erik Coleman intercepts a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, rear, during the fourth quarter to seal the 31-24 Jets win Sunday, Sept. 12, 2004 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford. (Credit: AP / Bill Kostroun)

Former Jets safety Erik Coleman was excited to see his former team select Louisville safety Calvin Pryor with the 18th overall pick in May's draft.

Coleman, who lives in Mount Sinai, was drafted by the Jets in the fifth round out of Washington State in 2004. He played 59 games in his four seasons with the Jets, also playing for the Falcons and Lions in a career that ended in 2012.

Coleman, 32, touted Pryor's athleticism and toughness but noted that the safety position requries intelligence as well.

"Those are some of the main staples that you want out of a safety," Coleman said. "Someone who's going to be able to make plays with the ball and process a lot of information. You need someone who can make quick decisions. It's like a chess match."

The NFL has become more and more of a passing league, requiring more emphasis on the play of the defensive backfield. Four safeties were taken in the first round of this year's draft.

"I think a lot more light has been shed on the position," Coleman said. "Your safety is going to be part communicator, part quarterback. A safety is going to give you that edge on defense and help blur up the situation for the quarterback."

Coleman also believes the Jets did the right thing by bringing in veteran quarterback Michael Vick, who was signed to a one-year, $5 million deal on March 21.

"I'm very excited about what they're doing," Coleman said of the Jets' efforts to solidify the quarterback position. He expects second-year quarterback Geno Smith to benefit from Vick's leadership and experience. "I like where they're going."

Now that his NFL career is over, Coleman is hoping some of the lessons he learned in the NFL will help him transition to a new career. Coleman is working as a manager for CORE Medical in Woodbury, a clinic that helps people recover from fatigue and injury.

Coleman was a union representative while with the Falcons and the Lions and learned the value of leadership, a skill that will help him in his job.

"It was just something I was excited about," he said. "This was an avenue for me to help people and make a living out of it."

"It was just something I was excited about," he said. "This was an avenue for me to help people and make a living out of it."

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