So What Exactly Did Riley Cooper Do During His Excused Absence?

So What Exactly Did Riley Cooper Do During His Excused Absence?

I think everybody was a little surprised to hear Riley Cooper was already returning to practice on Tuesday, at least people outside the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Cooper was excused from training camp last Friday so he could “seek counseling” after video surfaced of the wide receiver using a racial slur during an alcohol-fueled tirade.

The team never put a timetable on Cooper’s return, but it felt like he would be away for awhile, at least until after the first preseason game however arbitrary that may seem. All told the fourth-year veteran was gone for four days, missing just three practices. I mean, how much emotional help can one receive in such a short amount of time?

Perhaps Cooper’s counseling, sensitivity training, or what have you was blown out of proportion in the first place. The 25 year old wasn’t necessarily trying to uncover the deep, underlying causes behind his outburst as it turns out, nor did he even require the advice of professionals exclusively. While he wasn’t willing to delve too deep in the details, it turns out Cooper may have simply needed time to reflect and talk it out, possibly leaning heavily on family members during the process.

Per PE.com:

"I just went out and sought help. I talked to my family and sought help. I'm going to keep that between me and the others that are helping out. It went well."

"We just talked about the situation and how big this is. I realize that and I realize how many people I've hurt, how many families I've hurt, how many kids I've hurt. That's what we talked about, the severity of it and I completely realize that and I take full responsibility for it."

I asked Chip Kelly about what type of specialists Cooper might have been visiting or speaking to during his absence, but the head coach responded by telling me it was not his place to divulge that information. One area where the embattled receiver admitted he had not sought further intervention however was for alcohol abuse.

"We didn't really touch on that, but I'm not going to get into all that we talked about. I'm just going to try to move forward and hopefully people judge me from here on out."

So what exactly did Riley Cooper do during his excused absence? Well, that’s still not entirely clear. There is no doubt some type of counseling was involved, but mostly it sounds like it was a period for reflection. In the meantime, his absence presented the other 88 players on the Birds' roster an opportunity to get back to normal for a few days and focus on football. Sure enough, while Cooper’s return was a top story on Tuesday, there was plenty more to discuss with the Patriots in town for joint practices.

Coop, by the way, was one of the standouts in practice, hauling in multiple long touchdown passes against the New England defense from both Mike Vick and Nick Foles.

Best of NHL: Last-place Islanders take down rival Rangers

Best of NHL: Last-place Islanders take down rival Rangers

NEW YORK -- Andrew Ladd scored in the second period and Jaroslav Halak stopped 36 shots to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the crosstown-rival Rangers on Tuesday night.

John Tavares, Jason Chimera and Scott Mayfield also scored at the Barclays Center to help the last-place Islanders improve to 4-0-1 in their last five games.

Jimmy Vesey and Marc Staal scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 28 saves. The Rangers have alternated wins and losses in regulation in their last eight games.

Halak beat Lundqvist for the ninth time in their last 10 matchups. Halak had won eight straight -- including the last five after joining the Islanders before the 2014-15 season -- before Lundqvist ended the streak in the Rangers' 5-3 win in the season opener Oct. 13 at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist is now 1-6-1 in his last eight against the Islanders (see full recap).

Schwartz lifts Blues over Canadiens in OT
ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz got his second goal of the game in overtime, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Paul Stastny also scored for St. Louis, which has won four of five. The Blues rallied from a 2-0 deficit and have a point in their last 13 home games.

Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron scored for Montreal, which completed a five-game trip 2-3.

Goalie Jake Allen made 28 saves to improve to 13-3-3.

Schwartz lifted a backhander past goalie Al Montoya with 1:22 left in overtime.

Stastny and Schwartz scored in a 2:51 span in the third period to tie it at 2 (see full recap).

Blackhawks blank Coyotes to snap modest skid
CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa had two goals, Scott Darling made 22 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 on Tuesday night to snap a two-game slide.

Artem Anisimov and Dennis Rasmussen also scored to help Chicago maintain a three-point lead over St. Louis in the Central Division.

Darling made a handful of tough stops but wasn't heavily tested in his first shutout this season and third of his career. He started his third straight game in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Hossa scored his team-leading 13th and 14th goals in his 27th game -- surpassing his total of 13 last season in 64 contests (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Magic overcome Wall's 52 points to beat Wizards

Best of NBA: Magic overcome Wall's 52 points to beat Wizards

WASHINGTON -- Elfrid Payton scored 22 of his season-high 25 points in the first half and the Orlando Magic overcame John Wall's 52-point performance to beat the Washington Wizards, 124-116 on Tuesday night.

Wall had the highest-scoring game of his career and kept Washington in it with 33 points in the second half as the Wizards cut the lead below 10 in the fourth quarter. The guard made 18 of 31 from the field and added eight assists.

Payton went 8 for 8 from the field and 3 for 3 from the line off the bench in that first half, nearly matching his previous season best of 23 points in the first two quarters alone. Payton finished 9 for 12 and handed out nine assists.

Orlando won its third straight game and its 124 points were a season high (see full recap).

Spurs trounce Timberwolves to reach 13-0 on the road
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and the San Antonio Spurs improved to 13-0 on the road this season with a 105-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Leonard hit 11 of 15 shots after not scoring at all in the first quarter and Patty Mills scored 15 points off the bench for the Spurs (18-4), who played without Tony Parker after he bruised his left knee against Milwaukee on Wednesday night. San Antonio overcame a slow start to shoot 52.7 percent.

The Spurs moved past the 1969-70 New York Knicks to take sole possession of the second-best road start to begin a season in NBA history. The Golden State Warriors started 14-0 last year.

Zach LaVine scored 25 points for the Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Towns had 11 points and 14 rebounds, but shot just 3 of 16 (see full recap).

Anthony, Knicks blow past depleted Heat
MIAMI -- Carmelo Anthony matched a season high with 35 points, and the New York Knicks beat the injury-ravaged Miami Heat 114-103 on Tuesday night.

Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 12 rebounds for New York, which is three games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2012-13 season. The Knicks lost Derrick Rose to back spasms in the third quarter.

Goran Dragic scored 29 points and Hassan Whiteside finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat, who fell to 2-8 at home.

The teams were tied at 68 late in the third quarter, when the Knicks went on a 27-13 run over the next eight minutes to take control. Anthony finished 13 for 27 from the field, and Porzingis and Joakim Noah combined for 22 rebounds (see full recap).