Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Cooper returns to Eagles

Philadelphia - He's back.

Embattled Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper returned from his excused absence and took part in the team's joint practice with the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

The Eagles had originally excused Cooper last Friday and sent him to counseling after video surfaced of the Florida product using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert in June.

"I want to make this clear; the words Riley Cooper used were totally unacceptable," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. "His words may have been directed at one person but they hurt everyone. Riley has apologized to the team and community and has made a personal commitment to work hard to try and gain their trust and earn his position on the team."

"I said that when he left it was an excused absence," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said when asked why Copper was back so quickly. "So it wasn't letting him come back or not come back, because he wasn't suspended. We gave him time to seek outside assistance, and when he had the opportunity to go get that done, and he called and was coming back this morning, and I met with him and he came back."

Cooper, who is expected to start at wide receiver Friday when the Eagles open their preseason schedule against the Pats, really stood out in the final team period on Tuesday. He caught three touchdown passes overall and went high over Alfonzo Dennard for one which excited the fans in attendance. Teammate Jason Avant celebrated with Cooper after the play.

"It felt great," Cooper told reporters. "I love being out there on the field playing football. That's what I do and that's what I love."

Cooper realizes he has a long way to go before he can put this episode behind him but seem buoyed by the encouragement he received from his teammates. Besides Avant, rookie receiver Russell Shepard and inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans were also very supportive of Cooper on the field.

"I went in and talked to everyone and everyone seemed to support me," Cooper continued. "We just talked about the situation and how big that is. I realize how many people I've hurt, how many families I've hurt, how many young kids I've hurt. I take full responsibility for it."

No comments: