NAPA, Calif. — Amari Cooper showed up to training camp noticeably more muscular in his upper body, though the Oakland Raiders Pro Bowl receiver insists it will not hinder his route running or his speed.
In fact, it should help him endure the rigors of his third NFL season.
“You actually do get faster when you get stronger, in your lower body,” Cooper said Friday, reporting day for the Raiders at training camp.
“I always get bigger in the offseason because I’m training. Hopefully it translates on to the field.”
The 6-foot-1 Cooper said he was up to 217 pounds from his playing weight of 210 pounds last season, although he anticipated shedding weight in camp.
Still, a bigger Cooper would seemingly be a more attractive red zone target for quarterback Derek Carr, especially on jump balls.
“I definitely would love for my quarterback to trust me, even when I don’t really look like I’m open, to throw it up there and depend on me to make a play,” Cooper said.
“As a skill player on offense, you want the ball. Every play, if you can.”
Last season, Cooper teamed with Michael Crabtree to become just the third duo in franchise history to each record 1,000 receiving yards in the same year, along with Fred Biletnikoff and Warren Wells in 1968 and Tim Brown and Jerry Rice in 2001.
Cooper also became the first Raiders receiver with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons since Rice in 2001-02. Cooper had 1,070 yards on 72 catches as a rookie in 2015 and 1,153 yards on 83 receptions last season.
click here to read the rest of this story