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Rookie Keon Coleman playfully embraces Buffalo while showing a serious side to filling receiver role

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Rookie Keon Coleman playfully embraces Buffalo while showing a serious side to filling receiver role
Sport

Sport

Rookie Keon Coleman playfully embraces Buffalo while showing a serious side to filling receiver role

2024-06-15 02:15 Last Updated At:02:22

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Wide-eyed, engaging and athletic, Bills rookie receiver Keon Coleman has much to offer, be it tips on when to land the best deals for winter coats to using his lean 6-foot-4 frame and long muscular arms to snatch balls thrown over his head or behind him.

It’s been that way since April, when Coleman arrived in Buffalo full of wonder and excitement in providing a glimpse into his playful personality a day after the Bills drafted the Florida State player at No. 33.

Sitting at the podium, wearing what’s now become the famous yellow winter coat he bought on sale at Macy’s in the spring, Coleman expressed his love for Buffalo wings, eyed the cookies on a nearby snack bar before sampling one, and reflected on having just filmed a promotional video inside the Bills’ stadium, where he scored three touchdowns.

Only three?

“Hey, it was 30 seconds,” Coleman said, smiling. “That’s a record. Nobody’s ever did that one yet.”

Don’t be fooled by the just-turned 21-year-old’s outgoing nature.

As much as Coleman’s arrival in western New York has captured the imagination of Bills fans, including that of a 10-year-old by wearing the youngster’s hand-made friendship bracelets, there is a serious side to the player being counted upon to fill an essential spot at a retooled receiver position in the wake of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis’ offseason departures.

“I’m aware of it,” Coleman said, referring to the buzz he’s created.

“The hype can be there all it wants. But I still have to make plays on the field,” he added in early May. “I want to help contribute to wins, so we got to win to make our fans happy. A jacket ain’t going to get that done.”

In the following weeks, Coleman has shown glimpses of his potential, following an All-ACC junior season in which he led the Seminoles with 50 catches for 658 yards and 11 touchdowns. He spent his first two college seasons at Michigan State, where he totaled 65 catches for 848 yards and eight TDs.

Though not considered to have elite speed, Coleman lopes on the field to stay inbounds while catching quick outs from Josh Allen along the sideline. On Thursday, he celebrated a touchdown by happily punting the ball.

On Wednesday, lined up against cornerback Rasul Douglas, Coleman burst past the veteran starter and used his big body to shield the defender while securing a pass thrown behind him.

“He’s young. He’s still trying to learn. I think that’s the thing that helps him the best is just be a learner,” Douglas said of Coleman. “And he’s a cool guy off the field. He’s a joker. He’s funny. He’s chill.”

What Douglas might not know after he skipped Buffalo's voluntary practices is the depth of Coleman’s football acumen.

Coleman has already dug into the Bills past by befriending Hall of Fame receiver Andre Reed.

“I was taught to always respect those that stepped before you,” Coleman said.

As for football IQ, Coleman prides himself in how at college he learned to pore over game film and literally draw out plays on his own. The approach was drilled into him during his freshman season by former NFLer and Spartans receivers coach Courtney Hawkins.

“I didn’t start playing receiver until I really got to college,” said Coleman, a high school quarterback from Louisiana, who chose football over basketball. “Coach Hawkins put me in a room and was like, `This is the capability you have if you lock in and do what you’re supposed to do.′ And ever since, that’s been my mindset.”

Coleman’s willingness to learn stood out to Bills general manager Brandon Beane during the pre-draft scouting process. As much as Beane enjoyed hearing Coleman’s voice pipe up at the other end of the cafeteria during the player’s visit to Buffalo, he also witnessed an intensity behind the smile.

“He’s done a good job to this point of knowing what he doesn’t know, surrounding himself with people that will tell him the truth, not what he wants to hear. And that’s a sign of a guy that knows he’s got work to do,” Beane told The Associated Press this week.

“He ain’t got it all figured out. And it ain’t all going to be perfect,” he added. “But he’s working hard. He’s competitive. And he probably thinks he should’ve been the No. 1 receiver drafted.”

Coleman was the eighth receiver selected and after Buffalo twice traded back in the order. The Bills moved back from 28th, where Kansas City selected Texas receiver Xavier Worthy, and then traded one spot back from No. 32, where Carolina chose South Carolina receiver Xavier Legette.

Beane stood pat to open the second round, with Coleman still available and receiver being Buffalo’s most pressing need.

Coleman accepts the challenge of expectations on a team that returns just one receiver — Khalil Shakir — who has caught a pass from Allen.

“I don’t think it’s anything to just fill,” Coleman said, referring to the shoes he’s being asked to replace. “I’m coming here to be myself, work for everything I’m going to get and hopefully we’re going to win some games. That’s all I have to say about that.”

Coleman's serious side eventually gives way to his outgoing nature.

