Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) runs the ball against Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ross Cockrell (43) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Nick Saban’s influence in the NFL goes beyond just the number of players he’s coached who have ended up there.
It’s often said there’s a difference between being hurt and being injured. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper is no stranger to the injury report, but he’s on the field Sundays without question. Now into his seventh NFL season, he has missed just three games. He played every game over his first two full seasons in Dallas.
Cooper had three catches for 24 yards in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers. He also appeared to aggravate a rib injury he originally suffered back in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But all indications are he’ll be able to play Monday night against the rival Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, he is not even on Saturday’s injury report.
Early this past week, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy described Cooper’s ribs as “bruised.” The receiver himself went a little further, suggested something a little more severe.
“I think it’s cracked,” Cooper said.
Amari Cooper credits Nick Saban with teaching him to play hurt
Cooper played collegiately at Alabama for Nick Saban, where he developed into a top-five pick. At a program like that, you are either able to play or there will be someone plenty capable who can replace you. With the context of his current injury, he credits Saban for teaching him how to play hurt.
Amari Cooper said he learned to play hurt at Alabama: “Saban, he put another guy in front of me cause I kind of kept taking myself out the game and it just messed up the continuity of everything so now I just I’d rather play hurt than to be switching with a guy in there.”
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) September 25, 2021
Cooper will certainly wear a flak jacket to protect his ribs, whatever the severity of the issue is. There’s a line between being tough and being reckless with an injury like that, but as of now it looks like the Cowboys’ trainers will let Cooper play and he’ll be good to go as something close to normal Monday night.