Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates is recognized by many scouts for his chiseled physique and supreme athleticism, and rightfully so. At six-foot-two, 201 pounds, Coates has run as fast as 4.3 in the 40-yard dash. Coates’ physical prowess has presented him the opportunity to compete with the nation’s best college football players at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Though his God-given ability has paved the way for an opportunity to land his dream job, his kind spirit has afforded him something far greater. September 2013, Coates was introduced to 12-year old leukemia patient Kenzie Ray who he now affectionately refers to as his sister, and his inspiration.
Auburn’s coaching staff characterized Coates as a fierce competitor but also acknowledged the humanity he exhibits on a day-to-day basis. His humility and compassion for others has been on full display from the advent of his relationship with Kenzie. Whether it’s communicating via phone call, text message or Facetime, Coates is never too busy to create a presence in Kenzie’s life.
Not only has Coates created a presence in Kenzie’s life, he does whatever he possibly can to make her feel special. Coates regularly makes the two-hour pilgrimage from Auburn to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama to spend time with Kenzie and occasionally play video games with her.
Coates is keenly aware of how significant each visit is with Kenzie. Just as Kenzie serves as his best friend and inspiration, Coates functions as Kenzie’s greatest motivator in her battle with leukemia. Kenzie underwent a bone marrow transplant in August 2014, which unfortunately did not rid her body of the disease. Since that time, Coates has been able to lend his sister the encouragement necessary to keep her in the fight for her life.
Kenzie and Coates have essentially been inseparable since the day they met, and do not go a day without contacting one another. Their constant communication exists out of love, and understanding that they are simply stronger together.
Many feel as though the wide receiver position in the NFL is oversaturated with “divas” who only care about compiling stats. Coates’ altruistic nature is refreshing and bodes well for character evaluations each NFL prospect must endure. Irrespective of when his football journey ends, he truly has a heart of gold that is going to take him much further in life than his physical ability.
Please see below interview with Sammie Coates as he sheds light on the importance of his relationship with his sister Kenzie Ray:
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