Receiver Riley Cooper, out of football for a full season, has received a chance to make the team in Tampa. It’s a chance in theory; it’s a long shot in reality.
The Buccaneers currently have an abundance of receivers, from Mike Evans to DeSean Jackson to Adam Humphries to rookie Chris Godwin to seven other players already deemed good enough to have spots on the 90-man roster. If Cooper has made a significant impression on coach Dirk Koetter, Koetter is keeping his cards close to the vest.
“Well, you could tell that he’s played,” Koetter told reporters on Saturday regarding Cooper. “You can tell that he’s played in the NFL and he’s played for a while. These guys — obviously when you bring guys from a whole bunch of colleges and they’re a little bit nervous, and they’re learning a new system, I mean, he’s played football in the NFL. That stands out for sure.”
More than that will need to stand out for Cooper to get a job. For his part, Cooper has a positive attitude.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’m sure excited about it and I’m trying to make the best of it,” Cooper said, via the team’s official website. “Go out there, try to make some plays, run around and kind of spread my knowledge to maybe some of the younger guys if I can be of any help. I’m a hometown Tampa boy, so it’s cool to be back.
“I just kept grinding and grinding and the opportunity is finally here and you’ve got to make the best of it. There’s a lot of guys. There’s 90 guys fighting for 53 spots and we will see how it goes. But, I’m really excited and all of the wideouts in the room that I’ve met so far are really good dudes.”
If nothing else, Cooper’s name is back on the radar screen for other NFL teams, if they have both a need and a plan for dealing with the elephant that always will be in the room whenever Cooper is around.