Sammie Coates heals up, prepares for 'good fight' at Steelers camp

PITTSBURGH -- The pressure's on at training camp, and Sammie Coates knows it.

The Steelers' wide receiver room will be deep when camp kicks off July 28. At least nine receivers are capable and the Steelers can't keep that many.

When asked about the competition among the receivers, Coates might as well have taken a boxer's stance.

"It’s going to be like that until we get to camp -- it’s going to be a good fight," said Coates during organized team activities earlier this month. "It’s a great room, great guys. There will be competition all year."

And a spotlight will be on Coates, who flashed big-play ability early in 2016 with one catch of at least 40 yards in four straight games. Then he broke his fingers in Week 5 while diving for a ball, which appeared to affect his confidence catching the ball. He failed to catch more than one pass in any of the final 11 regular-season games.

Coates also battled a groin injury that was not made public during the year but required offseason surgery.

Coates is a good special-teamer and still has the athleticism that made him a third-round draft pick out of Auburn in 2015. But he's got work to do to ensure a role.

Coates' goal for offseason work was simple: Get right for camp. Coates said he's spent the past month "getting my body back to normal" on the field.

"I'm getting there. It's a process," Coates said. "That's what this process is for, to get your body back so you can compete during camp."

Coates acknowledges he's working on all-around improvement, but after staying idle for two months on the groin injury, getting his legs back is a victory.

"I'm starting to get back my speed," Coates said.