Coleman Shelton had visited the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum numerous times throughout his life, most notably as a member of the Washington Huskies football team. The Pasadena native mostly set foot on the stadium’s real grass as a rival taking on USC, but that changed last September.
For the first time in 2019, Shelton was able to call the Coliseum his home after signing a National Football League contract to join the Rams’ roster.
“It was great for me,” Shelton said. “I’ve never been part of the home team at the Coliseum, so it was awesome to go out there and be a part of the home squad and atmosphere in the stadium.”
Shelton, who played high school football at Los Angeles Loyola, was just happy to extend his career in the NFL. He’s been fighting to remain on a roster since his collegiate career ended in 2017.
As a redshirt senior that year, Shelton started all 13 of Washington’s games at center and made the All-Pac-12 first team. The Huskies finished 10-3 on the season and were edged by Penn State, 35-28, in the Fiesta Bowl.
The highlight of Shelton’s career was the 2016 season in which he helped Washington capture the Pac-12 championship for the first time since 2000. The Huskies advanced to the College Football Playoff as the No. 4 team but ran into the buzz saw that was No. 1-ranked Alabama, which came away with 24-7 win over Washington in the Peach Bowl.
Despite the accolades, Shelton went undrafted in the 2018 NFL draft. The lineman was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent in April that year but released at the end of training camp. Shelton wouldn’t be unemployed for long, as the Arizona Cardinals signed him to the practice squad in October.
The Cardinals parted ways with Shelton at the end of training camp prior to this season, but another opportunity was presented to him months later.
An injury to a Rams player opened up a roster spot, and the local organization reached out to Shelton just before the season.
“It felt great to join the Rams,” Shelton said. “I feel lucky to be a part of this organization, and I was super excited when they came and picked me up. They’ve been nothing but good to me.”
In his second year working with the NFL, Shelton made his debut against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 22 and made more appearances throughout the season. The Rams fell short of clinching a playoff berth after a 9-7 campaign.
“There’s definitely a learning curve in the NFL,” he said. “My first year was good because I learned about the game and how to better prepare myself for the future and be ready for things to come. When I was picked up by the Rams, I felt ready. I learned from the starters and the coaches. Obviously, coming to the Rams, a successful organization the past few years, I learned about success from the veteran guys. The more you learn, the more you stick around.”
Shelton is currently resting after the team’s grueling season but plans to resume working out soon to prepare for organized team activities and hopes to remain with the Rams.
“Right now it’s about getting the body healthy and then start training again,” he said. “I have to work to get my mind right for OTAs. I’m hoping to earn a spot with the Rams [next season]. It’s all about working hard on your craft. I want to keep developing, because being versatile in the NFL is big. I want to show them I can play.”