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Cowboys WR Amari Cooper Talks COVID; Comparison to Michael Jordan 'Flu Game'?

“It was tough, knowing that I could physically gone out there and played, but the restrictions didn’t allow me to,” Cooper says. “Jordan played with the flu. That’s how I looked at it.''

FRISCO - Dallas Cowboys star Amari Cooper eased back into his role as a premium receiver in Thursday's 27-17 at New Orleans, playing 35 percent of the offensive snaps while recording two catches for 41 yards.

But it was after the game, when he made his first public remarks about his two weeks in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, catching not passes, but rather, attention.

“It was tough, knowing that I could physically gone out there and played, but the restrictions didn’t allow me to,” he said. “Jordan played with the flu. That’s how I looked at it.''

NBA legend Michael Jordan once famously played through an illness in whar ia now known as the iconic “Flu Game.” It was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals when a sick Jordan scored 38 points for the champion Chicago Bulls.

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Continued Cooper: “It was a restriction of not being able to play with what I had. It was tough, knowing that I could physically gone out there and played, but the restrictions didn’t allow me to do so.”

Two weeks ago, Cooper tested positive for the virus. As a result, he was forced to sit out for the Cowboys’ next two contests, due to his status as an unvaccinated player. He is one of 13 Cowboys coaches/players who have been in protocol in recent days, a list that includes head coach Mike McCarthy, who was replaced on Thursday by Dan Quinn. (Story here.)

Interestingly, Cooper added that Dak Prescott-led Dallas had a plan to limit him in this game.

"I knew I had between 20-25 plays; they told me before the game,'' he said. "They just wanted to ease me back into things, knowing I didn’t really practice, and knowing how COVID could affect the lungs and heart. They didn’t really know my conditioning. I didn’t really know my conditioning. I think that was the plan.''