After the Steelers drafted wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of this year’s draft, Martavis Bryant tweeted that the rookie would be replacing Sammie Coates in the team’s receiving corps.
Coates responded with a laugh, but he’s aware that it is going to be a competitive situation at camp this summer. Antonio Brown has a spot locked down and the Steelers won’t be cutting Smith-Schuster. Barring further discipline, Bryant will likely have another spot and Eli Rogers is back after working out of the slot last season.
Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter, Cobi Hamilton and 2016 seventh-rounder Demarcus Ayers round out a group that Coates believes will make for “a good fight” for jobs. Special teams work will factor into the final choices and Coates’ chances of being one of them will be better if he’s healthy after breaking fingers last season and having groin surgery this offseason.
“I’m getting there. It’s a process,” Coates said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “That’s what this process is for, to get your body back so you can compete during camp. … I’m starting to get back my speed.”
Getting as much of it back as soon as he can would seem to be in Coates’ best interests.