Denver Broncos general manager George Paton sent shockwaves through the National Football League after trading face of the franchise and all-time sack leader, Von Miller, to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, November 1.
The Broncos’ facility in Englewood was certainly no exception. Fellow linebacker Jonathon Cooper couldn’t believe the 11-year veteran was shipped off to play alongside Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.
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Cooper: Broncos Found Out via Social Media
“I was shocked, honestly,” Cooper told reporters, November 4. “I feel like that was my first initial reaction. I found out the way everybody did — kind of [through] social media. I was just shocked. I felt like a guy like Von Miller — wherever he plays at since he’s been here for such a long time — that he was basically going to retire [here]. Everybody in the locker room — we were just shocked about it, but we have to keep moving forward. Everybody talked to him, and we said our goodbyes to him and stuff. It was just a weird day. It was a weird day.”
Cooper and Miller were only teammates for eight regular season games but nonetheless it was difficult to say farewell to a man who has meant so much to Broncos Country.
“It was emotional,” Cooper said. “I think it was emotional for him [with] just everything that he’s been through, but it was also emotional for me. I feel like a guy like that, you don’t play with players like that on a day-to-day. You’ve got to take advantage of players like that. He’s one of the best to ever do it. Even though it was a short time, I feel like in that short t time, I’ve gotten a lot better, and I owe a lot to him.”
Von Mentoring Cooper for Greatness
Miller has always been known for his willingness to mentor and impart wisdom on his teammates. Cooper was no exception, with the two discussing recent fatherhood, football and in no surprise to anyone who knows Miller; philosophy.
“Regardless of football and stuff — obviously, he taught me a lot of things about football, the feel for the game, how to read stuff — pass rushing, and stuff like that. Really, he just taught me how to be a player in the league and how to be a father. When he recently became a father, I became a father, too. We had some of our talks.
“Some of the conversations that we had were pretty deep, and I can’t thank him enough for all the things that he’s talked to me about, and all the things that he’s taught me. Even though our time was short, I enjoyed every moment of it.”
Through all the conversations, the 23-year-old has hung on every word, relishing the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest to ever do it.
“Every time Von spoke to me, my ears perked up like a little kid,” Cooper said. “Everything that he had to say, I was listening. I tried to take everything that he said and see how I can apply it to myself, even from the little things and the small things — day-to-day conversations to big things like when it comes to being on the field and he’s giving me advice on what to do or what he sees in my game. All those little moments — I was watching him since I was a little kid. I cherished every little moment I had with him.”
With No. 58 well and truly out of the picture, his shoes need to be filled. The Ohio State product now has the opportunity to prove to himself, his team and that he is ready to take the opportunity.
“I feel like I need to grow as a player,” he said. “I feel like I just really need to grow up. I can’t keep telling myself like, ‘Oh, I’m a rookie,’ or ‘Oh, this is my first year. Let me get my feet under me.’ I’ve played a couple of games and I’ve shown that I can go out there and play well. Now, I just feel like I need to take the next step and keep learning from guys like Malik [Reed] and [Bradley] Chubb, and really just see what I can do to take my game to the next level and just really clean up everything—watching film, getting on my playbook more, really knowing these plays, and knowing exactly what to do when I’m out there.
“I want to show them that their faith is well put. I want to show them that you can put your faith in me to keep being productive and be the player that they think that I can be. I want to show that I have high expectations for myself. Obviously, I think they have high expectations for me as well. Every day I’m getting better, and every day I want to go out there with a chip on my shoulder and show that I can become that player.”
Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic