Each time Chase Coffman made a mistake, he leaped into the pushup position and started pumping his body up and down.
That happens daily around the NFL at this time of the season, but Coffman’s miscues were caught for the nation to see by HBO’s cameras back in 2009, when he was a highly-touted third-round pick with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Through the magic of film, Bengals tight end coach Jonathan Hayes’ film room rants about Coffman were strung together.
“Chase what the (expletive) where you thinking about here? Look at your steps Chase,” Hayes said. “Keep coming Chase? Why Chase? Chase get a base. Chase. Chase. Chase. Don’t do that. Do you have any moves?”
“Yes,” Coffman said.
“Ok,” Hayes said. “I’d like to see you incorporate them.”
On the show, Hayes questioned what Coffman, who’s father Paul Coffman played in the league 11 seasons with Green Bay, Kansas City and Minnesota, was taught at Missouri.
Then, he sadly challenged the poor kid’s manhood.
“I know they didn’t have you do any of this at Missouri, but now you’re going to learn how to play man’s football,” Hayes said. “You’ll have to man up.”
For two seasons, Coffman battled through injuries while he bounced back-and-forth from the roster to the practice squad before being released by the Bengals.
They gave up on Coffman, the player they selected with the 98th overall pick.
He played in six games and caught three passes for 30 yards during his tumultuous stay with the Bengals.
He was signed by Tampa Bay on Feb. 21, 2012, but was released on Aug. 6.
The Falcons took a flier on Coffman, who caught 247 passes at Missouri — a NCAA record for a tight end — and won the John Mackey Award in 2008 as the nation’s top tight end. He was signed last Aug. 11. He didn’t make the team, but was added to the practice squad on Sept. 1.
Coffman, 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, was elevated to the 53-man roster on Nov. 13 and played in the final five regular-season games and two playoff games. He made a dazzling catch along the sideline in the divisional-round win over Seattle.
To this day, Coffman is still not sure what went so wrong in Cincinnati.
“I don’t know,” Coffman said. “I came out with a broken foot and I had to rehab that. I don’t know how much of a problem that was, but it was just one of those things where it was a process.
“I’ve moved on from there and I’ve continued to get better. I’m just thankful for this opportunity here.”
The Bengals wish Coffman well.
“Chase is an extremely hard worker,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. “He just keeps coming back and doing a good job. Chase just kind of got disappointed because he was never really able to break through at our place, so he looked for a different opportunity and it’s worked out for him.”
Coffman was elated that the Falcons did not want any of their players miked-up for the joint practices with the Bengals.
“I kind of got beat down on Hard Knocks a little bit,” Coffman said. “That was the first time that I’d ever put my hand on the ground as a blocking tight end. So, coming off a foot injury and doing that in camp, I think we had three guys get hurt, so it was me and another rookie taking all of the reps for a few of those days.
“It was a tough camp. Just like most rookies have tough camps, but it was a tough camp, but it was definitely a learning experience.”
Coffman said he doesn’t have hard feeling toward Hayes or his former team.
“I appreciate them drafting me higher than anybody else,” Coffman said. “They took a chance on me. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out, but like I said I’m thankful for this opportunity right here and right now.”
His catch in the playoffs last year showed he still has NFL hands.
“Oh yeah, everybody was pretty pumped about it,” Coffman said. “Especially my friends back home. A lot of people said they had to do a double-take because they thought it was Tony (Gonzalez). But, there again, it was just an awesome opportunity that God has given me and it was a blessing to be in that position.”