April 1, 2013

NOTEBOOK: Coleman playing without fear

AUBURN | Shon Coleman is back.

Really back.

The 6-foot-6 offensive tackle lost his first two college seasons to leukemia and the treatments aimed at restoring his health, but the weakness has subsided. The pain is gone. And now he's back to being what he was all along: A 5-star prospect with designs on locking down the job at left tackle.

"I'm focused on making the team better, doing my part as a player and being a team player and focusing on what I need to do better to improve," Coleman said Monday. "I mean, I'm pretty sure I've improved since high school strength-wise, speed-wise. (I'm) working on being a better technique and using it on the field."

Those words represent a victory in an of themselves.

Coleman was diagnosed with leukemia weeks after signing with the Tigers in February 2010. He returned to campus during the 2011 season, but his goal at that time was to acclimate to college life.

A return to football wasn't a primary concern.

Still, remarkable physical progress led to Coleman being cleared to participate in spring drills last year. He spent the 2012 season as Greg Robinson's backup at left tackle, but didn't see the field.

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