Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Riley Cooper downplays scuffle, said unrelated to racist remark

Riley Cooper downplayed the scuffle that he had with Cary Williams at Thursday's practice, and said it was not related to the racist comment he made during a June concert.

Riley Cooper downplays scuffle, said unrelated to racist remark

Michael Vick holds back Cary Williams, right, after he locked up with Riley Cooper, left, during Eagles practice on September 5, 2013. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Michael Vick holds back Cary Williams, right, after he locked up with Riley Cooper, left, during Eagles practice on September 5, 2013. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Riley Cooper downplayed the scuffle that he had with Cary Williams at Thursday's practice, and said it was not related to the racist comment he made during a June concert.

“Just one-on-ones," Cooper said. "Both being super competitive, going for the ball, and we were tangled.”

Cary Williams did not comment. When approached, he responded, "don't even come by here. I'm not talking at all."

Cooper continued insisting that "nothing happened," and simply labeled it two competitive players getting "tangled up." He said Williams offered supportive words later in practice.

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How will the Riley Cooper-Cary Williams fight affect the Eagles?
It will further fragment the locker room.
It will affect them in the won-lost column.
It won’t affect them. They’ve already moved past it.

The scuffle reignited the controversy when video surfaced on July 31 of Cooper at a Kenny Chesney concert. Cooper went on an excused absence and some players were outspoken about it taking time to heal and forgive Cooper. Cooper said there is no lingering issue.

“They’ve been normal," Cooper said. "It’s been great. Everything’s completely 100 percent normal. We’re all real close. Everybody. Cary included. He’s my boy.”

Cooper also said he hasn't heard comments from other teams about the video. But running back LeSean McCoy said there have been words uttered on the field, and that could continue as Cooper is on the field more this season,

“I think for sure, a lot of guys will do dirty things to him," McCoy said. "Obviously, they’re going to say things to get under his skin. …Maybe some of the words he did say offended a lot of guys. We definitely have his back. And we’re not blind to the fact of what’s going on. So sure, a couple guys will take their shots at him. Even in the preseason, guys said different things, small things. You got to be open to it and understand, that’s the consequence that goes along with that.”

McCoy, who was initially outspoken about his disappointment in Cooper, said "it seems like normal again" and that he focuses on the Cooper he knew "before the incident." He insisted there's a difference from when the situation started, although other teams do not know Cooper the way the Eagles do.

A scuffle like the one Thursday is not uncommon, and McCoy pointed out that it will not be a story if it was DeSean Jackson and Williams. But whenever Cooper's involved, the story will re-emerge.

“Any time there’s something extra on the field with Riley and another teammate or an opponent, that’s the first thing that’s going to come up," McCoy said. "Especially if the guy’s black.”

 Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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