New Browns wide receiver Sammie Coates appeared to be on the cusp of a breakthrough before two broken fingers and a groin injury made for a frustrating 2016 season.
But the former Pittsburgh Steeler believes he's better off because of that experience, hoping it translates to a brighter future after being traded to Cleveland this past weekend.
"After a while, you go through a certain amount of stuff in your life, you go through ups and downs and it makes you stronger," said Coates, who met with the local media Monday afternoon.
That approach could serve him well in a young and relatively inexperienced receivers room looking for playmakers to complement rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Coates, a 6-foot-1, 219-pound speedster who will help the Browns stretch the field, stressed consistency and becoming "a guy they can count on all the time" as he searches for his niche under head coach Hue Jackson.
"The goal is to come in and do whatever they ask me to do," Coates said when asked of his role on the offense. "If they need me to go block somebody, I'm gonna do it. It's whatever you can do to help the team win."
'I think you guys know, I like guys that can run and run fast and make plays down the field," Jackson added. "Again, he's a special teams player as well. He has some of that capability. Here's another big, fast guy that we get a chance to see if he can make the plays I think he can."
Back in Pittsburgh, Coates shined in taking the top off defenses, catching 21 passes for 435 yards and two touchdowns in the first five games of last season.
Then came the injuries. Coates broke both his index and ring fingers on his left hand and, after the season, needed surgery to repair the damage from a sports hernia.
"It's part of the game," he said. "You're going to have ups and downs. It's how you react toward it and how you recover from it. I did a good job of recovering from it."
Toward the end of training camp with the Steelers, Coates found himself on the wrong end of a numbers crunch in a room that includes All Pro Antonio Brown, recently-reinstated Martavis Bryant and rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster.
This weekend, of course, Coates will face his former team in what's the season opener for both Cleveland and Pittsburgh. And though he's focused on earning his keep with the Browns, he'll play with a chip on his shoulder Sunday.
"That's always the goal," he said, "if anybody trades you, you want to get the chance to showcase their talent against them and show what they're missing."