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Kevin Colbert: Steelers feel good about Sammie Coates

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When news of Martavis Bryant's one-year suspension broke last weekend, casual fans wondered why the Steelers weren't interested in a reunion with free agent wide out Mike Wallace as a replacement.

The answer is 2015 third-round draft pick Sammie Coates.

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"We feel good about Sammie Coates and his development," general manager Kevin Colbert said Sunday, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Unfortunately, Martavis won't be a part of the team in 2016 but Sammie Coates will be."

Physically gifted but unpolished as a rookie, Coates provided a glimpse of his potential in the Divisional Round loss to the Broncos. The former Auburn star came through with a a 37-yard catch-and-run, a 24-yard deep crosser and a long pass-interference penalty while picking up snaps in Antonio Brown's absence.

Prior to that game, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told CBS announcers that Coates had looked "spectacular" in postseason practices.

As bullish as the Steelers are on Coates' 2016 prospects, Colbert made it clear that Bryant's future with the organization is not in jeopardy as a result of his second league suspension in less than eight months.

Asked if the team considered releasing Bryant, Colbert replied, "No. None whatsoever. He has to do what he has to do from a league standpoint. He has to do what he has to do from a personal standpoint.

"We have to prepare for what we have to do without him in 2016. After all that is taken care of, we will revisit it but as of right now, as (Steelers president) Art (Rooney II) said, we support him, but in all honesty, what happens is totally up to him."

Bryant will be eligible to apply for reinstatement on Jan. 13, 2017 after forfeiting his 2016 salary of $600,000. Rooney confirmed Friday that the wide receiver's rookie contract now runs one extra season, through the 2018, as a result of the suspension.

The Steelers offense is loaded enough to withstand Bryant's season-long absence, but that won't stop fans from wondering what feats might have been possible at peak strength in 2016.

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