Philadelphia Eagles Moving Forward With Riley Cooper
Before the full team had even made its way onto the practice field, Cooper emerged from the Novacare Complex tunnel and was nearly immediately greeted by veterans Jason Avant and DeMeco Ryans. Each shared a moment with the embattled wide receiver upon return from a three-day excused absence to seek racial sensitivity training.
Then in the final stages of the workout’s full team 11-11 drills, Cooper caught three deep touchdown passes. The first was a leaping reception in the back of the end zone on a pass thrown by Michael Vick, punctuated by Cooper keeping both feet in bounds. Cooper’s third touchdown grab was on a perfectly thrown ball by Nick Foles which the 25-year old caught in stride.
Cooper’s teammates serenaded him with a chant of “Coop” following his final TD reception, so there’s that in response to the question of just how divided this locker room became in the wake of the fifth-year receiver shouting a racial slur at a security guard during a June Kenny Chesney Concert.
“It felt good. It felt great,” said the receiver following practice. “I love being out there on the field playing football, that’s what I do and that’s what I love. It felt good to be out there with the guys catching and running and making some plays, and them coming up to you, supporting you, high-fiving you, chest-bumping you like Jason Avant did in the end zone when I had that TD. It just felt good to be back out here with all the guys.”
Ryans, one of the team’s strongest leaders, said he feels his teammates are ready to move on.
“I think we’ve move past this as a team,” Ryans said afterwards.
Cooper made it clear after practice that he hopes this story ends with him in Philadelphia.
“I sure do hope so,” he replied. “And I’m going to try each and every day to prove that and just play as hard as I can, play my game, and I want to stay here.”
Head coach Chip Kelly has been one of Cooper’s most outspoken supporters throughout this process and reiterated Tuesday what he said last week, that he hadn’t envisioned a situation where the University of Florida product would be cut.
“I don’t see that happening after talking to our players. I think our players really understand the situation and are working with him to make sure they get a better understanding of the whole situation, but I don’t envision that happening, no,” said Kelly.
After a three-practice absence, it appears clear that the Eagles are in the process of moving forward with Cooper in the fold and past this divisive controversy.
Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.
Three Buffalo Bills training camp questions that do not include EJ Manuel
Forget the all encompassing quarterback battle or the intrigue of the offensive line auditions. What are the other areas worth discussing on the Buffalo Bills? Avoiding redundancy and side stepping critical mass, here are the top 3 NON QUARTERBACK AND NON OFFENSIVE LINE questions for the Buffalo Bills early on in training camp. Read More
Three players who will have breakout seasons for the New York Jets
A lot of the hype surrounding the Jets stems from the big-name guys they brought in this offseason -- Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Brandon Marshall -- but no matter how good they may be, they’re still joining a team that went 4-12 last season; they won’t be able to do it all themselves. The Jets need some of their own guys to step up, to break out. Read More
Three hilarious reasons why Deadspin hates the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Deadspin's Drew Magary is in the midst of a really awesome series entitled "Why Your Team Sucks." It's simple, it's mean and (most importantly) it's really funny. Read More
Three reasons why the Atlanta Falcons need to sign Jake Long immediately
If you’re wondering how Jake Long is even available, that’s a good question, but it all comes down to this: Does he have anything left? All I can say is that whether he does or not, he’s well worth the risk. Read More
The top-10 New Orleans Saints skill players of the Sean Payton era (Part 1)
The New Orleans Saints and Sean Payton have made high-flying offenses their signature dish, but who have been the main ingredients? Here are the top-10 skill players of the Sean Payton era. Read More