Former Auburn lineman gets another NFL opportunity

One week after the Indianapolis Colts released Shon Coleman, the former Auburn offensive tackle returned to an NFL roster. The Chicago Bears have signed Coleman, the NFL team announced on Tuesday.

The Bears added Coleman in time for the Organized Team Activity portion of their offseason program. Before its summer break, Chicago has eight OTA practices and a three-day mandatory minicamp remaining.

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Coleman joins an unsettled position on the Bears’ roster. The returning offensive tackle who started the most games for Chicago in 2021 is Larry Borom, who played in 10 games and started eight as a fifth-round draft choice last year.

The other two tackles who started at least seven games for the Bears in 2021 are no longer on Chicago’s roster. Jason Peters is a free agent after 17 NFL seasons, and Germain Idefi signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

Other options at tackle for the Bears include Teven Jenkins, who played in six games and started two as a second-round draft choice last year; Julie’n Davenport, who played in nine games and started four for the Colts in his fifth season; former Selma High School standout Lachavious Simmons, who played in two games and started one for Chicago in 2021; and two 2022 draft picks – fifth-rounder Braxton Jones from Southern Utah and sixth-rounder Zachary Thomas from San Diego State.

Coleman has not played in an NFL regular-season game since the 2017 season, when he worked as the Cleveland Browns’ regular right tackle.

Coleman spent the final week of the 2021 NFL regular season on the Indianapolis practice squad and re-signed with the team on Jan. 11, two days after the Colts’ campaign ended. Indianapolis released Coleman on May 10.

Coleman entered the NFL as a third-round selection of the Browns in the 2016 draft. As a rookie, he played in seven games, getting on the field for 62 offensive snaps.

In his second season, Coleman played right tackle for all but 24 of the Browns’ 1,068 offensive snaps.

After the 2017 season, Joe Thomas, Cleveland’s 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle, retired, and the Browns signed Chris Hubbard from the Pittsburgh Steelers to a five-year, $36.5 million contract in free agency. Cleveland inserted the former UAB standout at right tackle and shifted Coleman to left tackle for its offseason workouts. But about a week before their first preseason game, the Browns replaced Coleman in their projected starting lineup.

On Sept. 1, 2018 — the day that teams reduced their 90-player preseason rosters to the regular-season limit of 53 — the Browns traded Coleman to the San Francisco 49ers for a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

In 2018, he was designated as one of San Francisco’s seven game-day inactive players for all 16 regular-season contests as first-round draft pick Mike McGlinchey and six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley took almost all the offensive snaps at the tackle spots .

In 2019, Coleman spent the season on injured reserve after suffering a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle in the 49ers’ first preseason game.

In 2020, Coleman took the opt-out from the NFL’s plan to play during the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2021, the 49ers placed Coleman on injured reserve with a triceps injury when they reduced their preseason roster to the regular-season limit on Aug. 31 and released him with an injury settlement on Sept. 10. He remained out of football until signing with the Colts.

Coleman was diagnosed with leukemia after his senior season in high school. He redshirted at Auburn in 2011 and didn’t play in 2012 either, although he returned to practice on a limited basis that year.

In 2013, Coleman backed up Greg Robinson, and after Robinson left as the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, Coleman started at left tackle for the Tigers in 2014 and 2015.

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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1

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