Wide receiver Riley Cooper returned to the Eagles on Tuesday and said that he wasn’t asking his teammates to forgive him from uttering a racial slur “because that puts the burden on you.”
Several of those teammates addressed Cooper’s return after Tuesday’s practice and they may not have forgiven him, but they did send a message that they have come to terms with Cooper’s actions in a way that will allow them to move forward with the season. John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com heard from several members of the team — safety Patrick Chung, tight end Brent Celek, linebacker DeMeco Ryans and wide receiver DeSean Jackson among them — who shared wide receiver Jason Avant’s feeling that the team was ready to move on with Cooper as part of the team.
“As far as our team, guys are definitely over it,” Avant said. “We’ve talked. We’ve had dialogue. We’ve accepted his apology. The only thing he can do is apologize. What else can he do? When a situation happens like that, there aren’t too many things you can do but apologize and be sincere about it.”
Coach Chip Kelly was wise to say during his own meeting with the media that “it’s not something that we can just say, hey, it’s over with,” because the issue isn’t just going to disappear. That doesn’t mean that it has to knock the Eagles off stride, however, and it probably won’t if Avant’s read on the situation proves correct.