Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper, true to character, was succinctly expressive during his media availability Thursday. But the words he did utter were enough to quell an anxious fan base sweating his hamstring injury days from the regular season-opener.
“I feel good,” Cooper said after practice, per the team’s official website. “I’ve been able to become a full participant the last couple of practices and I’ve been able to do everything, so I feel really good going into the game.”
For the second straight day, Cooper, who signed a five-year, $100 million contract earlier this offseason, was listed as a full practice participant despite working almost exclusively with the training staff — a common occurrence spanning the last five sessions of training camp. His hamstring issue, shrouded in mystery, was not publicly revealed until Wednesday, and it caused panic as the Pro Bowl pass-catcher battled a slew of lower-leg/foot maladies in 2019.
Unfazed, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday that Cooper is “on schedule” to “play in a full capacity” Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams. This will remain the expectation barring a setback within the ensuing 48 hours.
Dallas is slated to practice again Saturday before releasing its final Week 1 injury report, on which Cooper could be listed as questionable.
Assuming he’s active and his reps aren’t scaled back, Cooper will function as the top dog in the Cowboys’ three-WR base offense that includes Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb.
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Cooper’s credentials make him an elite NFL wideout, but he hasn’t been overly successful in his recent matchups with the Rams. He tallied six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in Dallas’ 2018 Divisional Round defeat to Los Angeles, and just one grab for 19 scoreless yards in last year’s 44-21 regular-season victory.
The 2019 stat line was a result of Cooper drawing superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s coverage. And the former will see the latter again at SoFi Stadium in a one-on-one that will help shape Sunday Night Football.
“It’s always exciting to go against a top corner or one considered to be one of the best in the league,” Cooper said of Ramsey, who inked a $105 million extension on Wednesday, becoming the league’s richest-ever CB. “I think he’s a real good player. He has all the intangible assets that you would want in a cornerback: fast, long, can cover, has good ball skills. It’s always a challenge, but it’s exciting at the same time.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL