Cooper has been temporarily separated from the team to seek counseling. Following his departure to a destination unknown, Chip Kelly held another team meeting that he deemed “very productive.” Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, DeMeco Ryans and Jon Dorenbos were among the veterans to speak up.
“We have big things that we want to accomplish this year, and we don’t want that to be a burden on our season — that’s what our coach said about this locker room,” said DeSean Jackson after practice. “As far as the leaders speaking up in meetings, people want to see us stay together and not let this break our team apart.”
Are you willing to still play with Riley?
“It’s my job, brother,” Jackson responded. “I’m here. Gotta work.”
The Eagles took the practice field a little after 12 o’clock Friday, and did so without embattled wide receiver Riley Cooper.
The team announced this afternoon that Cooper has been excused from all team activities as he seeks counseling. This has led many to believe that Cooper’s time in Philadelphia has come to an end.
However, this move is not being viewed by the Eagles as a precursor to a release. The plan, as of now, is to bring Cooper back once his counseling is completed.
Riley Cooper has been excused from all team activities, the Eagles announced early Friday afternoon.
The statement reads:
“As we have said, Riley Cooper will be seeking counseling and we have excused him from all team activities. 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 announcement came with a statement from Cooper as well.
One sentence. Ten words. And now he will forever be known as the football player who blurted out a racial epithet at an African-American security guard while loaded at a Kenny Chesney concert. Whether fair or not, that’s how it is.
Since the video was released, Cooper has done all the right things. He apologized to his teammates, his coaches and the organization. He has faced the media twice. He hasn’t run. He hasn’t hid.
After Chip Kelly took over as the Eagles’ new head coach, he decided the locker room at the NovaCare Complex needed to be rearranged.
Kelly wanted to mix everyone up. No more division between linebackers and tight ends, offensive linemen and defensive linemen, quarterbacks and specialists. It was a move to foster team chemistry, something that will be even more challenging after Riley Cooper’s racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert was caught on camera.
“There could be a concern, yeah, there is a concern,” Kelly said, when asked if Cooper’s comments might divide the locker room. “Obviously it’s a very hot topic. That’s why I encourage our group… and our team and I talked about it last night at the team meeting… we’ve gotta have some open communication to make sure that everyone understands what went on and what Riley did to atone for it.”
LeSean McCoy says that he has forgiven Riley Cooper. But that doesn’t mean his relationship with the receiver hasn’t been altered.
“I don’t think you say things like that and think that everything will be the same,” said McCoy. “He is looked at differently. Not only just him but anybody.
“Something like that happens, it’s like, ‘Are you the same person? Is it because the cameras were off?’ There’s not a point where I’m pissed off at the person where I’ll just say something racial. It’s more anger at the person. It’s never the individual race. It is what it is. It’s football, we are here to play ball and we’re definitely going to try to move past him. But reality is reality.”
Did the response to the Cooper incident give any insight into the QB competition? We explore that and more in the latest Twitter Mailbag.
More Barkley passes seem to be hitting the ground now compared to earlier in the camp when the team was still in shorts.
The fourth-round pick is working uphill as he fights for the starting job against Nick Foles and Michael Vick. Even more so perhaps because he is working with less talented skill position players overall.
Barkley was asked: Is it difficult to show your best if you don’t get a chance to run with the top dogs in practice?
“I think at times it is,” Barkley said.
Dressed in an orange polo, blue mesh shorts and flip-flops, Riley Cooper got behind the mic for six minutes, 31 seconds Thursday and tried to explain himself.
A couple hours earlier, an Eagles media relations staffer had shown him the video that captured the Eagles’ wide receiver saying he’d “fight every [N-word] here” while at a Kenny Chesney concert last month. Now, with the bricks of the NovaCare Complex as his background, it was time for Cooper to face the music.
“There was a confrontation with me and one of the security guards,” he said. “I’m not gonna get into what happened, but I said something that was absolutely disgusting and terrible. And I should not have handled it the way I handled it.”
Cooper later confirmed that the security guard was African-American and admitted that he had been drinking.
Riley Cooper finds himself in a difficult spot that is all too familiar to NFL players.
On one hand, he just witnessed his good friend Jeremy Maclin go down with a torn ACL, ending his season. Cooper said he “almost shed a tear” for his fellow wide receiver on the practice field Saturday.
But as is always the case in football, it’s next man up. And that means Cooper, entering his fourth NFL season, will get a chance to earn significant playing time in Maclin’s place.
Entering the final year of his deal, Maclin was committed to proving his worth on the field this offseason.
“I think Jeremy Maclin has emerged as one of the hardest-working guys on our team,” Michael Vick said last month at Maclin’s football camp in West Deptford, N.J. “You watch him in the weight room, he goes in there and he’s just a different person there. So I think that’ll translate over to the field.”
Instead, Maclin faces surgery and a grueling rehab regimen away from his teammates in the months ahead.
In the past three seasons, Maclin has averaged 67 catches, 893 yards and seven touchdowns. So how will the Eagles replace that production in 2013? Here’s a look at their current options on the roster.