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Amari Cooper dabbling as punt returner for Raiders

Amid gushing springtime reports categorizing Raiders rookie receiver Amari Cooper as the "real deal" and "ready to break out immediately," Oakland's first-round draft pick is doing more than just catching passes during this week's mandatory minicamp.

Cooper is also seeing work as a return man, fielding punts along with a gaggle of other Raiders.

"Amari Cooper is another guy we're working back there," said special teams coordinator Brad Seely, per CSN Bay Area's Scott Bair. "It depends on, you know, what exactly his role is on this football team if he's going to do some of that stuff. He could because he's got a lot of talent. At this time of the year, you're really just trying to evaluate as many guys as you can."

STAR PLAYER X WANTS TO RETURN PUNTS is one of Around The NFL's many weather-worn offseason tropes. All-Pro safety Earl Thomas briefly toyed with the gig last season in Seattle, while 49ers running back Reggie Bush has approached coaches about returning punts in San Francisco.

Dez Bryant also dabbled as a return man during his first three seasons in Dallas, but the Raiders aren't committed to using Cooper that way. At least not yet, with veterans Trindon Holliday and Taiwan Jones trying out for the job along with undrafted rookie Austin Willis

Whether or not Cooper sees special-teams work, the juicier takeaway in Oakland is the wideout's robust display of athleticism and pristine route running, which should have Raiders fans fired up for what's ahead.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses the best available free agents and the guys play another edition of What's More Likely. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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