Appearing on 105.3 The Fan on Thursday evening, Cooper stated “it would be great” if Bryant returned to the Cowboys, acknowledging that he’d like to line up alongside the former Pro Bowler, forming a lethal threesome with Michael Gallup.
“Yeah, of course, I want to play with him,” he said, via WFAA. “I would have some questions for him; I’ve never had double-digit TDs in the NFL. Just that he was able to do that in the NFL, I know that I can learn something from him.”
Cooper joined Dallas in October 2018, six months after the club released Bryant, who has, among other sour-grapes claims, said his unceremonious departure from the organization “wasn’t fair” and blamed ex-head coach Jason Garrett for spoiling his prime.
Cooper thrived upon arrival, catching 53 passes for 725 yards and six touchdowns across nine games for the Cowboys. Bryant … didn’t. The owner of 7,459 career receiving yards and 73 scores tore his Achilles’ tendon in his first practice after signing a free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints. He’s yet to appear in a regular-season game since the devastating injury.
Bryant likely will never perform like the playmaker he was in his 20s. A medical malady such as his is notorious for sapping explosion, and his body had already exhibited signs of decline from 2015-17.
By all indications, he realizes this. That’s why Bryant, amid a year-long NFL comeback attempt, has tried everything to get back into the Joneses’ good graces. Twitter missives weren’t enough, so he personally texted the team’s vice president. Who else but Dez? Hints became statements, and those statements essentially devolved into begging, going so far to say — publically — that playing for the Cowboys again is a “dream goal.”
The last we heard, Bryant was offering to switch to tight end for the Cowboys, literally and figuratively occupying the secondary role vacated by Jason Witten. If a showering Jerry Jones approves of the reunion, of course. (He seems less than bullish.)
For what it’s worth, Cooper, who speaks with Bryant “every now and again,” believes Dez has enough juice left in his 31-year-old legs (32 in November) to make good on his play-making promise.
“That’s not something you just lose,” Cooper said, via USA Today. “I think he can come back and be a dominant player, really, if given the opportunity to do so.”
Bryant, unsurprisingly, reacted to Cooper’s remarks, almost in real time, on Twitter, championing for his re-signing once more.
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Cooper Declares Intention to Remain in Dallas
He may want to join forces with Dez, and there’s a slim chance Dallas pulls the trigger, but there’s also an outside chance Cooper never gets the opportunity. An unrestricted free agent, he hits the open market in 11 days unless the club applies the franchise tag or agrees to a long-term deal.
For the second time since the 2019 season ended, though, Cooper demonstrated his undying loyalty toward the team which surrendered a first-round pick to pry him from the lowly Raiders’ clutches.
“Listen. I love being a Dallas Cowboy,” he said Thursday, via Blogging the Boys. “I love everything about it. I was just thinking about that today. I think about it almost every day, really. Just primetime games. It seems like more night games than everybody and that always feels good to a football player. You know everything. The facility, I love it here in Frisco where I stay at now. Just the aura of being a Dallas Cowboy, you can’t beat it.”
“I want to be a Dallas Cowboy for life.”
“Life” is a strong word, but the Cowboys are expected to oblige Cooper to some extent this offseason, possibly in the form of a market-resetting extension — upwards of $20 million annually, according to estimates.
Dallas has until March 12 to apply the franchise tag to Cooper or quarterback Dak Prescott, also an unrestricted free agent. Stephen Jones announced at last month’s Scouting Combine that no new pacts would be completed until the NFL and NFL Players Association ratify the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL