Around the NFL  

 

LeSean McCoy 'can't respect' a guy like Riley Cooper

Riley Cooper's teammates in Philadelphia have publicly supported the embattled Eagles wide receiver since Cooper's racially insensitive comment became public on Wednesday. But that support is not exactly unconditional.

LeSean McCoy told NFL.com's Albert Breer on Thursday that he forgives Cooper, but it hurts because McCoy's "losing a friend ... I can't respect a guy like that."

McCoy wondered aloud if Cooper's true colors came out. McCoy is just voicing how many players probably feel. That doesn't mean Cooper can't be a huge part of the team; every organization has differences among employees. McCoy just might not see Cooper in the same light.

"I guess the real him came out that day," McCoy told Breer. "The cameras are off, you don't think nobody's watching or listening, and then you find out who they really are. And to hear how he really came off, that shows you what he's really all about."

Jason Kelce, who was with Cooper at the time of his charged comment, said the wide receiver can be a knucklehead at times.

"Anybody that knows (Cooper) knows he's not a racist ... but knows he can sometimes get a little out of control," Kelce said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Thursday it would take a while for the team to get past the issue, and that he was "appalled" by Cooper's comments. (Although Kelly noted Cooper was never at risk of getting released.) Still, Kelly had a very important choice to make Wednesday. After Cooper's comments went viral, Kelly had to choose a team leader to address the media on the issue and calm things down. It's telling that Kelly chose Michael Vick.

As Philadelphia Magazine's Tim McManus notes, that selection says a lot about Vick's role as a team leader. He's a player who the team looks to in times like this. He has built up a lot of loyalty in the organization, something that Nick Foles can't match. Vick also has a history with controversial topics.

"What if your son or daughter made a mistake of this fashion, how would you want people to proceed? I've been there before. It's a very delicate situation that we all understand. Somehow we've all got to find a way to get past it," Vick said Wednesday.

Vick, not Kelly, first met the media on the matter. Vick has picked up his play on the field of late, and could be slightly in front of Foles in the battle to start at quarterback. His ability to handle every role required of a starting quarterback -- smoothing things over with his teammates and dealing with the media -- only can help Vick's chances.

UPDATE: The Eagles announced Friday that they've excused Cooper from all team activities. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the plan is to keep Cooper on the active roster for an excused absence.

The Around The League Podcast is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.

NFL News
CONTENT
15