OXNARD, Calif. – Amari Cooper is staying optimistic about his contract situation.
After the first day of Dallas Cowboys training camp, Cooper said he’s not concerned about getting a deal done before the start of the season. The Cowboys receiver is entering the final year of his rookie deal and hasn’t agreed to a long-term extension with the team.
“It’s something that’s gonna happen,” he said Saturday, “whether it happens today, tomorrow or whenever. I’m not worried about me getting hurt or something like that, or it not happening. I just don’t think like that.”
He says he does think about consistency and chemistry, and those aspects have been key during his first full offseason with the Cowboys.
Cooper and the Dallas receivers spent a couple days training together in San Diego earlier this month for that very reason.
“Camaraderie, running routes together,” he said of working with the other wideouts. “Being able to go out and eat and those things together. Just building and getting to know each other more … talking about ball and whatever. I haven’t even been here a whole year, so it’s a lot that I can still learn from my teammates.”
Cooper, who emerged as a top target for quarterback Dak Prescott after being traded to Dallas last season, also spent time building chemistry with Prescott this offseason. Of about 100 passes thrown over that two-day training period at Cathedral Catholic High School, Cooper said he and Prescott connected on every ball except one.
The two also connected several times during the Cowboys’ first practice of training camp on Saturday, and they spent plenty of time together between drills.
“We’ve definitely grown in our recognition of how we both like to play,” Cooper told Yahoo Sports. “I know how he throws, and he knows how I run routes better. And just that knowledge alone makes us a better tandem.”
Cooper’s relationships with key members of his offense has also extended to veteran tight end Jason Witten.
Witten praised the 24-year-old after Saturday’s walkthrough, comparing him to some of the receivers he has played with during his 16-season career.
“I got a great relationship with Amari,” Witten told Yahoo Sports. “I think he’s a really special player. He has that rare ability of, when you think back of all the great receivers, the ability to have the quickness to win underneath, but then the deep speed to win one-on-ones vertically.
“He has the ability. He’s got great lateral quickness. That rare combination of physical ability to go up and get a ball like a Dez [Bryant] did for a long time ... He has that rare combination that not many other guys have. He is a star. He’s not a star in the making. He’s already a star.”
Cooper was a Pro Bowl selection his first two years in the league and has reached 1,000 receiving yards in three of his four years in the league, including 1,005 yards (725 with Dallas) on 75 receptions and seven touchdowns last season.
Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said during a news conference before training camp that the team “for sure” expects to extend Cooper, adding that he thinks Cooper, along with Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, who are also seeking extensions, want to be with the team.
Cooper reiterated those thoughts Saturday.
“I want to be here,” Cooper said. “ … I haven’t really been thinking about my contract situation. I want to be out here running routes. I want to be out here catching balls from Dak because I think it’s necessary, and I think it’s gonna help me achieve what I want to achieve this season.”
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