Wide receiver Riley Cooper returned to the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, four days after he took an excused absence to seek counseling following a video that surfaced online last week showing Cooper screaming a racial slur.
Cooper, who is expected to be a starter this season, visited his family’s home in Florida during his absence, which began Friday and caused him to miss three practices.
He spoke to Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Monday and told Kelly he was ready to return. The two met Tuesday morning. By the time Cooper practiced in the afternoon, he said he had met with every teammate.
“I told them, ‘I don’t want you to forgive me because that puts the burden on you,’ ” Cooper said. “I want it all on me. I told them that, and I told them I apologize. They could tell it’s from the heart. They know I’m not that type of person.”
Cooper said the counseling consisted of talking about the situation and the gravity of his words. He discussed how many people he hurt, including families and children. Alcohol was not discussed in the meetings. He called the few days he was gone a “tough, tough ride.”
He was fined by the team after the video went public.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made clear that Cooper’s comment was “totally unacceptable,” even though the team welcomed the receiver back.
“His words may have been directed at one person, but they hurt everyone,” Lurie said.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, one of the team’s star players, said he had “no reaction” to Cooper’s return. When asked if he was fine interacting with Cooper, Jackson said, “He’s my teammate. We work together.”
Cooper is expected to play in Friday’s exhibition opener in Philadelphia against the New England Patriots.
JETS’ MCKNIGHT ARRESTED
New York Jets running back Joe McKnight was arrested last week in New Jersey for outstanding traffic warrants after being stopped by police.
McKnight was pulled over July 30 in Hanover Township for changing lanes without signaling. After stopping McKnight, police discovered the two outstanding warrants: one for failure to produce an insurance card in Summit, N.J., and the other for failure to observe a traffic signal in Springfield, N.J.
McKnight was arrested and later posted $320 bail. He was released with summons for unsafe lane change and having an uninsured vehicle.
Eagles wide receiver Arrelious Benn (left knee) and Chargers receiver Danario Alexander (right knee) will miss the season after suffering torn anterior cruciate ligaments. … Packers receiver Jordy Nelson will miss the rest of training camp after undergoing a procedure on one of his knees. He is expected to be out 4-6 weeks and could miss Green Bay’s regular-season opener Sept. 8 at San Francisco. … Falcons starting right tackle Mike Johnson was carted off the practice field and into an ambulance with an apparent left leg injury. Medical personnel put an air cast on the leg. … Mark Sanchez, locked in a tightly contested quarterback competition with rookie Geno Smith, will start for the Jets in their exhibition opener Friday at Detroit. … Veteran guard Pat McQuistan signed with the Jaguars, his sixth team in eight seasons. He is the twin brother of Seahawks lineman Paul McQuistan.