Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper: With God, all things are possible

When the Dallas Cowboys traded a first-round draft pick for wide receiver Amari Cooper in October, many pundits figured Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders got a steal.

While Cooper flashed talent early in his Raiders career, posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons after going fourth overall in the 2015 draft, drops and inconsistencies plagued the run-up to this year’s trade deadline. The Cowboys, it seemed, were paying a steep price for just a decent wideout when they coughed up a first, evoking memories of other middling receiver deals.

Cooper has been nothing short of sensational during the Cowboys’ five-game win streak and ascension to the top of the NFC East, however, and that was clearer than ever on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Two weeks after he went off for eight catches, 180 yards and two touchdowns in another divisional battle, Cooper was quarterback Dak Prescott’s chief weapon in a first-place fight at AT&T Stadium, and he tormented an ailing Eagles secondary to the monumental tune of 10 receptions for 217 yards and three scores.

If those sound like video-game numbers, well, that’s because they pretty much are. In six games with the Cowboys this season, Cooper has racked up 642 yards and six touchdowns, helping Prescott locate the deep ball and Dallas establish itself as a legitimate playoff contender out of the East. While the Eagles were playing without much of their starting defensive backfield on Sunday, Cooper’s biggest moments came at some of the biggest times in the Cowboys’ rematch with Philadelphia, and his catch off a Rasul Douglas deflection sealed a Dallas victory in overtime.

While his recent production equates to that of an elite receiver, Cooper has often played without the baggage of the stereotypical dramatic No. 1 wideout. Some of that can be attributed to his desire to simply take care of business. And some of it may stem from a faith he first proclaimed coming out of college, when he starred at Alabama and thanked God for allowing him the opportunity to shine with the Crimson Tide.

“I came here as a 17-year-old who wanted nothing more than to play football at a high level,” Cooper told The Gospel Herald in 2015. “But in the process, I have become more mature, a better person, a better Christian.”

“As far as my personal growth, my faith has been tested many times,” Cooper said. “I’ve faced adversity a lot, but I remain faithful. So if you remain faithful, and you don’t quit, I believe that the Lord will bless you in all things. That’s how my faith system works.”

Now 24, Cooper also shares his faith on social media. His Twitter header currently displays Mark 10:27: “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'”

He and the Cowboys will return to the field on Sunday to take on the Indianapolis Colts (7-6).

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