Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys Trevon Diggs (L) and Amari Cooper (R) pose on the field after the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL fines Cowboys WR Amari Cooper for violating protocol

The NFL fined Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper more than $14,000 on Thursday for violating the COVID-19 protocol as an unvaccinated player, ESPN reported.

Cooper was docked $14,650 for attending a Dallas Mavericks game on Jan. 5 without a mask.

Cooper, who missed two games in November after a positive test, is unvaccinated. He attended the NBA game with CeeDee Lamb, but Lamb is vaccinated and isn’t subject to the same rules as Cooper.

Specifically, this one: “A player who is not fully vaccinated is prohibited from attending a professional sporting event unless he is seated in a separated seating section, such as a suite or owner’s box, is wearing PPE, and there are no more than 10 people in that separate seating section.”

Cooper defended his actions during an interview last week on 105.3 The Fan.

“When I do go somewhere, I mean, I was pictured not wearing a mask, but that’s because I was eating and drinking. I don’t know how to do that with a mask on. So I just think there’s risk all across the board. I don’t feel like anybody is staying home, you know what I mean? Am I supposed to just sit in the house all day?” Cooper said.

“I don’t really understand how to be extra careful because just by us going to practice every day, being around each other, we have teammates on our team who have kids. They take their kids to school who are around hundreds of other kids, who are around their parents when they go home, so forth and so on,” Cooper went on. “So I don’t feel like we can be safe in the environment that we’re in. I feel like the only way we can be safe is if no one goes out and everybody is quarantining for an extended amount of time.”

Cooper, 27, caught 68 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games this season for the Cowboys, who host the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC wild-card game Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) in action during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cowboys WR Amari Cooper to return Thursday night

Dallas Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper will travel with the team to New Orleans on Wednesday and play against the Saints on Thursday night, ESPN reported.

Cooper, who is not vaccinated, missed the last two games — both losses — after testing positive for COVID-19 last month.

Earlier reports Tuesday suggested that Cooper was still experiencing symptoms and was in danger of missing a third game.

Cooper, 27, has 44 receptions for 583 yards and five touchdowns in nine games this season. In 50 games since joining Dallas in October 2018, he has 268 catches for 3,611 yards and 24 touchdowns.

The Cowboys (7-4) have been dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that saw a 13th person enter protocols on Tuesday.

Head coach Mike McCarthy tested positive and will not make the trip to New Orleans, with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn serving as acting head coach against the Saints (5-6).

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) in action during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Symptomatic Amari Cooper could miss third game for Cowboys

Dallas wide receiver Amari Cooper still has symptoms from his bout with COVID-19 and could miss his third game as the Cowboys continue to deal with an outbreak that added a 13th person to protocols Tuesday.

Cornerback Nahshon Wright tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t play in Thursday night’s game at New Orleans. He becomes the sixth player in the COVID protocols, joining Cooper and right tackle Terence Steele as active-roster players on the list. A practice squad player and two others already on reserve lists are also in COVID protocols. Wright has played 72 percent of the team’s special teams snaps.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, who also tested positive and won’t be on the sidelines against the Saints, said Cooper was back in the building Tuesday but “still not feeling the best.”

“My gut would be if he doesn’t practice (Wednesday), I don’t see him going to the game,” McCarthy said.

However, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan that “we’re fully expecting (Cooper) to be ready by game time.”

Cooper has 44 receptions for 583 yards and five touchdowns in nine games this season. In 50 games with the Cowboys, Cooper has 268 catches for 3,611 yards and 24 touchdowns. Cooper missed the past two games after testing positive for COVID-19. He is unvaccinated.

Jones also told the show that his team is now at 100 percent for players either vaccinated or “having gotten the COVID.”

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be acting head coach for McCarthy against the Saints while also running the defense from the sideline.

McCarthy said he was set to get his COVID booster shot this Friday before testing positive Monday.

Also, McCarthy said defensive lineman Trysten Hill is appealing his two-game suspension with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. The league suspended Hill two games Monday for throwing a punch at the end of the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

“If the appeal process gives him the opportunity to play Thursday, then I anticipate he will play in the game,” McCarthy said.

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) on the field before the game against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper expects to face Eagles despite ‘cracked’ rib

Despite revealing he played last week with a cracked rib, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper was a full practice participant Friday and said he expects to play Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The four-time Pro Bowl wideout had been limited in practice a day earlier with what had been termed bruised ribs. While telling media members that he thinks the injured rib is cracked, he said Friday, “I’ll be ready to go” and called the pain “very manageable.”

Cooper, the team leader through two games with 16 receptions and two touchdown catches along with 163 yards, said he got injured during one of his two scoring plays in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He finished the season debut with 13 catches for 139 yards.