“That’s just who I am,” he said. “I don’t play the game all mad and serious all the time. We got to be able to loosen up, have some fun and be yourself.”

This story has been corrected to reflect Rasul Douglas' position being cornerback.

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

FILE - Buffalo Bills wide receiver Keon Coleman (0) runs after making a catch during NFL football practice in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Coleman has so far made an encouraging impression during spring practices in using his lean 6-foot-4 frame and muscular arms to snatch balls thrown over his head and behind him. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

FILE - Buffalo Bills wide receiver Keon Coleman (0) runs after making a catch during NFL football practice in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Coleman has so far made an encouraging impression during spring practices in using his lean 6-foot-4 frame and muscular arms to snatch balls thrown over his head and behind him. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

FILE - Buffalo Bills wide receiver Keon Coleman (0) looks on during NFL football practice in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Coleman’s willingness to learn stood out to Bills general manager Brandon Beane during the pre-draft scouting process. As much as Beane enjoyed hearing Coleman’s voice pipe up at the other end of the cafeteria during the player’s visit to Buffalo, he also witnesses an intensity behind the smile.(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

FILE - Buffalo Bills wide receiver Keon Coleman (0) looks on during NFL football practice in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Coleman’s willingness to learn stood out to Bills general manager Brandon Beane during the pre-draft scouting process. As much as Beane enjoyed hearing Coleman’s voice pipe up at the other end of the cafeteria during the player’s visit to Buffalo, he also witnesses an intensity behind the smile.(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Keon Coleman (0) watches the ball during NFL football practice in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Keon Coleman (0) watches the ball during NFL football practice in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

FILE - Buffalo Bills second-round draft pick Keon Coleman addresses the media during an NFL football news conference in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, April 27, 2024. Wide-eyed, engaging and athletic, Bills rookie receiver Keon Coleman has much to offer, be it tips on when to land the best deals for winter coats — two seasons in advance, he proclaimed — to using his lean 6-foot-4 frame and long muscular arms to snatch balls thrown over his head and behind him. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

FILE - Buffalo Bills second-round draft pick Keon Coleman addresses the media during an NFL football news conference in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, April 27, 2024. Wide-eyed, engaging and athletic, Bills rookie receiver Keon Coleman has much to offer, be it tips on when to land the best deals for winter coats — two seasons in advance, he proclaimed — to using his lean 6-foot-4 frame and long muscular arms to snatch balls thrown over his head and behind him. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

Next Article

Biden's campaign chair acknowledges support 'slippage' but says he's staying in the race

2024-07-19 23:57 Last Updated At:07-20 00:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's campaign is insisting anew that he is not stepping aside as he faces the stark reality that many Democrats at the highest levels want him to bow out of the 2024 election to make way for a new nominee and try to prevent widespread party losses in November.

Meanwhile, six more members of Congress called for him to drop out, making the total now more than two dozen.

Isolated as he battles a COVID-19 infection at his beach house in Delaware, Biden’s already small circle of confidants before his debate fumbling has shrunk further. The president, who has insisted he can beat Republican Donald Trump, is with family and relying on a few longtime aides as he weighs whether to bow to the mounting pressure.

Biden campaign chair Jen O'Malley Dillion acknowledged “slippage” in support for the president, but insisted he is “absolutely” remaining in the race and that the campaign sees “multiple paths" to beating Trump.

“We have a lot of work to do to reassure the American people that yes he’s old, but he can win," she told MSNBC's “Morning Joe” show. But she said voters concerned about Biden's fitness to lead aren't switching to vote for Trump. “They have questions, but they are staying with Joe Biden," she said.

At the same time, the Democratic National Committee ’s rulemaking arm opened its meeting Friday, pressing ahead with plans for a virtual roll call before Aug. 7 to nominate the presidential pick, ahead of the party’s convention later in the month in Chicago.

“President Biden deserves the respect to have important family conversations with members of the caucus and colleagues in the House and Senate and Democratic leadership and not be battling leaks and press statements,” Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, Biden’s closest friend in Congress and his campaign co-chair, told The Associated Press.

It's a pivotal few days for the president and his party: Trump has wrapped up an enthusiastic Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. And Democrats, racing time, are considering the extraordinary possibility of Biden stepping aside for a new presidential nominee before their own convention.

Amid the turmoil, a majority of Democrats think Vice President Kamala Harris would make a good president herself.

A poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 6 in 10 Democrats believe Harris would do a good job in the top slot. About 2 in 10 Democrats don’t believe she would, and another 2 in 10 say they don’t know enough to say.

Democrats at the highest levels have been making a critical push for Biden to rethink his election bid, with former President Barack Obama expressing concerns to allies and Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately telling Biden the party could lose the ability to seize control of the House if he doesn’t step away from the 2024 race.

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich on Friday called on Biden to exit the race, making him the third Senate Democrat to do so.

