Sammie Coates Jr. (born March 31, 1993) is an American football wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Auburn, where he played in the 2013 SEC Championship Game and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft

 

 

High school career

Coates attended Leroy High School in Leroy, Alabama. As a senior, he had 57 receptions for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns. Coates originally committed to play college football at the University of Southern Mississippi in March 2010, but changed his commitment to Auburn University in July.[3][4]

Considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Coates was listed as the No. 71 wide receiver in the nation in 2011.[5]

College career

True freshman season

In 2011, Coates missed his entire freshman season at Auburn in 2011 due to a foot injury.[6]

Redshirt freshman season

After missing his entire first season at Auburn, Coates was part of the wide receiver rotation in 2012. He played his first game against Clemson and caught his first career touchdown, a 33-yard Hail Mary from quarterback Kiehl Frazier, against Louisiana-Monroe. As a redshirt freshman, he had six receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

Sophomore season

As a sophomore in 2013, Coates started 12 games and had 42 receptions for 902 yards with seven touchdowns.[7] He was a big play threat, having 14 catches for 30+ yards. Against SEC West rival Arkansas, he had 102 receiving yards, marking his third consecutive 100+ yard game. In the 2014 BCS National Championship Game loss against Florida State, he had 4 receptions for 61 yards.

Junior season

As a junior in 2014, Coates had 34 receptions for 741 yards and four touchdowns. He finished his career at Auburn ranking 10th in the school's career receiving yards (1,757 yards), 13 career touchdown receptions, and seven career games with over 100 yards receiving. In the Iron Bowl against Alabama he set a school record with 206 receiving yards, five catches, and two touchdowns. In addition, he recorded four receptions in the Outback Bowl and was invited to the Reese's Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Coates was voted second-team All-SEC by the coaches, The Associated Press, and Phil Steele.[8]

In December 2014, Coates decided to forego his senior season and declared for the 2015 NFL Draft[9] and also graduated from Auburn University with a diploma in Public Administration.

Professional career

On December 12, 2014, Coates announced he accepted his invitation to the 2014 Senior Bowl.[10] Prior to the Senior Bowl, NFL analyst Mel Kiper projected him to possibly be a first round pick. The majority of NFL draft experts and scouts projected Coates to be a late first or second round pick. NFL scouts at the Senior Bowl said they loved Coates' sudden cuts, superior speed and big, well-developed frame, and his potential makes him a possible future No. 1 wide receiver. Coates met with team representatives from the Baltimore Ravens after he had an impressive week of practice where he made multiple highlight reel catches.[11][3] On January 25, 2014, Coates recorded one reception for 13-yards in the Senior Bowl, but had to leave the game after suffering a groin injury. Under Jacksonville Jaguars' head coach Gus Bradley, Coates helped the South defeat the North 20-10.[3] He received a invitation to the NFL Combine and completed all of the required combine and positional drills. His 23 reps in the bench ress finished first among wide receivers. On March 3, 2014, Coates opted to participate at Auburn's pro day along with Greg Robinson, Dee Ford, Chris Davis, Tre Mason, Cody Parkey, Jay Prosch, Quan Bray, and nine other teammates.[3] He chose to only run positional drills for the scouts and team representatives in attendance. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Coates was projected to be a second or third round pick by the majority of NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the 11th best wide receiver in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com and NFL media analysis Charles Davis.[3][3]

Pre-draft measurables
HtWtArm lengthHand size40‑yd dash10-yd split20-yd split20‑ss3‑coneVert jumpBroadBP
6 ft 1 in
(1.85 m)
212 lb
(96 kg)
33 38 in
(0.85 m)
9 38 in
(0.24 m)
4.43 s1.55 s2.59 s4.06 s6.81 s41 in
(1.04 m)
10 ft 11 in
(3.33 m)
23 reps
All values from NFL Combine[3][3]

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Coates in the third round (87th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. He was the 13th wide receiver selected in 2015.

