KANSAS CITY --Riley Cooper doesn't care that it was a preseason game, and that his touchdown catch that scored the winning points as the Eagles beat the Chiefs, 20-17 won't ever count in what should be a long and productive NFL career. He caught the game winner. He wanted the football forever.
"Where is that ball?" said Cooper, as he exited the tiny, cramped Arrowhead Stadium locker room. "I'm not leaving here without it."
Cooper caught 3 passes for 39 yards in the victory, and his 18-yard snag with 23 seconds to go on a perfect throw from quarterback Mike Kafka sealed the deal for the Eagles. Cooper caught two passes on the drive, used his big body and strong hands perfectly and continued to impress everyone with his play in the preseason.
Head coach Andy Reid talked in his press conference about Cooper and how he runs his routes at a high speed "at the top of his routes" to create separation, and you wonder just how much Cooper can add to this offense.
On the game-winning play, he ran a "go" route and Kafka, after pump faking to freeze the secondary, layed a pefectly-thrown pass into traffic and Cooper went up and made a hard catch look easy.
"It was really all Mike," said Cooper. "I just ran the route and the ball was there and I caught it. And I'll tell you, it meant something to me. I wasn't going to spike it, or throw it in the crowd. I want the ball. I wanted to keep it and I did. I know it's only the preseason, but what the heck: It's my ball now."
Cooper has 8 catches for 122 yards in the three preseason games, making a very strong case that he can help the offense this season. The big rookie from Florida started fast in the spring and hasn't slowed down at all.
"Every day is a new challenge so I work as hard as I can every day and that's all I can do," he said. "Tonight was fun. It was very calm out there. Mike had it all under control. We ran our routes and he put the ball where he needed to throw it. It was a great feeling.
"It's definitely special because it is my first one (touchdown). I feel great that we were able to go out there and help the team win."
And, in case you were wondering, Cooper has his football, the first of what should be many ahead in his career.
-- Posted by Dave Spadaro, 12:59 a.m., August 28