Ben Coates

Ben Coates
No. 87, 81
Position: Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1969-08-16) August 16, 1969
Greenwood, South Carolina
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Greenwood (SC)
College: Livingstone
NFL Draft: 1991 / Round: 5 / Pick: 124
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions: 499
Receiving Yards: 5,555
Touchdowns: 50
Player stats at NFL.com

Benjamin Terrence Coates (born August 16, 1969) is a former American football tight end[1] in the National Football League and former CIAA football coach and former NFL tight ends coach.

Early years

Coates didn't play football until his senior year at Greenwood High School, and was a multi-sport player at Livingstone College located in Salisbury, North Carolina. As a gridiron player at Livingstone, he broke nearly all meaningful records at the school, but due to his split-sport performances, against weak competition, for a non-notable school, he received little notice outside the CIAA. While a college student, he joined Phi Beta Sigma fraternity through the Upsilon Chapter at Livingstone College.

Professional career

Considered an out-of-nowhere prospect, Coates was picked in the fifth round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.[2] His first two years with the Patriots were fairly uneventful; in his rookie year he had ten catches for 95 yards and a two-yard touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts that forced overtime in a 23-17 Patriots win. In his second season, he had twenty catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

His career changed with the 1993 arrival of quarterback Drew Bledsoe and legendary head coach Bill Parcells to the Patriots franchise. Parcells, known for his reliance on tight ends, frequently used then-rookie quarterback Bledsoe on passes to Coates, and the tight end led the Patriots in receptions in 1993 with 53 catches for 629 yards and eight scores, two of them in New England's season-ending overtime win over Miami.

In 1994, his breakout year, he caught 96 passes, the most ever for a tight end to that point[3] (the record was broken by Tony Gonzalez in 2004), for 1,174 yards receiving, the only time in his career he would gain 1,000 yards in a receiving season, while also scoring seven touchdowns. He appeared in his first Pro Bowl and would appear in the next four as well.

In 1996, Coates had 62 catches for 682 yards and nine touchdowns; the most dramatic was against the New York Giants in the final game of the regular season as he caught a twelve-yard pass and bulled through Giants defenders for the game-winning score of a 23-22 New England win. His efforts helped New England to a championship appearance in Super Bowl XXXI. His team lost the game 35-21, but he had a good performance in it, leading the Patriots in receiving with 6 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. From 1995 to 1998, he caught 84, 62, 66, and 67 passes, respectively, in those 4 seasons.

After the 1999 season, Coates was released by the Patriots, and afterwards played for the Baltimore Ravens, where he climbed the all-time receiving charts, winning Super Bowl XXXV in the process. When Coates was released by the Ravens in the following year, he decided to retire, having become the fourth all-time leading receiver at tight end in NFL history, behind Ozzie Newsome, former teammate Shannon Sharpe, and Kellen Winslow. Coates played in 158 games with 499 receptions for 5,555 yards and 50 touchdowns.

After retiring, Coates returned to Livingstone College, where he was head coach, and also coached in NFL Europe. In 2004, he served an internship with the Dallas Cowboys as an assistant for the tight ends under head coach Bill Parcells. In March 2005, Coates was named the tight ends coach for the Cleveland Browns, replacing Rob Chudzinski, under head coach Romeo Crennel who was the former defensive coordinator of Coates' former team, the New England Patriots.

It was announced on July 7, 2008, that Coates would be inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame.

Personal life

On July 27, 1998 Ben Coates was charged with domestic assault battery as he reportedly threw girlfriend Jennifer Marshal on top of her car and smashed her head off the pavement. On December 9 of the same year, Coates was acquitted at Wrentham District Court after a jury trial at which Marshall appeared and testified for the prosecution.[4][5][6]

NFL statistics

YearTeamGPRecYdsAvgLngTD1stFumFumL
1991NE1610959.5171600
1992NE16201718.62231211
1993NE165365912.45483200
1994NE16961,17412.26276521
1995NE168491510.93565144
1996NE166268211.08493711
1997NE166673711.23583700
1998NE146766810.03364500
1999NE163237011.62722000
2000BAL169849.3280300
Career1584995,55511.1845030887

[7]

References

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