Stephen Cooper's rise from an undrafted linebacker out of the University of Maine in 2003 to one of the San Diego Chargers' most productive and reliable starters is one of those rare long-shot stories in the NFL. But after having gone from special-teamer to backup to regular starter (63 games), the eight-year veteran believes his time with the Chargers finally is coming to an end.
"I think I'm going to have an opportunity to test the market," Cooper told The San Diego Union-Tribune on Saturday.
Cooper said he is "excited" for the opportunity once the NFL and NFL Players Association can agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. Until then, Cooper will remain a Charger, as teams are prohibited from making roster moves.
Other than last season, when, according to The Union-Tribune, Cooper played through two sprained knees, he has averaged 72 tackles and two interceptions since becoming a regular starter for the Chargers in 2007. He has also totaled seven sacks and eight forced fumbles since 2006.