NFL Player Nickell Robey-Coleman Honored In Hometown Of Frostproof
by James Coulter
A National Football League (NFL) athlete who has played for teams like the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, and Philadelphia Eagles was commemorated by his hometown of Frostproof with a week dedicated to him.
During a recent city commission meeting, a proclamation was passed recognizing the dates of Feb. 21 to 27 as Nickell Robey-Coleman, honoring the local football star and the impact he has made on his hometown.
The proclamation recognized the football player’s outstanding career, from his humble beginnings playing football at Frostproof High School to him entering his ninth NFL season as a cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles “with 332 tackles, 5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 6 interceptions and two defensive tackles.”
Nickell was also honored for his many philanthropic endeavors to his hometown: “[He] makes a point to give back to his home community in his mother’s honor, who passed away in his arms while trying to save her, by donating money to the Youth Ministry at First Baptist Hilltop Church of Frostproof, an annual turkey giveaway, adopting families for Christmas and starting a 7 on 7 travel football team to mentor young athletes in the community.”
Vice Mayor Austin Gravely, who attended the same school as Nickell, was honored to recognize the local athlete and his many accomplishments as a Frostproof Native. Gravely had previously reached out to Nickell to get him inducted into the Frostproof History Museum in 2018, and he was proud to recognize the black athlete during Black History Month.
“We went to school together in Frostproof, so it made it that much more special,” Gravely said. “We were able to also honor an African American in the community who has contributed and accomplished very much…I am glad Nickell was able to receive this well-deserved recognition and will now be in the Frostproof Museum.”
Nickell was present at the city commission meeting to accept the proclamation. Not only was he proud to receive such an honor, but proud that his accomplishment denoted more significant progress within the city.
“I am very passionate about my city, and I take a lot of pride [in it],” he said. “[My proclamation] shows the progress the city is making…We made it right by making a progressive step toward the future, which was honoring somebody in Black History Month.”
Nickell started his athletic career like most other famous athletes: playing football in high school. During his senior year playing for the Frostproof Bulldogs in 2009, according to Wikipedia, he had “764 yards on 88 carries (8.9 avg.) with nine touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 232 yards (13.7 avg.) with six touchdowns on offense.”
“I’m a kid from Frostproof, a small town with a small population,” Nickell said. “There’s not much to do, so football was what I centered my life around. My mom worked three jobs so I could play football and travel all across the country.”
After graduating from USC, he received his opportunity to play professional football in the NFL when the Buffalo Bills signed him on as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Since then, he has worked his way up the ranks from a side-quarterback to his current position as a cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
He played for many teams, including Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Los Angeles Rams, which he helped reach the Super Bowl in 2019. While his team did not win the big game that year, he was honored to play it.
” The year we went to the Super Bowl, it brought up those memories of what winning felt like other than in high school,” he said. “I won many football games in high school. When I got to college, I felt that again…It put my name out there and got me exposure that nobody before that, a lot of people did not know who I was, and after that, the people who did not know me then, they know me now.”
He is currently heading into his ninth season, signed on with a one-year deal with the Eagles, for whom he is playing as a free agent. He is proud of his past season, during which he only lost three games.
“That is hard in the NFL,” he said. “Just winning 14 to 15 games, that is so hard, that is so challenging, it is crazy, and to be able to do that at the highest level possible, that was amazing.”
Nickell appreciates being able to make a big name for himself, especially coming out of a small town on Frostproof. Living in a town that’s barely on the map and which people drive by without even realizing it, he’s proud that his fame helped him bring attention to it.
“Coming out of Frostproof has been a big deal for me…because of the odds that you have to defy to get to a great school. You have to defy major odds because you don’t get that attention like everyone else,” he said. “So, the fact that I did that in a small city where we barely get looked at, like people pass us on the road, to have that experience growing up, knowing what I have accomplished, out of a place where there is not a lot of hope, and I came in, and I changed that narrative.”
He owes his success to his mother, who helped him through school and supported his athletic endeavors. Since she passed away more than two years ago, Nickell has honored her by supporting the community in her name.
One way he accomplishes this goal is through 7-On-7 Team Slot God, through which he mentors children and helps them become active in athletics. He wants the next generation to have the same, if not more, opportunities than him so that they, too, can make it big like him.
“That was the biggest thing for me because, when I was younger, people used to tell me what to be, but never show me how to be it,” he said. “They weren’t taking their advice, and I could not see, so I owe to my success giving back to the youth and showing them what it looks like so they can take the next step further and be motivated even more because they have seen it with their own eyes.”
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