Riley Cooper returned to practice Tuesday, as the Eagles worked out with the New England Patriots at NovaCare. Cooper was among the standouts, catching at least three long passes over New England defenders, after missing the previous three days of workouts while seeking unspecified counseling. Last week, a video surfaced in which Cooper shouted the "n-word" at a security guard at a Kenny Chesney concert.
"I realize that to be in the NFL, you have a responsibility to behave on and off the field," said Cooper, who said he met with his parents in Florida over the weekend. (So presumbaly, whatever assistance he received occurred there.)
"It took a few days. It's been a tough run," Cooper said, when asked how he knew he was ready to return. Cooper left the team Friday. "I talked to Chip (Kelly) last night and this morning, and he asked me, 'how do you feel, are you ready to come back?' I said, 'absolutely. I love being out there on the field, I love being out there with the guys.' "
The Eagles and Cooper said that at some point between Wednesday and Tuesday's practice, Cooper was able to speak with each teammate individually. "I 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 'em I apologize. They could tell it was from my heart. They know I'm not that type of person. It feels good to have support from the guys."
Fellow wideout DeSean Jackson, who last week seemed less than enthusiastic about forgiving Cooper, was less grudging today.
"He came out and had a good practice. He did a good job today," Jackson said. "He's my teammate. We work together.'
But is he your friend?
"Yeah, he's a friend. Whatever the situation is, it is what it is. It wasn't directed to myself. Whatever it was, that's what he had to deal with, that's what he had to do."
Jackson said he didn't think players were thinking in terms of Cooper's incident dividing the team. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans stated that it would not.
Kellly said it was pretty much up to Cooper and the people from whom he sought assistance, as far as when Cooper could come back, since he wasn't suspended. "We gave him the time to seek outside assistance," Kelly said. "He had an opportunity to go get that done."