Steve just wanting to the kid from Brooklyn sometimes but no one giving that chance.
Steve trying to make those new human connections but every time sooner or later Captain America some how makes it’s way into the conversation.
Steve wanting Bucky or one of the Commandos to play around with and not let him get away anything. He’s not a star or an icon. He’s just Steve.
Steve holding on to Peggy, his best girl, even tighter because he loves her. Because she knows how to keep him in line. When she isn’t lucid however, it hurts to keep his smile going.
So he throws himself into his work.
He finds a unexpected companion in Natasha. She sees as just man. She teases him and he slowly opens himself up to her. He even entertains her trying to find him a date.
And then he meets (to put it loosely) this guy running. The guy is always trying to keep up with him even though both of them know he can’t. “On Your Left.” started out as a curtesy thing and then it turned into a slightly teasing thing. The guy takes well, even gets in some jokes. Steve likes him.
When they officially meet he finds out the guys name is Sam Wilson.
They joke, make small talk and it’s nice. Steve, in the back of his head, is waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Sam knows the story Captain America (who doesn’t?), ” You must miss the old days huh?”
Steve, feeling the old pain, answers his questions and prepares to leave.
Until Sam speaks again. Makes an observation (the beds being too soft, feeling like you’re sleeping on a marshmallow) that reels Steve back in. Shows Steve that he understands.
What Steve doesn’t realize that Sam is taking as big a leap of faith just he was. Sam probably was waiting for Steve to say something low key racist, about the old days being better and that today’s generation was selfish or something ludicrous. But he doesn’t, so Sam feels more comfortable around him.
Fox News is wrong and the Right and their über conservative Captain America wet dream is laid to rest in Sam’s eyes.
When Steve seeks him out the second time they connect even more. Sam tells Steve about losing Riley which obviously hits home with Steve. This guy understands. He knows.
When Steve and Natasha pop up on Sam’s doorstep it’s another leap of faith on Steve’s part (and Natasha’s if you want to get right down to it, She’s putting faith in Steve and his judgement. The woman who works better alone, relying on other people). Sam, with no resistance, let’s them in and shelters them. Feeds them. Gives them a place to shower and regroup.
"We have no where else to go"
"Everyone we know is trying to kill us."
" Not everyone."
When Sam offers his help Steve knows somewhere deep inside that this guy, Sam Wilson, is a true friend in the making. Sam and Natasha are his friends. His human connections.
Even when Sam tells him that he might have to kill the Winter soldier, he knows that it’s not out of malice. That Sam knows how hard this is for him. That if the roles were switched Sam would feel the same way he does at the very moment. Either way Sam is all in.
" Don’t look at me, I do what he does just slower."
Sam is constantly given chances to get out but never does. He’s doing the right thing. He’s trying to stop a great evil. He’s seeing this through til the end. When Steve wakes up at the hospital he is right there (he didn’t even clean up).
" You don’t have to come with me."
" I know. When do we start?"
The clincher. They are apart of each other lives now. They are battle tested. Steve finds one more thing to tie him to this world. Sam and Natasha are his people. Come hell or high water.
The man out of time is slowly making his way in the world and he’s not alone.
So to compare Sam Wilson to Phil Coulson is not only laughable it’s so incorrect and farfetched. In fact Coulson probably wishes that he was Sam Wilson.