2015

On May 15, 2015, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Coates to a four-year, $2.91 million contract with a signing bonus of $631,515.[3]

He competed with Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey throughout training camp to be the second starting wide receiver for the season, as Martavis Bryant was serving a four-game suspension to begin the season. Head coach Mike Tomlin named Coates the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart to start the season, behind Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Darrius Heyward-Bey.[3]

On September 27, 2015, Coates made his professional regular season debut in a 12-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams after he was inactive for the first two games. On October 1, 2015, Coates made his first career catch on an 11-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger during a 20-23 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. This was his only reception of his rookie season as he appeared minimally on special teams. Martavis Bryant returned the following week, pushing Coates to the fifth receiver on the depth chart. He appeared in six games in 2015. The Pittsburgh Steelers received a playoff berth after finishing second in the AFC North with a 10-6 record.[20]

On January 17, 2015, he appeared in the first playoff game of his career after Antonio Brown was unable to play after suffering a concussion the following game on a hit from Vontaze Burfict. Coates made two receptions for 61-yards in the Steelers' 16-23 loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC divisional playoff game.

2016

Coates competed with Wheaton and Heyward-Bey for the starting wide receiver job after Martavis Bryant was suspended for the entire 2016 season. He was named the third wide receiver on the depth chart behind Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton.[4]

On September 12, 2016, he received his first career start against the Washington Redskins and finished the season-opener with two receptions for 56-yards in the Steelers' 38-16 victory. The following week, he earned two receptions for 97-yards and had the first rushing attempt of his career for a six yard gain, as the Steelers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 24-16. On October 9, 2016, Coates caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger, marking his first career touchdown in a 31-13 win over the New York Jets. Although he suffered an injury to his hand during the game, he managed to finish with a career-high six receptions for 139 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions.[4] It was reported that he suffered a broken index finger and required stitches during the game against the Jets but was still activated for the following week against the Miami Dolphins.[4] The injury limited him to two receptions for 14 receiving yards in the next nine games. He was deactivated for the last two games of the season (Weeks 16-17). He finished the season with 21 receptions for 235 receiving yards and two touchdowns in five starts and 14 games.[20]

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished first in the AFC North with an 11-5 record in 2016. on January 22, 2017, Coates made two receptions for 34-yards in a 17-36 loss to the eventual Super Bowl LI Champion New England Patriots.

2017

On February 13, 2017, Coates underwent sports hernia surgery.[4]

Coates competed with Martavis Bryant and rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster for the vacant starting wide receiver position left by the departure of Markus Wheaton. Unfortunately, he missed half of training camp due a knee injury, that required knee arthroscopy and would require a recovery time.[4]

Cleveland Browns

On September 2, 2017, the Steelers traded Coates and a 2019 seventh-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for a 2018 sixth-round pick.[4] Coates became expendable after the Pittsburgh Steelers had acquired major depth at their wide receiver position with Martavis Bryant's return from suspension, JuJu Smith-Schuster's selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the emergence of Eli Rogers in Coates absence the season prior. The Pittsburgh Steelers opted to go with veterans Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter for their last two receiver spots.[4]

Head coach Hue Jackson named Coates the fourth wide receiver behind Kenny Britt, Corey Coleman, and Rashard Higgins to start the 2017 season.[4]

He made his Cleveland Browns' debut in their 18-21 season-opening loss to his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. On October 15, 2017, he caught a 14-yard pass from Kevin Hogan to mark his first reception as a member of the Cleveland Browns. They went on to lose 16-33 to the Houston Texans.[4]

Personal life

Sammie Coates was raised in Leroy, Alabama to Sharon and Sammie Coates Sr. In November 2003, his father was killed in a car crash while driving to work at one of his two jobs.

After being drafted by the Steelers on May 1, 2015, Coates became engaged to his girlfriend Kailey Rogers.[4]