The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of question marks about their group of wide receivers, particular for one that is supposed to be championship-caliber.
From suspensions to injuries to players being asked to fill roles that are seemingly beyond their depth, there were stretches of the 2016 season that were difficult to trudge through with their available talent—even with Antonio Brown on one side.
The biggest question facing this group is obviously the status of the application for reinstatement of Martavis Bryant, who while on the field showed a whole lot of flashes of being a big-time playmaker, even if his game brings with it a host of warts including dropped passes and lackluster route-running and an understanding of pattern groupings.
The other major question that must be answered in time about this group is whether or not Sammie Coates in his third season in 2017 can play the way that he did in the first five games of the 2016 season before he suffered a hand injury that greatly reduced his effectiveness, as well as his playing time, for the rest of the season.
We now have a subset question to the previous question posed thanks to an article penned by Bob Labriola on the team’s website. Early in the offseason, it was reported that Coates had surgery, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said he was told it was to repair his broken fingers.
While not outright contradicting the report, Coates himself a while later talked on social media about having had a surgery elsewhere on his body, and Fowler’s previous confirmation seemed to wither away.
Yet here we are in the middle of March, with Labriola making reference multiple times in an article to Coates having surgery to repair his broken fingers.
Is he making a mistake, or is he privy to information, working closely with the team, that others don’t have?
This will likely remain a question until some reporter actually gets an opportunity to ask the question of Mike Tomlin or Kevin Colbert in a position in which they are actually expected to answer it, and that could take a while.
Or, I suppose, somebody could just ask Labriola if he’s mistaken, or ask Coates if he had surgery on his hands. But it’s 1:30 in the morning right now, to be perfectly honest, so you get an article about it instead.