Most Dallas Cowboys fans who recognize the name Lincoln Coleman know him for two things: his debut during the snowy 1993 Thanksgiving Day game against the Dolphins and him being reported missing twice in the last 14 months.
Coleman has struggled with mental health issues, substance abuse, and says he's due a part of the NFL concussion settlement. But he says he is getting help, feeling better and is humbled.
The former power running back who won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys is trying to get a job and be a good father to his three kids.
More than a year ago after Coleman wandered off and spent days in a homeless shelter, FOX 4 spoke to him on the phone for about a half an hour after he got home. It was one of the lowest points of his life. He said when his life was back on track he would sit down.
It's been a long time since Coleman has been able to smile as he talked about himself.
"I'm trying to get back to the nice guy that everybody knew,” he said.
The former Cowboys running back wishes he never left the team in 1995. During his two years with the Cowboys, he mentored kids and told them to steer clear of some of the things that ended up derailing his career and life. In the years that followed, he battled drug and alcohol addiction, spent time in rehab and fights depression to this day.
Just last year, Coleman’s family reported him missing to Dallas police. After FOX 4 ran the story, he returned home that night after spending time in a homeless shelter. Then, another missing report was made in February of this year after another dementia relapse. Again, he soon returned home on his own.
"I've spent a year trying to heal my brain a little bit,” he said. “Emotionally, I'm schizoaffective bipolar one."
But Coleman credits family and therapy for his progress. He says he's closer now to the man he wants to be.
"Today I'm feeling a lot better, which is why I wanted to be able to change the narrative on the way people view me,” he said.
Coleman admits being a jerk in his younger years, recalling an exchange with Cowboys strength and conditioning Coach Mike Woicik during an off season practice.
There are still struggles for the former star athlete. He is unemployed, and the medical issues still plague him.
"A lot of people kind of hit me up and go, ‘Do you remember when? You remember when?’ I hate that sentence,” he said. ‘I hate that phrase, ‘Do you remember when? Because I don't.”
But things are improving. Next week, Coleman will be signing autographs at the National Fantasy Football Convention in Fort Worth. He recently reconnected with his NFL friends and even made new ones.