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Riley Cooper returns to Eagles
Cooper, who was caught on video yelling a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert in June, is sure to attempt further reconciliation with his teammates this week. However, hell also encounter some unfamiliar players as the Patriots are already in town to conduct joint practices with the Eagles for the next three days.
Cooper is trying to earn a starting job now that Jeremy Maclin is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Though Cooper only has 46 catches in 40 NFL games since he was picked in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, he has an intriguing blend of size 63, 222 pounds and speed. Though Eagles coach Chip Kelly said last week that Coopers roster spot is safe, some NFL executives told USA TODAY Sports Tom Pelissero that Cooper would become a free agent commodity if released.
The video that offended so many surfaced last Wednesday. It showed Cooper, intoxicated while attending Chesneys concert at Lincoln Financial Field, directing the slur toward an AfricanAmerican security guard.
Cooper apologized profusely the day the video went viral. He also practiced Thursday though he frequently appeared isolated between reps reiterated his remorse and said many teammates had shown support while admitting others would be harder to win back.
Indeed, some Eagles players, including quarterback Michael Vick, forgave Cooper quickly. Tailback LeSean McCoy and cornerback Cary Williams were among those who expressed reservations.
Last Friday, Cooper was excused from training camp to undergo sensitivity training and gather himself amid his struggles to cope with the selfinflicted firestorm.
The last few days have been incredibly difficult for me, Cooper said in a statement Friday. 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 its 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 Ive done. The best thing for me, and for the team, is to step away for a period of time.
During this time Im 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, Im going to try to make this right.