FRISCO - On Tuesday, Dallas Cowboys star Amari Cooper said of participating in Saturday’s NFL preseason visit from the Houston Texans, "Yeah, I want to play, for sure. I got word that I was playing.”
On Wednesday - off PUP after rehabbing ever-so-carefully from ankle surgery - showed his want-to in his most impressive and extensive work at camp.
"I haven't done (the things) that, when I was 100%, obviously I did everything - I ran every route," he said on Tuesday. "Some things on the football field are harder to do than others, and I haven't really done the more challenging aspects of my position yet."
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To our eyes, the challenges were met on Wednesday, as the Dallas practice started outdoors before rain pushed coach Mike McCarthy’s team into Ford Center … where the four-time Pro Bowler Cooper looked smooth and powerful, lighter than usual, and confident in his route-running.
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And “confident” is a key word here. The Cowboys standout receiver uses that word when talking about his rehab process.
"With me, I just want to do enough to feel confident going into (regular-season) Week 1," he said. "I just started practicing, so it's just about getting my legs back underneath me and getting my confidence back.”
It’s also about being “100 percent” healthy (something Cooper talks about a great deal) and about being “confident” enough in his ankle to practice the complete route tree.
He looked on-point in those areas.
Cooper said his plan is to play around 10 snaps in Saturday's preseason game against Houston. He's gotten the word. And he's given the word.