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Tevin Coleman unsure about Denver because of sickle cell trait


The Falcons are off to a flying start, but may not have one of their key offensive parts next week at Mile High Stadium.

According to Vaughn McClure of, Falcons running back Tevin Coleman said he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play against the Broncos this week because he carries the sickle cell trait. The red blood cell disorder can cause complications for people who are under physical stress in hot weather or at high altitudes.

“With my sickle cell, I have no idea if I’ll play there,’’ Coleman said. “I really don’t know how I’ll feel or how it will be like. I’ve never been to Denver.’’

Former NFL safety Ryan Clark, who also has the sickle cell trait, once became ill and lost his spleen and gall bladder after a game in Denver, and then sat out two subsequent games including one in the playoffs. Other carriers, such as Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins, have played there without incident.

Coleman was well aware of Clark’s past, which is why he’s unsure what he’s going to do.

“It does make me scared a little bit, a little nervous, because I’m risking my life,’’ Coleman said. “We’ll have to see. I’ll have to talk to coach [Dan Quinn]. I guess coach will see how I feel when we get there. And I just have to communicate with him, if I am out there [playing], if I’m dead [tired] or can’t breathe. We just have to play it smart.’’

Coleman has been pulled from practices because of extreme heat, and said they might just monitor his workload during the game. But he’s not certain, having never played at altitude, how he’ll react.

Coleman has 310 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns, splitting carries with Devonta Freeman for the 3-1 Falcons. But they’re the only running backs on the roster, so if they’re going to be short, they may need to make a roster move this week to add one.

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13 Responses to “Tevin Coleman unsure about Denver because of sickle cell trait”
  1. whenwilliteverend says: Oct 3, 2016 11:07 AM

    Why even risk it? Your health is more important than a stupid football game that won’t even matter as soon as next year. I think your spleen and gall bladder are more important than a game.

  2. qbarrel says: Oct 3, 2016 11:08 AM

    Take the week off Tevin. It’s not worth risking your health over.


    A concerned Devonta Freeman fantasy owner (2 leagues)

  3. qbarrel says: Oct 3, 2016 11:10 AM

    all kidding aside, this is pretty serious stuff. At the end of the day it’s just a game and not worth the risk.

  4. jxt2521 says: Oct 3, 2016 11:18 AM

    ” I’ll have to talk to coach [Dan Quinn]. I guess coach will see how I feel when we get there.”

    Dude, talk to your doctor, the trainers and your family…. no one else.

  5. jeyeeteesjetsjetsjets says: Oct 3, 2016 11:20 AM

    Health ahead of football. Team doctors should keep a very close eye on him, and only play him if he’s 100%. You can’t fool around with things like this.

    Kudos to him for being self-aware, and not overly macho.

  6. tomny0970 says: Oct 3, 2016 11:21 AM


    If he was on my favorite team I would say the same.

  7. dohczeppelin says: Oct 3, 2016 11:25 AM

    They only have 2 running backs on the roster? That seems… inadequate. Granted, they’re both very good, but given the injury prone nature of the NFL I would think you would aim to keep at least 4 on the roster who know the playbook, have worked with the starting o-line before, etc.

    You don’t want to be signing some scrub from the practice squad in week 8 and expecting him to start next Sunday or whatever.

    As far as the health concerns go, don’t risk it. Keep yourself as intact as possible for as long as you can. Careers are short in the NFL. Don’t make it any shorter than it has to be already.

  8. mongo3401 says: Oct 3, 2016 11:55 AM

    Stay home it’s only a game. I would get an opinion from a dr outside of the organization. Team Drs and team trainers are paid by the team and the teams welfare comes first, not yours. All the best

  9. jgedgar70 says: Oct 3, 2016 12:04 PM

    He needs to consider the opponent. Most of Denver’s defensive players deserve to be in prison for their dirty play. If he plays against these guys, the sickle cell and his spleen will be at the center of the Donkeys game plan.

    I say sit this one out, and then play against teams that just want to defeat you, not kill you.

  10. jonwill57 says: Oct 3, 2016 12:11 PM

    Sickle Cell isn’t like playing with a sprain. Don’t be STOOPID! As for the Falcons having only 2 RBs on the roster…that’s STOOPID! I’m sure the OC has a RB that played for him that can come in…at a price…for 1 week or so. He better sign him quick.

  11. jalbs says: Oct 3, 2016 12:29 PM

    This isn’t even close…there is absolutely no way he should be playing. If the Falcons organization cared about the well being of this kid they would make the decision for him, today, and tell him he isn’t playing. Come on man.

  12. nyctraffic says: Oct 3, 2016 2:38 PM

    As a Birds fan…Don’t even think about playing this guy. Health comes first.

  13. brkyle89 says: Oct 3, 2016 2:39 PM

    Don’t play… It’s one game, once every eight years.

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