published Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Ex-Packer, former UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman not rushing to decide football future

Former McCallie School and UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman interrupts his golf play at Brown Acres on Monday to pose with a football. Coleman is at a crossroads in his career after being released by the Green Bay Packers just before the season.
Former McCallie School and UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman interrupts his golf play at Brown Acres on Monday to pose with a football. Coleman is at a crossroads in his career after being released by the Green Bay Packers just before the season.
Photo by Dan Henry.

B.J. Coleman began his Monday morning at Brown Acres Golf Course, where he played nine holes. He planned to go on a 20-mile bike ride a little later -- cycling is something he's gotten into recently -- and also wanted to get in a weightlifting session, if possible.

An empty calendar this time of year is a new thing for the former McCallie and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback.

"Since I was 9 years old I've played football," he said on the balcony of the Brown Acres clubhouse. "I've made the comment several times: I don't know what to do in the month of September. I think the biggest thing for me is, don't rush."

Cut earlier this month by the Green Bay Packers, Coleman is keeping busy. He doesn't know if his phone will ring this season, but he's going to be fit and ready if another NFL team wants to give him a shot.

"I'm back in Chattanooga and working out, staying in shape and making sure I'm prepared if I do get a phone call," he said. "I'm enjoying a little time with the family and kind of looking at different options. I'm also looking around town to see what I can do to keep me occupied."

Along with exercising, Coleman said he's also "helping out a little bit downtown with Andy Smith at YCAP [Youth Community Action Project]." Coleman said he's doing some mentoring for the YCAP Boxing Club, also known as "Jabbin' for Jesus."

"It's a really cool organization for kids who need a little extra structure and some help, which is definitely up my alley," said Coleman, whose mother, Anita, is a longtime educator.

The final days of August and the start of September were topsy-turvy ones for Coleman. He was kept on the Packers' 53-man roster on cut-down day, Aug. 31 -- the only quarterback on the roster besides former league MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Two days later, the Packers released Coleman, whom they drafted in the seventh round in 2012 and kept on the practice squad last season. Coleman was 14-for-34 for 128 yards, with a touchdown and an interception, in the preseason. Cutting him so late gave him almost no chance of making another team's practice squad for this season.

Coleman and the Packers' backup last season, Graham Harrell, who was cut during the preseason, were together again a few days after Coleman was released. They were two of several players the New England Patriots brought in for tryouts on Sept. 6.

"It was interesting to walk up and see Graham," he said.

Coleman said teams that are looking for players during the season typically bring them in on a Tuesday -- most teams' off day during a regular game week. He's hoping to get another look. Coleman said he's not opposed to playing in the Canadian Football League, though it's already more than halfway through its season.

"I think that's definitely an option, though maybe not in the short term," he said of the CFL. "I would definitely have to look at that. I do love the game of football, and it's a great experience."

Coleman said he's been by McCallie a few times, but he doesn't want to force himself into what the Blue Tornado have going. Coleman played for head coach Ralph Potter, and McCallie's quarterbacks coach is Joel Bradford, who was Coleman's most frequent target in their McCallie and UTC careers.

Two other former Mocs were in action Sunday. Cornerback Buster Skrine had four tackles and two pass deflections in the Cleveland Browns' win over the Minnesota Vikings. Cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, who was signed from the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad last Friday, played on special teams in the Bengals' upset of the Packers.

The Bengals visit the Browns this Sunday.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him at twitter.com/MocsBeat.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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