Amari Cooper’s third year in the National Football League did not go according to plan for neither him nor the Oakland Raiders. After posting back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns in 2015 and 2016, injuries and issues with drops hindered Cooper from another productive showing.
Even in adversity, the former University of Alabama receiver found a way to bounce back versus Philadelphia on the road for Monday Night Football. Despite taking a 19-10 loss, Cooper’s hands, speed and route running capabilities returned to what they were in his first two seasons.
He snatched three passes on four targets for 66 receiving yards, including a 63-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Derek Carr to tie the game at seven in the second quarter. Like his former teammate Reuben Foster, Cooper remembers how to at least embarrass standouts from LSU.
His score came on a double move against cornerback Jalen Mills.
— NFL (@NFL) December 26, 2017
A native of Miami, Fla., Cooper has 45 receptions for 565 yards and six touchdown catches through 13 regular season games. Oakland’s meeting with Kansas City in week seven on Thursday, Oct. 19 was his best performance of the year. He hauled in 11 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns on 19 targets in a 31-30 win for the Raiders. It was Cooper’s first 100-yard outing on the season and first 200-yard output for the team in franchise history since 1965.
This is not the first time an injury forced Cooper to return stronger. He sustained a toe problem during his sophomore year at Alabama, following his 1,000-yard season as a freshman in 2012.
His return in 2014 witnessed him get a single-season record of 1,727 receiving yards with 16 touchdowns on 124 receptions. Cooper garnered unanimous All-American honors, first-team All-SEC honors and the Fred Biletnikoff Award for his efforts that year. His career posted 228 catches for 3,463 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns, the most in Alabama history by a receiver.
He won’t make the playoffs upon the end of this season — 6-9 record — however, expect a much more determined Cooper to anchor Oakland going into the 2018 NFL endeavor.