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Where are they now: Sammie Coates, former Steelers wide receiver

Since we are in the NFL offseason and training camp is almost underway, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at past and present NFL athletes and where they are now.

This segment will be on former Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates and his rollercoaster of a stint in Pittsburgh.

Quick Biography:

Sammie Coates was a talented prospect coming out of Leroy High School in Leroy, Alabama. His senior season was explosive, and with his 6-foot-1 200 pound body frame catching contested catches paired with his speed, Coates ended up a three-star talent in 2011.

Being a young and talented high school athlete, he had a very tough decision to make in regards to his commitment to a college football program. He originally committed to the University of Southern Mississippi but decided it was in his best interest to head to Auburn University.

While at Auburn, Coates caught 82 receptions for 1,757 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was a vertical threat in the passing game and averaged 21.4 yards per reception.

After three successful seasons at Auburn, Coates entered the 2015 NFL Draft and was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round (pick 87). Coates would go on to play just two seasons in Pittsburgh before signing a contract with the Cleveland Browns in 2017. After only catching six passes in Cleveland, he signed with the Houston Texans in 2018 before completely being out of the NFL scene all together.

School Details:

  • Leroy High School
  • Auburn University

NFL Statistics:

2015: Pittsburgh Steelers: 1 Reception | 11 Average | 11 Yards | 0 TDs

2016: Pittsburgh Steelers: 21 Receptions | 20.7 Average | 435 Yards | 2 TDs

2017: Cleveland Browns: 6 Receptions | 11.7 Average | 70 Yards | 0 TDs

2018: Houston Texans: 1 Reception | 12 Average | 12 Yards | 0 TDs

Total: 29 Receptions for 528 Yards, 18.2 Average, 2 TDs

Where is he now?

Coates last played and secured a spot on an NFL roster during the 2018 season with the Texans. Since then, he spent time in other leagues trying to resurrect his football career.

In 2020, he spent time with the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL league. He played in four games and caught six receptions for 61 total yards and no touchdowns.

In 2021, he signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League but was placed upon the suspended list shortly after. In a last ditch attempt to make a roster, Coates joined another CFL organization, the Edmonton Elks in 2023, but was released after their final preseason game.

Even though Coates no longer is playing professional football, he did find a new home with the University of Virginia’s College at Wise where he is their wide receivers coach.

Coates is active on social media platform X, and throughout the content I have seen, he seems to be a positive figure with the new generation of athletes.

Thoughts on Coates’ Short Stint in Pittsburgh: 

I often times go back and read articles I wrote almost a decade prior when I was in high school. I covered the Pittsburgh Steelers on my then website Steel City Report along with being under contract as a freelance writer for SB Nation’s Behind the Steel Curtain. One article that I stumbled across that inspired this post was a Steelers Film Room that I did with our very own Jeff Hartman in September 2016.

The title of the article was ‘Steelers Film Room: Sammie Coates could be X-Factor for Pittsburgh in Week 3′. Jeff and I broke down Coates’ week two performance versus the Bengals and the positives and negatives that stood out.

Many fans may have wiped the Week 3 matchup against the Eagles in 2016 from their memory, but looking back, Coates caught three receptions for 50 yards. In comparison, Antonio Brown caught 12 receptions for 140. The Steelers lost 34-3 as Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 301 total yards and two touchdowns.

Was Coates the ‘X-Factor’ in that Eagles game like we predicted? No.

His career may not have turned out like the organization and fans have wanted and hoped for, but sometimes the NFL stage is just a little too big, or some players are too early for the league and its trends.

For Coates, his inconsistency and hand injury plagued him and he was out of the league shortly after. Sometimes the NFL doesn’t work but for Coates, being around Ben Roethlisberger and the 2016 Steelers ultimately gave him life lessons and teaching material that he can pass on to the younger generation – and for that, it was most likely worth it for him.


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