Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/6/13
After the first of his three deep-ball catches late in the 11-on-11 drills between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots Riley Cooper was greeted in the end zone by a leaping chest-bump from teammate Jason Avant. After the third catch Cooper was applauded by the fans at the Eagles’ facility. One shouted "Way to go Coop!" Cooper’s return from a leave of absence Tuesday was unexpected but it was welcomed—and the words of those teammates and the head coach seemed to confirm it even as the brief length of his absence raised eyebrows. "It doesn’t matter what the people on the outside think. As a team I think we’re fine; we’re fine with Riley coming back today" said linebacker DeMeco Ryans after Cooper returned to practice for the first time since his leave last Friday following the racial slur caught on tape went public on Wednesday. "That thing’s over. We’re a team" said Eagles safety Patrick Chung—ironically a former Patriot who signed with the Eagles in the offseason. "We’re not letting any of this get to us." Was Cooper forgiven in the locker room? "Absolutely" he said. Cooper apologized again for his actions and said that since leaving the team he had spoken "face to face" with the remaining Eagles with whom he had not talked since his first meeting with the team Wednesday. He said that during his time away he went to "seek help" but did not elaborate. "I talked to everyone individually" Cooper said "and I told them I don’t want you to forgive me because that puts the burden on you. I want it all on me. And I told them I apologize. And they can tell it’s from the heart. They know I’m not that kind of person. It feels good to have support from the guys." When asked if it was unanimous support—even from players who publicly have expressed anger or disappointment like running back LeSean McCoy—Cooper said "Absolutely."
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