- Lindsey Thiry, ESPN
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Nickell Robey-Coleman’s personality is infectious.
In the Los Angeles Rams‘ locker room, he’s among the most welcoming of faces. A stereo sits inside his locker, and many days he turns it up to provide a soundtrack for the room.
Robey-Coleman’s teammates describe him as their scrappiest player. He’s not only their 5-foot-8, 180-pound nickelback, he’s their hype man. Per usual, the defensive backs will look to him to provide inspirational words before they take the field against the New Orleans Saints in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
That’s what makes it so difficult to fathom. Underneath his exuberant and upbeat personality, the 27-year-old has already experienced some of life’s deepest sorrows.
“It’s a beautiful storm that you can’t really describe,” Robey-Coleman said. “It’s ugly, but it is great. It hurts, but it feels good.”
Eight years ago, he held his mother in his arms moments after she had passed away. And two months ago, in the middle of the season, his newborn son died before he ever had a chance to hold him.
Football has provided a path away from the pain.