published Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Four local NFL rookies set for camp

  • photo
    Green Bay Packers rookie quarterback B.J. Coleman throws a pass during a practice in Green Bay, Wis.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

For B.J. Coleman, Rico Council and two former Red Bank football players trying to make NFL rosters, returning to their respective teams for training camp this week is a bit like a college freshman going back to school for spring semester.

The initial nervousness of being on an NFL roster has passed and they know their way around after going through rookie camp and weeks of workouts, but they certainly won't be mistaken for veterans.

Coleman, the former McCallie and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback, reports to the Green Bay Packers' camp today, and practice begins Thursday. Coleman is one of three quarterbacks on the Packers' roster, along with 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and backup Graham Harrell.

"I don't know if comfortable is the proper word, but I think I'm going to feel a little more confident," said Coleman, who was drafted in the seventh round. "I'm going to go in there -- I know the basics -- and take what they give me. If you make a mistake, gosh dang it, get back in there and throw a good ball. That's all you can do."

After the minicamps and organized team activities, players have been off for about a month. Coleman spent some of that time in Green Bay studying video and trying to master the offense, but he also made sure to get away from the game for a while.

"I went from the season to training for the [East-West Shrine Game] and the combine, then the draft and the OTAs and the minicamps," he said. "In the year 2012, there hasn't really been an off moment. It was really nice to be able to come home and be around the family for a little while and do a little traveling and do some fishing in Florida."

Linebacker Council, a former Howard and Tennessee State standout, signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent. Like Coleman, he's trying to make the team during training camp.

"I'm going down there to make a name for myself and try to claim a spot," he said.

Council, the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference defensive player of the year, played middle linebacker at Tennessee State. He's playing outside with the Falcons, who run a 4-3 defense similar to the one TSU's Tigers used.

Defensive back Jeremy Caldwell from Red Bank and Eastern Kentucky begins camp with the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, and wide receiver Tim Benford from the Lions and Tennessee Tech already is back in Dallas. The Cowboys' camp starts Monday in Oxnard, Calif.

Coleman and former UTC cornerback Buster Skrine, drafted in 2011 by the Cleveland Browns, could be on the field at the same time on Aug. 16, when the Packers host the Browns in a preseason game.

Contact John Frierson at or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at

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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