"It's going to be like that until we get to camp -- it's going to be a good fight," Coates told ESPN.com. "It's a great room, great guys. There will be competition all year."
Coates looked to be turning the corner in 2016. We wrote about how his home run or bust potential was connecting in a serious way for the Steelers, but his production derailed after Week 5. Over his final nine games, Coates, reeling from a broken finger, caught just two balls on 18 targets -- a catch percentage of 11.1.
Coates was never going to be a high catch percentage player, but dipping below 50 percent had to contribute to some of Ben Roethlisberger's frustrations. Now Martavis Bryant is back from suspension and the immensely productive JuJu Smith-Schuster was added in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. I think all of Roethlisberger's offseason posturing had to lead to at least some major offensive alterations.
As Jeremy Fowler noted in the piece, there's probably going to be a spot for Coates on the roster. Even in today's landscape, it's hard to find someone with that combination of immense size and speed. He is a special teams coordinator's dream if the attitude matches the frame. In the right spot, he's still a matchup nightmare streaking down the sidelines.