Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Riley Cooper Returns, As Any Grown Up Knew He Would

Less Time In Front Of Mics, Please
Today at Eagles training camp, the guy that your national media told you was never going to play again for the team due to a racist episode, well, came back and played for the team.

Now, I'm not going to make the ridiculous mistake of claiming this is a great day for the franchise. The people who will be really happy about this are not people I hang out with. If Riley Cooper is a member of the next Eagles playoff team (earliest possible ETA: 2014), it will be surprising, and if he ever becomes even a relevant performer in fantasy football, it's going to be even more surprising.

A truly great training camp would see several of the lesser-known players taking him out of the lineup (by the way, Russell Shepard is turning heads, for you hyper-deep fantasy leaguers), and if it were not for the injury to Jeremy Maclin, he actually might have been gone.

We'll never know. Maclin got hurt, Cooper takes the spot, and so long as his off the field actions don't overwhelm his on the field actions, he'll keep the job. For now.

To his minuscule credit, Cooper is saying all the right things now, and if he got coached on what to say, well, at least he took the coaching seriously. He hasn't taken up some diseased cause to gain a minority fan group following. He didn't blame anyone else for his actions, or try to excuse them away as a joke or liquor moment. He needs to go back to being as anonymous as you can be while being one of 64 starting WRs in the most moneyed league in American sports, and to make the story have no further legs than this.

As for the Eagles and Chip Kelly, I think he's timed this out fairly well; long enough to take the steam out, short enough not to really impact the team's preparation for the regular season. He's gotten Jason Avant, Cooper's quasi-competition in the receiver corps, to point out that the media cares more about this more than the team does. Everyone in the laundry is saying more or less the right things, and frankly, if a rookie coach had let a media kerfuffle lessen the talent level of a team that was 4-12 last year...

Well, that wouldn't have set such a good tone for the Era, really.

Oh, and there's also this: Arrelious Benn became the second Eagles WR to go down for the year, after a training camp where he was never really healthy.

So, um, yeah. Cooper's going to take a lot of snaps for this team. No matter what the media says.

Because, well, the media doesn't run the football team. The coach does.

And the coach, blessedly, seems to think a lot more about what might help him win a game, rather than what might help him win a news cycle...

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