Cooper, who had a team-best 92 receptions for 1,114 yards last season along with five touchdown catches, has three 100-yard receiving games in his past five meetings with the NFC East rival Eagles.

Four other Cowboys sat out Friday’s workouts for the second consecutive day: tackle Ty Nsekhe (illness), defensive end Dorance Armstrong (ankle), defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (knee) and safety Donovan Wilson (groin).

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) runs with the ball after a catch in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys activate WR Amari Cooper off PUP list

The Dallas Cowboys activated Amari Cooper off the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday and the expectation is the Pro Bowl wide receiver will be ready for Week 1.

He’s eligible to practice for the first time in training camp. Cooper had ankle surgery in January.

Cooper, 27, said last week he was “real close” to being 100 percent.

Cooper had 92 receptions for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games last season.

For his career, the four-time Pro Bowl selection has 449 catches for 6,211 yards and 38 touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders (2015-18) and Cowboys. The Raiders selected Cooper No. 4 overall in the 2015 draft and traded him to Dallas in October 2018 for first-round pick in 2019.

Cooper signed a five-year, $100 million extension with the Cowboys in March 2020.

–Field Level Media

Sep 22, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (90) celebrates his fourth quarter sack against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys LB Demarcus Lawrence hits PUP list following back surgery

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said linebacker Demarcus Lawrence underwent back surgery during the offseason and will open training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

It was the third back surgery of Lawrence’s career, but McCarthy said Thursday it was no reason for alarm bells.

“It’s more of a cleanup, so there’s no high concern,” McCarthy said. “He looks great. It’s probably more us than him as far as the timeline of him coming back.”

Lawrence is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he recorded 58 tackles, 6.5 sacks and four forced fumbles for Dallas, all improvements over his 2019 numbers. In his seven-year NFL career spent entirely with the Cowboys, Lawrence has recorded 300 tackles, 93 quarterback hits, 45.5 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and one interception.

Lawrence signed a five-year extension in 2019 worth $105 million.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle surgery) and kicker Greg Zuerlein (back surgery) are also on the PUP list to open camp as the Cowboys began workouts Thursday in Oxnard, Calif.

–Field Level Media

5 college reunions that could happen in the NFL Draft

1) Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota
I imagine the Roseman/Kelly saga involved a conversation like this:
Roseman: Chip, where are the results?
Kelly: I just need the right guys! I told you, I need Oregon guys in the draft, and what do you give me?
Roseman: I did! I drafted Josh Huff and Taylor Hart!
Kelly: Yeah, no. I meant ALL Oregon guys. Give them all to me. They’re the only ones who truly understand me. Just let me do it next year.
This is the obvious one getting all the press, but Kelly’s love for Mariota (and many of his former players at Oregon) is well documented. With the 20th pick, it’s definitely a long-shot, but if Kelly isn’t sold on his current personnel, some of those pieces would be very attractive to some of the Top 5 teams. I’m looking at you Jags (McCoy?) and Titans (Foles?). Throw in a 3rd or a 4th, and it’s a deal. I don’t even like the Eagles, but it would be awesome to see Kelly’s offense take even 80% of the form it had in Oregon.
2) Teddy Bridgewater and DeVante Parker
If you put 2013 Bridgewater with 2014 Parker (who put up comparable numbers to his 2013 stats in half the games), I think Louisville has a better run than they did. Still, they were impressive together. Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman has already talked with Parker, and despite saying Bridgewater has nothing to do with it, it has to be tempting.
Look at these highlights. They’re like one singular mind, always knowing exactly where to place and find the ball.

3) Blake Bortles and Breshad Perriman
This would be a tough one to pull off. It would be insane to take him with the third pick with the other needs in Jacksonville (RB, OT, CB, etc..) and he might not last until the second round, but Perriman was Bortles favorite deep ball target at UCF. A trade down, or a trade back into the mid-to-late first might be worth it.
4) Teddy Bridgewater and Amari Cooper
This reunion is less talked about that Parker/Bridgewater, but the one that makes more sense for the Vikings. They played together at Miami Northwestern. Cooper is almost “uncoverable” in medium routes, an area where the Vikings were lacking in 2014. Parker is more of a deep threat. It comes down to whether Minnesota is convinced that Jarius Wright and/or Charles Johnson can become the primary long-ball target.
5) Jeremy Hill and Connor Neighbors
This is my sleeper pick. Hill had an impressive rookie year in Cincinnati averaging 5.1 yards per carry behind a sub-par line. The fullback is a dying breed in the NFL, and one I’d love to see resurrected. Watch this (at :46) or any number of Hill’s LSU highlights, and you’ll see Neighbors frequently paving the way. He’ll be available in the 6th or 7th round, so what have you got to lose?
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