PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The beginning and end of the 2013 season for Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper couldn’t have been more different.
Cooper’s season began amidst controversy, when a YouTube video surfaced showing Cooper using racial slurs at a country music concert. Though the Eagles chose to keep Cooper on the roster, the issue was polarizing, and many were calling for the wide receiver to be cut.
His season ended as one of the Eagles’ most important offensive weapons, a favorite target of Nick Foles, and an unrestricted free agent that most feel like the team should keep.
Still, the memory of the video lingers, at least publicly.
Brad Smith, who joined the team late in the season as a kick returning, receiving, quarterbacking, do-it-all type weapon, had nothing but positive things to say about Cooper.
“He’s [Riley Cooper] the first guy that came to me and said something,” Smith said as a guest on Highly Questionable with Dan LeBatard and Bomani Jones. ” The first guy who shook my hand, first guy in the receivers room that really tried to help me learn my offense and learn everybody and how things are done, learn all the things that Chip Kelly likes to do. He was the first guy, so it’s hard to equate any negative things with Riley. Even when we checked out the other day man, we’ve grown to really like each other. So, he’s a good dude.”
So it goes without saying that Smith doesn’t think the Eagles should have any reservations about keeping Cooper around.
“I didn’t—I didn’t know what to expect. I come in, you only see what’s on TV, what’s presented by the person. That’s what’s good about physical contact and communication that can’t come through TV, radio, or an interview, that you get to sit down and spend time with a person and learn about him, and that’s what I got from Riley. He got caught up in a bad situation. Somethings he regrets saying and he actually regrets it. He’s not just saying it for face value and I appreciate it and I’m all about forgiveness,” Smith said.
“He never mentioned it [regret], but you can tell about a person. You can tell their sincerity. You could tell when somebody is putting on to try to get a contract, or money, or try to fix an image. You could tell who he really is. I was with him everyday, like you said, since November. So, I got to see—if it were something that were kind of showing that attitude again, that would have easily came up and it didn’t.”