“With the 13th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams select Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh.”
It was one of the best picks in Thursday’s first round and not because of who was taken, though Donald was one of the top players available, but because it was Shon Coleman on stage who announced the selection.
The Auburn offensive tackle, who had fought and overcome cancer, did his best Roger Goodell impersonation in front of a capacity crowd at Radio City Music Hall and millions more watching at home.
“It was crazy,” Coleman said afterwards. “Just to be able to have an opportunity to go out there and announce a pick in front of all those people, it was a crazy experience.”
Coleman became a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when he was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2010, and now that he’s healthy and playing football again, it was their idea to share his story at the draft.
The Mississippi native spent the day in New York City sightseeing and meeting new people, and that night, before his big moment, he had the opportunity to see former teammate Greg Robinson get drafted No. 2 overall and share in his moment.
“I’m proud of him,” Coleman said. “I’m so happy for him.”
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn accompanied the duo to the Big Apple to represent the program and to take part in the festivities.
“It was a great night to be here at the draft,” Malzahn said. “Of course for Greg Robinson to go No. 2, that’s a huge deal. And then for Shon Coleman to announce a first-round pick, we’re real excited for him and I know his goal is try to be back here someday.”
Coleman is still battling for a starting job with the Tigers, but he, too, dreams of going back to New York and hearing his own name called.
“This is the ultimate goal I’ve been working [towards] since I was little,” he said. “Just getting better every day, working hard, and hopefully I can get an opportunity to be here again.”