PHILADELPHIA – Back at practice on Tuesday after a four-day absence, Riley Cooper had a great day on the field.
After practice ended came the tough part as the Eagles wide receiver again faced a phalanx of media demanding answers. Cooper, who was filmed using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert in June, made a statement to media then took questions.
Of his Eagles teammates, Cooper said he told them, “I don’t want you to forgive me because that puts the burden on you. I want it all on me. I told them that and I told them how sorry I was. They know it was from the heart and they know I’m not that kind of person. It feels good to be back out there.”
Cooper caught two touchdown passes and was a tough cover throughout the Eagles joint practice with the New England Patriots. It was Cooper’s first practice back since taking an excused leave of absence on Friday to undergo sensitivity training.
Asked what he learned, Cooper replied, “We just talked about the situation and how big it is. We talked about how many people I’ve hurt, how many families I’ve hurt, how many young kids I’ve hurt and I’ll have it with me every day for the rest of my life."
There was nothing immediately noteworthy about Cooper’s reception from teammates or opponents on Tuesday. After one of the touchdown receptions – about a 20-yarder from Michael Vick after Cooper adjusted his route – wide receiver Jason Avant came flying over to chest bump Cooper.
Vick gave Cooper a helmet pat after the play but, for the most part, celebrations in general during the fast-paced practice were subdued.
Cooper said he’s spoken to every player on the team.
“It’s brutal but that’s reality,” he said when asked how difficult it was to have a snapshot define him. “It’s gonna be with me every day and I’m gonna think about it every day, I know I will.”
Asked if it’s been an emotional process, Cooper said, “When I had to talk to the team the day after it came out, it was extremely emotional. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Having to stand up in front of my teammates and tell them what I did and how I let them down, that was the most emotional thing I’ve ever done.”