Lolley: Sammie Coates’ Fingers ‘Mangled Like A Lineman’

If you were searching for some optimism about third-year wide receiver Sammie Coates heading into the 2017 season, beat writer Dale Lolley provided a cold bucket of water for you yesterday afternoon on Twitter, reporting that the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver’s fingers looked like they were “mangled like a lineman” and quipped that it’s “probably not good” for a wide receiver.

You might recall that several weeks back we were given to believe that the former third-round pick had surgery to repair multiple broken fingers on his hand. Coates last week revealed on his own on Twitter that the surgery that he underwent was to repair a groin injury.

Melanie Friedlander asked Lolley subsequently if Coates’ fingers looked like that because he has surgery, and Lolley confirmed in the negative, so we now have visual verification that he indeed has not had his broken fingers repaired.

Friedlander followed up saying that Coates should have had surgery during the season when he injured the hand and went on injured reserve, and I would tend to agree with our own resident doctor. After all, the post-injury results pretty clearly speak for themselves.

Coates caught two passes for the Steelers in the season opener, including a 42-yarder, for 56 total yards. The next game he added receptions of 44 and 53 yards for a total of 97 on two receptions. After a three-catch, 50-yard effort that featured a 41-yard reception, he caught six passes for 79 yards, the longest being 47.

In his final game as a meaningful contributor, he went off for 139 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown, the first score of his career. He added another short score on his six catches, some of which came after he injured his hand and broke two fingers in the process.

But he was getting by on adrenalin at that point—and he did drop multiple passes early in the second half before beginning to rebound—and he finished up the regular season with just two more catches in the final nine games for 14 yards. He sat out the last two games of the regular season with a hamstring injury.

He did get an opportunity to play a bigger role in the AFC Championship game, but his first opportunity to contribute consisted of a dropped pass on a long ball on third and short that had the potential to go for a long score. He did haul in a 30-yard pass in the second half and had 34 yards total on two receptions.

It is a mystery to many why Coates has not, at least yet, had his fingers surgically repaired. Whether he needs surgery or can use the offseason to allow them to get better on their own by actually resting them, it is imperative that he gets back to what he was doing in the early portion of his second season.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Steel Realist PAul

    What a mess. Steelers gotta take care of their own better.

  • Steeldog22

    Absolutely inexcusable

  • Ralph Wagner

    If the guy can’t catch then it’s not rocket science that he can’t be a wide receiver. Maybe it’s time for this guy to find his life’s work.

    Mr. Rooney should tell Tomlin and Haley that a wide receiver must be able to catch the ball. Maybe a new receivers coach can explain that concept to them. Come on man.

    Go Steelers

  • Thomas

    Thank God for Bryant coming back. So is he a corner now too? ;P

  • RickM

    Tough to even know how to respond to this. I feel badly for Coates for the advice he was given after the injury. The team’s belief that ‘playing ST wouldn’t hurt his injury further’ was one of the strangest comments I’ve ever heard. It just seems like they never gave him a proper opportunity to let things properly heal. It would be nice to know the medical staff’s explanation, but I’m sure that won’t be forthcoming.

  • John Pennington

    If wants to play foitball get the surgery now or he wont be playing in Pittsburgh. I agree he should have gotten his hand none by now OTAS will be coming up and new players coming in who can catch the ball this is a stupid move by Coates and the coaching staff.Have the surgery now this week to give yourself a chance to make the team or wait and someone will take your spot thats how it works in the NFL time waits for no man.Remember Bryant is on his way back Severin is on his way back also who can catch stretch the field and go across the middle better than Coates.

  • steelburg

    I said they should have let him sit when he got injured. I thought he could have played a big role during the playoffs, but they never gave him the opportunity to heal and then they tried to make him a big factor during the Patriots game which was unfair to him IMO.


    Dude! You are a WR – get your broken fingers repaired!!

  • SteelerFanInMD

    Who’s decision was it not to have surgery on Sammie’s fingers? If it was the Steelers, then Sammie might have a grievance against the team if he can’t play WR anymore.

  • Tim Goetz

    our wr coach is excellent

  • StolenUpVotes

    The only reason we should be looking at WR coaches is if Coach Mann hangs up his whistle

  • Nolrog

    This seems like it’s going to be one of those cases where they ignore it all off-season and then right before training camp, he gets it fixed and then is out for 10-12 weeks.

  • Kevin Artis

    And you throw him a deep ball on 3rd and 1 in the Championship game. SMH.

  • Milliken Steeler

    I’ll wait until all the chips fall but that being said, wow. You have an extremely talented WR, that’s one more oops away from being done permanently. Another one, that’s hand looks like Brian Baldingers apparently? A TE, that has serious concussion issues. WR, should have been a strength and it wasn’t.

    I’d hate to have another season of ” what could have been” due to injuries and people letting the team down. Ill go the positive route however, it has to at least make you think.

  • VaDave

    Wow. This is much worse than I thought. I’m flabbergasted surgery hasn’t been done at this point. He’ll be lucky if he’ll be ready for training camp. This could easily be a career ender. Bummer. Seems like a great kid too.

