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Amari Cooper: In order to ‘flourish’ in NFL ‘I needed to be gone’ from Oakland

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NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last week Amari Cooper appeared for an interview with Pro Football Talk. Initially host Mike Florio just put out that Amari Cooper had set his goal for this season at 2000 yards receiving — which we found a bit funny considering no receiver has ever had that many receiving yards and Cooper has never come anywhere close to it.

Coop said a lot more than that, however, a good portion of which was about why Oakland was not the place for him making his trade to Dallas a welcome one. The release of that interview we initially missed, but the Dallas Morning News picked up this past weekend.

One thing I have long said of Coop is that he has a lot of potential he was just not reaching. He never seemed happy in Oakland. It showed in his lack of aggression on the field, his frequent disappearances from games, and in his demeanor off the field.

Following his trade, I instantly lauded it as a win for the Raiders. Soon after seeing how he was playing his best football in Dallas, it was clear it was a win for both sides of the trade. The Raiders got a first round pick and the Cowboys got the best version of Coop the Raiders were not getting. The question was whether this was Coop’s fault or the Raiders for not using him properly. I’ll let him tell it.

“I think the change of scenery was really necessary,” said Cooper. “I really, honestly, don’t think if I would’ve stayed with the Raiders last season that I would’ve been able to flourish and reach some heights that I was able to reach as a Cowboy. So, it was definitely necessary.

“I don’t think it was a good fit for me. I don’t think I was really able to showcase my skills there for whatever reason, I’ll call it extenuating circumstances. But for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to reach my heights and I kind of knew that I needed to be gone in order to do some of the things that I wanted to do as an NFL player.’

Coop’s best season was his second season in 2016 in which he went for 1153 yards. After that his numbers took a tumble. Down to 680 yards in 14 games in 2017 and on pace for another career low in 2018 with just 280 yards in six games. In those first few games Cooper said he knew he would need to leave in order to reach his potential.

”I felt like there are things that I wanted to do out there on the field during the games, certain plays that I wanted to be called and certain routes that I wanted to run that just weren’t a part of the game plan,” said Cooper.

The result proves his point, if even perhaps that it was a self fulfilling prophecy. In nine games with the Cowboys, Cooper saved his season and put up a career best 80.6 yards per game to surpass 1000 yards on the season and ultimately head back to the Pro Bowl for the third time in four NFL seasons.

Last season was the honeymoon for Coop in Dallas. That will probably extend into this season. And at some point in the next 8 months, that will mean a new big time contract. Good for him and for the Cowboys if that comes to pass. That’s the best place for him. Oakland wasn’t that place regardless.

The Raiders will hope their selection of Johnathan Abram at the 27 spot from the Cowboys makes it more worth it to them as well as Antonio Brown is more worth number one receiver money.