Riley Cooper missed a majority of training camp and the first two weeks of the preseason this year, after suffering a foot injury early in camp. After a breakout 2013 campaign, and the loss of DeSean Jackson, missing the start of training camp this year was far from ideal. But if it came down to it, Cooper would relive the 2014 training camp every year over having to go through the fiasco that was the 2013 training camp.
Cooper spent his entire 2013 training camp, one that originally was supposed to be a make-or-break camp for the Florida alum, recovering from a mess he made where he was filmed saying the n-word in a threatening way at a Kenny Chesney concert.
Cooper would ultimately get past the incident, catching nine touchdowns in a breakout 2013 year, which earned him a five-year extension. Had Michael Vick not been on the team, that season may never have happened.
Vick, who is obviously no stranger to off the field trouble, sat down with ESPN’s Ian O’Connor today, on the eve of his return to Philadelphia as a member of the Jets.
The interview largely focused on Vick’s role in rallying the team after the Cooper incident, specifically the African-American members, but this tidbit, where Cooper appears to have big-timed Vick (I didn’t even know that was possible) after the 2013 season.
“A couple of things transpired since [the incident] that I dislike, and I’ll be honest with you,” Vick said. “After he signed his contract, I sent him a text and I never got a text back, and that made me feel a certain type of way. But I’m not the type of guy who holds grudges.”
“I’d have you on speed dial. That’s the only reason I say I hope Riley appreciates that. His life is his life and he played good football last year, and he was always like a little brother to me. But money should never change an individual, and I’m not saying it did that to Riley.”
I don’t know what happened between Vick and Cooper as the season progressed. Just because Vick publicly backed Cooper, doesn’t mean that the two always got along. Vick gave off the vibe that the two were very good friends, but who knows how serious that was? What I do know, is that Vick’s account of how he ‘saved Cooper’s career’ seems like far from an exaggeration, and once he signed his new deal, Vick should have been one of the first people he thanked. That didn’t happen, and neither did Cooper even answering Vick’s text.
O’Connor’s entire article (which you can read here), is certainly worth a read. The entire article really makes me wonder about how well Cooper is even viewed in the locker-room at this point, and who will step up in the locker room to take Vick’s role in the locker-room. Malcolm Jenkins seems like a very good leader, but his career doesn’t carry the weight of Vick’s.