Riley Cooper finding approval from Eagles, fans simply by producing on field
This past summer, there was plenty of buzz surrounding wide receiver Riley Cooper. The label of “fantasy football sleeper” was the main tag being placed on the 2010 fifth round draft pick in early July. By Aug. 1, however, the only label Cooper had generated from the masses was that of “racist.”
“[Cooper] is still a teammate. I’m still going to block for him. I’m still gonna show great effort. Just on a friendship level, and as a person, I can’t really respect somebody like that,” said Eagles running back LeSean McCoy of Cooper after an internet video surfaced of the wide receiver using a racial slur at a country music concert.
Since that time, the Eagles have had enough on-field drama to make the masses slowly forget about Cooper’s off-field transgression. Cooper himself has been relatively quiet in interactions with the media, but he has made plenty of noise with his play on the field – particularly of late. He has registered back-to-back games of 100 yards receiving and put up a whopping five touchdowns total in the road victories at Oakland and Green Bay. This sudden end zone surge has put Cooper among the NFL leaders in touchdown grabs as only Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall have more TD catches than Cooper’s seven this season [teammate DeSean Jackson also has seven].
Cooper seems to have developed some chemistry with Nick Foles, as only one of those seven touchdowns has come off the arm of Michael Vick [back in Week 2 against San Diego]. With Foles unlikely to lose his starting job anytime soon given his recent play, Cooper could be in store for a few more big days in the next month or so. The wide receiver won’t exactly be a beloved figure in Philly. Ever. But the city and his teammates seem to be ready to forgive for a while – all as long as he produces.
“Everybody gets a second chance, man,” Linebacker Trent Cole told ESPN. “You have to forgive. We’re all brothers. We’re all together. If Riley was really [like he was in the video], he wouldn’t be able to play for long. I think everybody embraced him. We’re playing football together. It is what it is.”