Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper’s 2017 season was inexplicable. If you happened to draft him on your fantasy team, you’re already well aware of that.
Cooper was awful. He had 680 yards all season, and 210 yards came in one unexpected explosion against the Kansas City Chiefs. It made no sense. Cooper had two 1,000-yard seasons to start his career, and players with his pedigree don’t just lose it at age 23.
It seemed clear Cooper was playing through an injury, but nobody had come out and said it. But Derek Carr is a good teammate, and he wasn’t going to leave his teammate hanging out to dry.
“He will never tell you, and he’ll never even talk about it, but that man was playing on one foot,” Carr told Adam Schein on SiriusXM’s “Mad Dog Radio.” “He’s out there just trying to battle for his teammates. A lot can be said about the way that it didn’t work out, and stats and all those things, but the thing I want to talk about is: I’ll roll with that guy any day of the week. He’s out there trying to give it his all, even though he could barely get out there and do it. That’s the kind of guy I want to play with. That’s how I know we’re going to be just fine.
“He would never say it to you, no one would ever say it to you, but I’ll say it to you to have his back. That man was out there playing as hard as he could and giving everything he could and, honestly, a lot of guys probably wouldn’t have even played with what he had going on. I commend him for what he was doing.”
ICYMI: #Raiders @derekcarrqb tells @AdamSchein about improving his communication with Amari Cooper, Cooper battling on "one foot" last season & why he'll always have Amari's back pic.twitter.com/7iNDxk40Qq
— Mad Dog Sports Radio (@MadDogRadio) February 16, 2018
Cooper showed up on the injury report and missed games with a high ankle sprain and a concussion, but still played in 14 of 16 games. Now his lack of production makes sense.
One would assume the Raiders can bounce back from a bad 2017 season. Carr himself dealt with injuries. The passing game could get a nice boost from having Jon Gruden at head coach. Cooper should go right back to his old production levels, assuming he’s healthy.
At least now we know there was a reason Cooper never looked like himself all last season.
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