“By passing the torch, he would secure his legacy as one of our nation’s greatest leaders and allow us to unite behind a candidate who can best defeat Donald Trump and safeguard the future of our democracy,” said Heinrich, who is up for reelection this fall.

And Friday, Reps. Jared Huffman, Mark Veasey, Chuy Garcia and Mark Pocan __ representing a wide swath of the caucus __together called on Biden to step aside.

“We must defeat Donald Trump to save our democracy," they wrote.

Separately, Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois wrote in an op-ed that with “a heavy heart and much personal reflection” he, too, was calling on Biden to “pass the torch to a new generation.”

Campaign officials said Biden was even more committed to staying in the race despite the calls for him to go. And senior West Wing aides have had no internal discussions or conversations with the president about Biden dropping out.

On Friday, Biden picked up a key endorsement from the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. CHC BOLD PAC said the Biden administration has shown “unwavering commitment” to Latinos and “the stakes couldn’t be higher” in this election. “President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have delivered for the Latino community,” the group said.

But there is also time to reconsider. Biden has been told the campaign is having trouble raising money, and key Democrats see an opportunity as he is away from the campaign for a few days to encourage his exit. Among his Cabinet, some are resigned to the likelihood of him losing in November.

The reporting in this story is based in part on information from almost a dozen people who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive private deliberations. The Washington Post first reported on Obama’s involvement.

Biden, 81, tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling in Las Vegas earlier this week and is experiencing “mild symptoms” including “general malaise” from the infection, the White House said.

The president himself, in a radio interview taped just before he tested positive, dismissed the idea it was too late for him to recover politically, telling Univision’s Luis Sandoval that many people don’t focus on the November election until September.

“All the talk about who’s leading and where and how, is kind of, you know — everything so far between Trump and me has been basically even,” he said in an excerpt of the interview released Thursday.

But in Congress, Democratic lawmakers have begun having private conversations about lining up behind Harris as an alternative. One lawmaker said Biden’s own advisers are unable to reach a unanimous recommendation about what he should do. More in Congress are considering joining the others who have called for Biden to drop out. Some prefer an open process for choosing a new presidential nominee.

“It’s clear the issue won’t go away,” said Vermont Sen. Peter Welch, the other Senate Democrat who has publicly said Biden should exit the race. Welch said the current state of party angst — with lawmakers panicking and donors revolting — was “not sustainable.”

However, influential Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries are sending signals of strong concern.

To be sure, many want Biden to stay in the race. But among Democrats nationwide, nearly two-thirds say Biden should step aside and let his party nominate a different candidate, according to an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. That sharply undercuts Biden's post-debate claim that “average Democrats” are still with him.

Associated Press writers Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, Ellen Knickmeyer in Aspen, Colorado, Steve Peoples in Milwaukee, and Josh Boak, Will Weissert, Mary Clare Jalonick, Seung Min Kim and Stephen Groves in Washington contributed to this report.

President Joe Biden takes the stage to speak at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden takes the stage to speak at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks to his car after stepping off of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks to his car after stepping off of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Supporters cheer during the Republican National Convention Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Supporters cheer during the Republican National Convention Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

FILE - Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during an event in Washington, June 23, 2023. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to reconsider his election bid. Speaker Emerita Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn’t step away from the race and that polls showed he likely can’t defeat Donald Trump. And former President Barack Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden’s candidacy. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

FILE - Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during an event in Washington, June 23, 2023. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to reconsider his election bid. Speaker Emerita Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn’t step away from the race and that polls showed he likely can’t defeat Donald Trump. And former President Barack Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden’s candidacy. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

FILE - Chairman Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2023. Jittery Democrats seeking to hold onto Senate seats are watching the drama over Biden nervously. Even candidates who seem to be in a strong position are walking a fine line between loyalty to the president and their own political survival. Tester has offered little public support for the president since the debate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE - Chairman Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2023. Jittery Democrats seeking to hold onto Senate seats are watching the drama over Biden nervously. Even candidates who seem to be in a strong position are walking a fine line between loyalty to the president and their own political survival. Tester has offered little public support for the president since the debate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE - Former President Barack Obama speaks in Athens, Greece, June 21, 2023. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to reconsider his election bid. Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden’s candidacy. And Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn’t step away from the race and that polls showed he likely can’t defeat Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

FILE - Former President Barack Obama speaks in Athens, Greece, June 21, 2023. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to reconsider his election bid. Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden’s candidacy. And Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn’t step away from the race and that polls showed he likely can’t defeat Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, July 16, 2024. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for Biden to reconsider his election bid. Former President Barack Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden's candidacy. And Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn't step away from the race. Biden says he's not dropping out believing he's best to beat the Republican Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, July 16, 2024. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for Biden to reconsider his election bid. Former President Barack Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden's candidacy. And Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn't step away from the race. Biden says he's not dropping out believing he's best to beat the Republican Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

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