For a time this summer, it looked like wide receiver Riley Cooper might not be a member of the Eagles for the 2013 season.
In the immediate aftermath of the release of a video of Cooper using a racial slur at a concert, there were team meetings with angry teammates and Cooper spent a few days away from the team before returning to work. There were flareups after that, but things have been publicly calm during the season and Cooper has proven to be an important member of the offense.
He’s caught 37 passes for 714 yards and seven touchdowns and has played particularly well with Nick Foles, two things that have been vital to the Eagles with Jeremy Maclin out of the lineup. Cooper is set to become a free agent after the season, but said Thursday that he’d like to stay in Philly.
“I want to be back here,” Cooper said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Everyone around here knows that I love the scheme. I think I fit in it well with the bubble screens and the stuff that we do with blocking and being a bigger guy and a bigger target.”
McLane quoted an executive from another team saying that he thought Cooper’s use of the racial slur could impact the market for him in free agency, although he added that his feelings didn’t mean his team wouldn’t pursue Cooper on the open market. The Eagles have a decision to make about Maclin as well this offseason, but Cooper’s play this year has certainly made a strong case for keeping him in town far longer than it appeared he’d stay in early August.