Amari Cooper had 1,070 receiving yards in 2015, becoming the first rookie in Oakland Raiders history to have 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. Surprisingly, the second-year wideout recently expressed his play was hindered by a foot injury last season.
According to Around the NFL‘s Chris Wesseling, during an interview with San Francisco radio station KGMZ, Cooper said he didn’t even want to watch any film on his injury-ridden rookie year because “I wasn’t really myself.”
“I think it affected everything,” Cooper said. “Me being a receiver, it affected my whole game. Talk about a foot injury, you can’t release how you want to, you can’t come out of your breaks how you want to. You can only get open in two ways, off of the line or out of your breaks.”
Again, what? Don’t be so hard on yourself, kid.
This is the same guy who at 21 years of age, caught 72 passes, six touchdowns and averaged 14.9 yards per catch in 15 games last year; the same guy who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Cooper had five 100-yard receiving games and became the first NFL rookie since Chicago Bears tight end Mike Ditka (1961) to record three 100-yard receiving performances in his team’s first six games.
The 22-year-old receiver suffered his foot injury in December and a quadriceps injury in November. These injuries slowed the star receiver up in the ladder part of the 2015-16 season, causing him to gain just 20 yards or less in three of the last four games of the regular season.
Cooper is reportedly back to full health, as his Raiders look to pursue a better finish than their 7-9 record in 2015.
Information from Pro Football Talk and NFL.com were used in this report.