The Philadelphia Eagles said receiver Riley Cooper, who has been enveloped by controversy after saying a racial slur that was caught on video, would seek counseling.
That came suddenly, as Cooper was "excused from all team activities" and left the team Friday morning to seek that counseling.
"As we have said, Riley Cooper will be seeking counseling and we have excused him from all team activities," the Eagles announced in a statement. "This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way. He will meet with professionals provided by the Eagles during this period of time to better help him understand how his words have hurt so many, including his teammates."
The Eagles didn't say how long Cooper would be away from the team. His presence at training camp is important to the team on the field, considering it lost receiver Jeremy Maclin to a knee injury and Cooper was a top candidate to replace him in the starting lineup, but to all involved, dealing with this issue was more important right now.
Here is Cooper's statement through the team:
"The last few days have been incredibly difficult for me. My actions were inexcusable. The more I think about what I did, the more disgusted I get. I keep trying to figure out how I could have said something so repulsive, and what I can do to make things better.
"Right now, I think it's important for me to take some time to reflect on this situation. The organization and my teammates have been extremely supportive, but I also realize that there are people who will have a tough time forgiving me for what I've done. The best thing for me, and for the team, is to step away for a period of time.
During this time I'm going to be speaking with a variety of professionals to help me better "understand how I could have done something that was so offensive, and how I can start the healing process for everyone. As long as it takes, and whatever I have to do, I'm going to try to make this right."
This has been turning into a potentially divisive and volatile situation for the Eagles, as some teammates expressed displeasure with Cooper and even with how new coach Chip Kelly handled the situation. It was unquestionably going to be a distraction for the team during camp. Perhaps the time away and the counseling will help Cooper and the Eagles, if the Eagles decide to keep him on the roster for the season.
Though, it won't be easy for all of his Eagles teammates to forgive and move on, no matter how long Cooper is away from the team.