Shortly after Saturday afternoon's practice, rookie wide receiver Marvin McNutt tweeted a message of encouragement to his teammate Riley Cooper.
"Praying that my boy @RileyCooper_14 gets healthy," McNutt sent from his @McNutt7wr account.
Cooper fractured his collarbone Saturday during a one-on-one drill against cornerback Curtis Marsh. Head coach Andy Reid said that Cooper will have surgery on Monday. The third-year receiver will be sidelined for about six weeks, per Reid. Cooper could be back on the field in time for the season opener in Cleveland.
McNutt, a sixth-round pick out of Iowa, will receive additional reps in Cooper's absence. McNutt and Cooper each have a similar build and playing style. They are the tallest wide receivers on the team. The 6-3, 216-pound McNutt enjoyed having Cooper on the field with him.
"It's never good when you see a fellow teammate or a friend or a brother go down like that, especially when they have the same style of play. You never want to see competition go away like that," McNutt said. "You look at certain things he does; how coach coaches him up."
McNutt understands though how the extra reps will aid in his development. The all-time leading receiver in Iowa's history began his college career as a quarterback before shifting to receiver.
"I definitely feel like I get an opportunity to show what I want to show up to the coaches more. With that comes a lot of learning and still having to be on top of your game at the point," said McNutt, who has primarily played the X-receiver position with the Eagles. "I haven't been an NFL receiver for long. You always learn. You never feel like you've arrived or get complacent because that's when you start downplaying and things like that so you always want to continue to get better."
Marsh, a second-year cornerback, said that McNutt knows how to use his size to his advantage.
"He does that pretty well - take a release, hold his position and then uses his strength to get position," Marsh said.
Reid said that the Eagles have no interest in adding a wide receiver to the roster at this point. Senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach David Culley expects Cooper to be a "big contributor" for the team in 2012. Wide receiver Jason Avant said to not count Cooper out.
"He's been working real hard and sometimes life happens like that," Avant said. "We just hope he gets well soon."
Cooper's close friend, wide receiver Chad Hall, said Cooper was "disappointed" because of the added burden for his teammates.
"He feels like now the rest of us have to do more reps," Hall said. "I told him he's fine. We'll take care of it."
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