Not just sugar coating it: Rookie Sammie Coates is nothing but smiles when he talks about his first season with the Steelers, because it's a team he loves playing for.
"It's a great organization," said Coates. "To be here is a great plus for me. I get to watch some of the great players do it. Guys I have been watching for a long time. To be a part of the team, grow and see what it's like to be a Steelers player has been great. You come in and see how guys work. How the coaches run things. You know it's going to be all about winning."
And that winning approach the players get comes from Coach Mike Tomlin, who Coates is thrilled to play for.
"He is one of the greatest coaches I have been around," said Coates. "He knows all about the game. He doesn't do it as a job, he does it because he loves the game and I love that about him. Playing for him is special. He is going to be there for you no matter what. He is a great coach."
- QBs make a difference: Coates already shared how much quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has helped with his development, but Steelers backup quarterback Mike Vick also had a big impact on him last season.
"He is one of those guys that knows a lot, knows things you need and want to hear," said Coates. "He told me that he has been around a lot of players, and that I am going to be a great player, that I just have to continue to get better.
"It's Mike Vick, at the end of the day you are getting advice from one of the guys that changed the game of football from the quarterback position. To have two guys like that, Ben and him, it's hard to explain. You have guys who have been top names for a long time."
- Lessons learned: Being a rookie means learning a lot of lessons in the NFL, and Coates is no different than any of his fellow rookies who grew this year thanks to those lessons.
"The biggest thing I learned is to be in great shape," said Coates. "You always think you are in great shape. When I got here and saw the speed changed, I got in better shape when the season went on. You have to be in shape before the season starts."