The Philadelphia Eagles appear willing to accept wide receiver Riley Cooper back into their family of players. The wide receiver made headlines recently after a video surfaced of the University of Florida product using a certain ethnic slur while attending a Kenny Chesney concert over the summer. The team fined him an undisclosed amount, and sent him to counseling as a result of the incident.
Although rumors initially surfaced that the Eagles would cut ties with Riley Cooper after the video went viral and negative attention flooded into camp from all areas, they now appear to be willing to give him a second chance by letting him return to practice. Quarterback Mike Vick said that he forgave him for his mistakes, although other teammates such as LeSean McCoy were not as quick to do so. A potential locker room issue was said to be a just reason for his release by many experts around the league.
New head coach Chip Kelly explained how he and Riley Cooper addressed the potential locker room schism with the press after the wideout caught two long touchdowns in his return to the field. “My concern wasn’t how he practiced, it’s just him with the team itself and get the chance to make sure he got to talk to every single guy so that they understand how we felt, what he did, and understand that he’s truly sorry for what he did,” the former Oregon head coach told reporters. “We’ll look at the film and correct all those other things, but that wasn’t my concern.”
Apologizing does not make up entirely for what he said, however Riley Cooper seems to be genuinely remorseful for his actions. He has spent the week apologizing to teammates, the media, family and friends, and the nation as a whole for any damage his words may have done. After completing his first practice back in an Eagle uniform, Cooper furthered his apology. “I realize, being in the N.F.L., you have responsibility to behave on and off the field. I realize that,” he said. “I realize how many people I hurt, how many families I hurt, how many kids I hurt. It’s going to be tough. I’m going to live with this every day the rest of my life.”
Necessity may have forced the Philadelphia Eagles hand in letting Cooper back into their lives. Not only has starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin torn his ACL, but recently signed receiver Arrelious Benn has also suffered a torn ACL. Both men will miss the season as a result.
A third year man out of the University of Illinois, Benn is now a three year veteran and was looking to blossom into the talented player that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers believed him to be when they drafted the former Big 10 stand out. Injuries continue to derail his career, with this being the second time he has torn that ACL since 2010.
It appears that the Eagles are going to give Riley Cooper a shot at redeeming himself. The second chance may be largely due to necessity after Philadelphia lost two of its top weapons opposite DeSean Jackson before even playing a preseason game, however Riley Cooper has an opportunity to not only show that he is a changed man, he could post career numbers as well.
You can watch an unedited version of the video that landed Riley Cooper in trouble below.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express