Philadelphia Eagles receiver Riley Cooper has proven what everybody knows about professional sports, but struggles to admit.
Cooper was heavily criticized for using the n-word at a Kenny Chesney concert last year. Many NFL observers labeled him a racist. Several believed the Eagles would release him. His NFL career appeared in jeopardy.
After Cooper’s 47 receptions for 835 yards and eight touchdowns last season, he proved athletic ability will always trump controversy. Yes, always.
That explains why Cooper signed a five-year contract with the Eagles on Thursday, according to the team. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said Cooper's five-year deal is worth $25 million.
"He used his size, strength and speed to make big plays for our team, excited to watch him build upon success," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said.
Philadelphia gave left tackle Jeff Peters a four-year extension on Wednesday, and continued re-signing players on its priority list on Thursday.
It is easy to understand why Cooper is a part of Philadelphia’s long-term plans.
Cooper stepped in for Jeremy Maclin, who did not play last season due to an ACL injury, and started in 15 of 16 games. He had strong performances against Tampa Bay (120 receiving yards and one touchdown), Oakland (139 receiving yards and three touchdowns) and Green Bay (102 receiving yards and two touchdowns). His presence in Philadelphia’s offense also kept opposing defenses honest and helped DeSean Jackson record 82 receptions, 1,332 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
More importantly, Cooper was accountable for his actions, never hid from the media and regained the trust of his teammates, starting with Michael Vick.
Cooper’s incident is in the past, and now he has a promising future in Philadelphia.
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