Riley Cooper said Thursday that there's been "no friction" with his teammates, despite some Eagles making comments to the contrary. (AP)
Riley Cooper ran down the left side of the field, separated slightly from cornerback Brandon Boykin and caught a long touchdown pass from Nick Foles.
It was a brief respite Thursday afternoon from the nightmare he created for himself.
Cooper continued the damage-control process Thursday, one day after a video showed him screaming a racial slur at an African-American security guard during a concert earlier this summer.
On Wednesday evening, after meeting with owner Jeff Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly, Cooper spoke to the full Eagles roster, apologizing for his behavior.
“One of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “It was extremely emotional. They could tell I was sincere. It was tough.”
On Thursday, Cooper participated in his first practice since the video emerged and said he spoke to several players teammates one on one.
Several players have since expressed their disgust with Cooper and said they’ll never look at him the same (see story). Cooper said his teammates were supportive.
“I respect a lot of the guys that came up to me yesterday and today,” he said. “Numerous, numerous, numerous players said, ‘Coop, we know that’s not the type of person you are. We respect you, and we’re behind you, and if you need anything, call me, text me, you know I’m there for you.’ That definitely felt good.”
Cooper spent parts of practice off to the side by himself, which isn’t that unusual. At one point quarterback Michael Vick appeared to walk over to him, just so he wouldn’t be standing alone.
As for the actual practice, Cooper looked fine, catching the football, running patterns, talking to his coaches.
Normal day on the field. Anything but off the field.
“I was just kind of going about my business today,” he said after practice in the team’s indoor bubble. “This is an extremely tough day for me and a lot of other people as well. I was just trying to do my thing. We did have practice today, so I kind of had to concentrate and try to do well during that.
“Being out here at practice kind of took my mind off of it as much as it could. But it was still always there. It was always present. But it felt good to run around.”
Coach Chip Kelly said it seemed like a normal practice, and he didn’t sense anybody treating Cooper any different than usual.
“There’s been no friction,” Cooper said.
The real challenge will come in the locker room, where Cooper knows he will never be looked at the same way again.
“I think it’s going to take a little while,” he said. “It was very hurtful to a lot of people what I said, and I know that and I take full responsibility for it.
“It might take a little while, but luckily I have some great teammates who’ve already come up to me and talked to me and said, ‘We’ll get through it.’ That is a positive.”
The video showed Cooper yelling at a security guard during a Kenny Chesney concert at the Linc in June.
He said he hopes to get a chance to apologize to the security guard.
“I’m going to go up to him and apologize the best I can, and hopefully he’ll see how much I mean it and how sincere I am,” he said.
Cooper also said Thursday he feels like he let down fans, especially young ones that may look up to him.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I feel terrible for little kids that look up to Riley, and their parents have to explain to them the whole situation, and I just feel terrible for the families and the people that I’ve hurt.”
The Eagles fined Cooper – according to the CBA, he can be fined up to one game check, or $37,058 – and both head coach Chip Kelly and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said there will be no additional discipline.
Kelly also said Cooper’s roster spot is not jeopardy.
“I love it here,” Cooper said. “I’ve always loved the city of Philadelphia. I’ve been here three years. I don’t and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.
“This is the lowest of lows that I’ve ever experienced. It’s been an extremely, extremely tough day.”