Cooper aggravated a groin injury and has been listed as questionable for the matchup against the Browns’ AFC North rival.
“Aggravated his groin,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said, per Cleveland.com. “We brought him inside. We’ll evaluate him over the next 48 hours.”
Cooper, 29, dealt with a hip injury for the back half of last season but was able to play through it. He had core surgery this offseason.
The injury seemed straightforward but ESPN’s Jake Trotter added an interesting update, albeit without much context.
“Amari Cooper just came into the locker room on his own, grabbed the bag from his locker and walked out,” Trotter said.
Amari Cooper Caught 3 Passes in Browns’ Opener
It’s hard to know exactly what Trotter was trying to demonstrate with the tweet. Perhaps Cooper is simply upset that he is dealing with an injury on the verge of a primetime matchup, or maybe there’s some additional tension over the situation. Cooper is under contract through the 2024 season.
Cooper tied for a team-high in targets last week with seven. He caught three balls for 37 yards but the passing game as a whole failed to get on track last week in some very sloppy weather.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson assured this offseason that his chemistry with Cooper would be “tight,” despite his star receiver missing some time recovering from the core surgery.
“Amari’s going to be good,” Watson said in July. “He’s a guy that’s a vet, been in the league for a while, so he knows exactly what he needs to do to be ready for the season and training camp and our chemistry is going to be tight. We’ve been hanging out. We’re just going to continue to build that chemistry as much as possible.”
Browns Will Adapt Without Amari Cooper
If Cooper is out, Elijah Moore and Donovan Peoples-Jones would be relied on to be the top targets for the Browns. Veteran Marquise Goodwin, rookie Cedric Tillman and second-year receiver David Bell would also likely see an increase in snaps.
“I would tell you if we were without Amari, we will adjust,” Stefanski said. “We have all day tomorrow. You have all day, day of the game. But I don’t know that I’m ready to say that just yet. We don’t have enough information yet.”
Moore led the Browns in receiving yards last week and also saw some time in the backfield, notching a pair of carries. Moore said he wasn’t sure what happened with Cooper.
“We don’t know exactly what happened to him,” Moore said. “I don’t think we should be speaking on anything before we know anything, but yeah, I mean it is annoying when you have little mishaps like that, but that’s football.”
The Browns head into Pittsburgh as a 2.5-point road favorite. The Browns thumped the Bengals in their opener, while the Steelers failed to put up a fight against the San Francisco 49ers, falling 30-7. The total for the matchup sits at a low 38.5 points.