  • LucasY59

    gotta fix a unknown groin problem instead…

  • LucasY59

    Wheaton and even Torry Holt (who is close/waiting to get into the Hall) had mangled fingers as well, I think its more common than some think (catching NFL QB fastballs day after day) but still strange that since he is rehabbing/had surgery on one thing he would double up and get them fixed (or at least try to, sometimes it just “is what it is” with fingers, and “fixing” involves fusing which makes them even less useful…)

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Yeah, it seemed like they kept stringing him along and giving him one or two targets per game, when they could have just sat him and let him recover.

  • budabar

    This guy could not catch a clean ball with good fingers it’s time to cut bait

  • TroymanianDevil

    Immediately thought of Torry Holt when I heard “mangled fingers”

  • TroymanianDevil

    I understand him trying to play through it .. but why doesn’t he get surgery now?

  • Michael Putman

    That annoys the crap outta me when it happens. Every year you hear about somebody (not necessarily a Steeler) who has surgery right before camp and is projected to miss 6-8 weeks or more. I always have to think… why didn’t they get that surgery in FEBRUARY, when it wouldn’t affect their ability to earn a paycheck during the offseason…?

  • billrubr

    Draft a WR in the first couple rounds. Please.

  • francesco

    Can we get a photo of his mangled hands? It would explain better than a thousand words!

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    It was idiotic in the extreme and they only had to look at Wheaton’s finger for reference. But they screwed up his shoulder situation too lol. Is the team doctor some 80 year old guy out of touch with reality?.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I remember Shaq putting off surgery once until the season started because he didn’t want to be laid up “on his time”.

  • Matt Manzo

    Sammie the Boneless!

  • RickM

    I really don’t know what is going on. IMO, they had three poor initial evaluations to starters this past season: delaying Dupree’s surgery; and totally getting the option to take with Wheaton and Coates wrong. I have very little confidence in them. I get that surgery is the last resort, but we have guys playing an incredibly physical sport. Thinking that Dupree, Wheaton and Coates could just come back without surgical repair (or even rest in Coates’ situation) was just plain dumb. Whatever the team doctors are recommending re: Bell’s groin injury, I’d suggest he do the opposite.

  • walter

    Broken fingers are healed by now. His option would be to rebreak them or in my case cut the bone.. Not a good option either way. Broken bones in this century should be set properly the first time especially with good insurance and good doctors. Maybe there were complications and he needed pins and he didnt want to do it.

  • walter

    good point

  • Matthew Marczi

    Not unless Coates posts one himself or gives somebody else permission to take a picture and post it.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    And saying he couldn’t catch but was good to go for special teams?, puhleeeze.

  • Michael Conrad

    LOL you are right and I think the Steelers know that. Draft a receiver in the third round.

  • Conserv_58

    Have you seen photos of Wheaton’s fingers, pre surgery? If you have then you can expect Coates’ fingers to look as bad. If Coates’ fingers are as bad as Dale Lolley says they are it’s no wonder he drops as many passes as he does.

  • Conserv_58

    Dale Lolley’s description of Coates’ fingers explains why he drops so many passes. IMO, since Coates had pelvic surgery he might as well get his fingers done too. That way he would be healed in time for the off season workouts.

  • francesco

    I just googled mangled hands!
    Sorry I did!

  • Ralph Wagner

    I judge a coach by what his players do on the field. Stuff like running the wrong rout, dropping and/or not reaching for a pass, is not good. Players are a reflection of their coach. If that is not the case, why are fans wanting Tomlin,Haley. Butler ect coaches fired? LOL

  • Yinzer MOB

    markus wheatons fingers were pretty mangled i think and he was able to contribute some i dont buy this report.

  • EdJHJr

    Why was this do hard to find out. Or the team couldn’t release this. Isn’t that an illegal in the nfl

  • Dan

    AB went from a 6th round pick to a stud. Bryant broke out during his rookie year; most of his issues have been off the filed. Rodgers went from undrafted and injured to solid. After Bryant’s suspension and Coates and Wheaton being hurt, the Steelers relied on DHB and Cobi Hamilton. Even a great coach can’t spin straw into gold on the fly like that.

  • colingrant

    Marcus Wheaton’s hand is mangled also. Said there was a miscommunication in the rehab which resulted in tissue not regenerating properly or something like that. Fingers splayed. Tough sport.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Wheaton hardly did anything the year that happened (his rookie year) and he had surgery after.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I tend to agree.

  • Ryan Alderman

    I don’t get it.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Very good points made, RIck.

  • Zarbor

    You really believe the Steelers don’t take care of their own? Geesh. How do you mesh Ladarius whom they seem to take care of him over and beyond and Sammie they seem to let him go to the way side?

    C’mon people.

  • 6 ring circus

    It’s not the fingers, its who they are attached to as far as ability to catch. It is very curious that he hasn’t had surgery to date though. It makes me think of a few other people who have famously mangled fingers and why they never got them fixed. Can it be something about a finger not being able to be repaired once it is mangled past a certain point? I think of Torry Holt (excellent pass catcher) and Brian Baldinger as prime examples.

  • Applebite

    I can’t even begin to tell how upset I am in hearing this. Why did they keep running him out there this season, if his hands look like an order of XL fries from Wendy’s?? And then they decide he doesn’t need surgery. So can somebody on the staff explain away why Coates is even on the roster right now, if there’s no intention to correct his condition?

  • PA2AK_

    Not really a stretch. Kendrell Bell?

  • Woodsworld

    He just might be a great corner or safety, if he can’t play WR because of his hands. Sure wish this wasn’t so……

  • SouthernSteel

    Don’t forget about Heyward also