CLEVELAND -- A week ago, wide receiver Sammie Coates was catching passes for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and now, he finds himself readying to square off against his former team while preparing to play his first game for their archrivals in the AFC North Division, the Cleveland Browns.
Despite the timing of a trade that sent a sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft back to the Steelers, Coates is focused on doing what is necessary to help the Browns win games during the 2017 season.
“It is different,” Coates said. “Short time, had to make a move, but I am happy to be here. I am looking forward to helping the team win.
“I don’t look at what they did last year. I can’t control that. It is all about what you can do now.”
What Coates can control is his ability to make plays, and use his speed to the Browns’ advantage, something that will be a welcomed sight on a team that lacks depth and experience at the wide receiver position.
“What am I getting? A guy that can run fast,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “I think you guys know I like guys who can run and run fast and make plays down the field. He is a special-teams player as well. He has some of that capability. Here is another big, fast guy that we get a chance to see if he can make the plays I think he can.
“He is here for a reason. He has been a little bit longer, so hopefully, we can get him up and running pretty quickly. All of these guys that are coming in, we want to get them up and running. The guys that we put on our football team, we are hoping that they can help improve our team, and that is why you put them on the team. They give you a chance.”
In his first two NFL seasons out of Auburn University, Coates turned 22 catches into 446 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yard score in a 31-13 win over the New York Jets last October.
During the Steelers’ run to the AFC Championship Game last season, Coates caught two passes and gained 34 yards in the postseason despite playing part of the season with multiple broken fingers.
“It is not the best way to do it,” Coates said.
“It is just a mind thing. You have to concentrate a little bit more and you have to catch it a certain way. That was the biggest difference was trying to figure out where to catch the ball without hitting your finger again.”
And just as he did with the Steelers, Coates plans on seizing whatever opportunities he can to make a positive impact for the Browns, who are looking to reverse the fortunes of a franchise without a winning season since 2007 and a playoff appearance since January of 2003.
“Whatever they ask me to do,” Coates said. “You want to prepare for anything. I am capable to play special teams. I am capable to play offense. Whatever they ask me to do, I am going to go out there and showcase my talent.”