<
>

Steelers' Sammie Coates 'worked my butt off' to create role

LATROBE, Pa. -- Sammie Coates has lost about five-to-six pounds and clearly looks more comfortable in his second Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, from his on-field presence to conducting interviews.

Coaches said Coates had a big offseason that included daily trips to the team facility, even in the slow months. Now he's starting to find the payoff. Coates generated buzz with several impressive grabs during Saturday's practice, prompting coach Mike Tomlin to say Coates had a "good day." For Tomlin, who's not an excessive back-patter, "good" is doing mighty fine.

"It just comes to a point where you've got to go," said Coates about his mentality. "You can't think about what you missed, you have to think about what you can make up. I worked my butt off to get where I'm at today. I had to make myself available to stay on the field and help my team win."

Coates admits his conditioning wasn't ideal when he entered camp as a rookie. Now that a primary role in the Steelers offense is available for the taking, Coates has found a perfect time to improve from his one-catch rookie year.

The Steelers plan to replace the suspended Martavis Bryant’s No. 2 receiver spot collectively, with Markus Wheaton, Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey and others.

"Knowing what's going on around you, knowing the situation... I know what to expect, where my body needs to be at," Coates said. "If you don't come in conditioned, you're not going to stay long."

The way Coates sees it, the conditioning is far more important than what his role in the offense is going to be. Coates is a vertical threat, but he knows this offense requires more.

"You have to be able to do everything," Coates said. "That's what I've been working on."