Exclusive with Steelers WR Sammie Coates

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First, tell us a bit about your health right now-  you at 90%? 100%?

I’m healthy – looking forward to going into camp healthy this year. That’s where I’m at right now.

Last year of course you started of strong but there were some struggles the second half of the season. Can you talk a bit about what portion of the struggles were due to injury and how the struggles and injuries affected you?

All players play hurt. The downfalls get to you, but it was more mental, the mistakes. The injuries don’t play into it. You just have to play through them is all.

Can they be reasons but not excuses?

No – it’s really just mental. I just needed to be more consistent. They really can’t be the reasons for anything,

You’re active on social media – more than most guys. What drives you to be more active on forums like Twitter and what do you say to those who took the Bryant tweet {about taking a back seat to JuJu} seriously?

That’s just part of who I am. I’ve always been like that – even in college. The Bryant tweet – we like to have fun with each other – that’s what we do. There’s nothing else to it.

The team brought in a number of new guys at receiver this offseason. That frustrating for you – thoughts on that?

It’s football. They will always be bringing in other guys – it’s always a competition. It’s never frustrating – it’s just a part of the game. JuJu and those other guys – just more great players to have on the team.

I spoke with Demarcus Ayers last week – he spoke about the team running more four-receiver sets. That excite you?

You can’t read too much into anything right now. We’ll see how it all plays out. You have to wait and see what it all looks like when camp starts.

A lot of the potential contributors are young guys. So you remember as a rookie/young player who helped you the most – on and off the field – and how?

All the guys in the room helped me – it’s a great group of guys. It’s really about watching what they’re doing and how they perform – watching and listening to those guys.

Off the field?

Taking care of my body really. Keeping healthy – getting massages, seeing chiropractors. Things you wouldn’t do normally or think of otherwise.

Any aspect of your game you’re looking to focus on now most – anything coaches are asking you to work on?

As a wide receiver there’s always something to improve upon. You have to watch yourself – learn what to work on by watching your own play. You have to pick and choose every part of your game so they don’t have to.

I just need mostly to be a more consistent receiver. Work on the little things…

Tell me a bit about how you and the team can improve your red sone offense that struggled some last season?

Yeah – we need to be better in the red zone and I’m sure they’re working on plays for that. We need to come out with more points – more touchdowns instead of field goals. No field goals – just touchdowns.

Talk about playing with Ben a bit – and what his tendency to go for big plays even on short distance downs says about his trust and approach to the game?

He’s a great quarterback. When he sees an opportunity he takes advantage of it – whether it’s a short play or a deep throw. That’s the way he is. He’s a great quarterback to play with – what he does is unbelievable – I’m glad to have him as our quarterback. He’s a great player and a great person.

You have the Sammie Coates Score for Kids program. What’s the plan for that this year?

Every year I try to give back to the community. Food drives, money for each touchdown….we change it up every season. We’ll have to wait until the season starts to figure out what we’re doing this time.

Any last thoughts for readers?

I’m just looking forward to getting back to it and having a great season for the fans and ringing up number seven.

Read more by former Steelers via the book Steelers Takeaways: Player Memories Through the Decades To order, just click on the book:

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