His biggest fan? A 9-year-old New Jersey girl who penned the sweetest letter ever to the Seattle Seahawks fullback. She was reacting to the recently released Duracell commercial chronicling the odyssey that led him to become the first deaf offensive player in the history of the NFL.
His story particularly touched the hearing impaired community, and prompted a moving note from little Riley Kovalcik, who struggles with hearing issues along with her identical twin sister, Erin, reports New York's Daily News .
Wrote Riley: "Dear (my [sic] inspiration) Derrick Coleman. I know how you feel. I also have hearing aids. Just try your best. I have [sic] faif in you," Riley wrote in the handwritten note, which also mentioned the two things the pair have in "common": they both wear two hearing aids and they both love sports.
Riley's father, Jake Kovalcik, shared the letter via Twitter, Tuesday, and included Coleman's Twitter handle in the Tweet to make sure he saw it.
Coleman did, and by the next day the former UCLA player, 23, crafted his own touching handwritten response , which he passed along to Riley via Twitter.
"Really was great hearing from a friend I have so much in common with," Coleman wrote. "I want you to know that I always try my best in everything I do and have faith in you and your twin sister too.
"Even though we wear hearing aids we can still accomplish our goals and dreams!" he added, and included an invitation for Riley and her family to get together and "play some sports or games" if they are ever in the Seattle area.
Coleman's response stunned and touched the Kovalcik family, who make it clear they will be rooting for him on Super Bowl Sunday.
"I'm running out of words to express my gratitude for all of this," Riley's dad wrote on Twitter. "Derrick is just an amazing person #hero."