Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Amari Cooper on Being a Veteran Leader: ‘These Guys Look at Me Like an Old Guy’

by Dustin Schutte
cleveland-browns-wide-receiver-amari-cooper-being-veteran-leader-these-guys-look-at-me-like-an-old-guy

Go ahead, Outsiders, raise your hand if you think 28 years old fits the definition of “old guy.” Nobody? Yeah, that’s what we expected. Rarely do you see that term apply to anyone under the age of 30, but the situation is just a bit different for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Cooper, a four-time Pro Bowl selection out of Alabama, is entering his first season with the Browns. Though he’s one of the newest additions to Cleveland’s roster, the talented wide receiver is taking on a leadership role with the organization.

He may not have a long beard and gray hair, but Cooper’s seven years of NFL experience makes him one of the wily veterans in the receiver room.

“That’s the position I’m in now,” Cooper told ClevelandBrowns.com. “These guys look at me like an old guy. They pay a lot of attention to detail, and they know the importance of coming in every day and knowing their stuff and trying to perfect everything they do.”

At 28, Cooper is the second-oldest wide receiver on Cleveland’s roster entering 2022. Jakeem Grant Sr., who is also entering his first year with the Browns, is 29.

Both Cooper and Grant bring Pro Bowl talent to Cleveland’s passing attack. The two have a chance to lead by example despite being newcomers to the organization. It’s a task Cooper is embracing with his new team.

“A lot of leadership comes with experience and age,” Cooper said. “It becomes easier and easier over time because, from what I see now, leadership is just experience.”

Amari Cooper Just One of Many Offensive Weapons for Browns

It’s no secret that the Cleveland Browns haven’t enjoyed much success in the franchise’s history. But the addition of Amari Cooper at wide receiver is just one reason for optimism entering 2022. Offensively, the Browns have some great weapons.

Cooper is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and Jakeem Grant Sr. is coming off a Pro Bowl year in 2021. In the backfield, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt — who says he’s “100% healthy” — form a dynamic combination at running back.

According to NFL.com, the Browns are 13-6 when Hunt and Chubb are both healthy over the past two seasons. When one (or both) is out of the lineup, Cleveland is just 6-8.

The Browns also have receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones returning for his third season and picked up former Purdue receiver David Bell through the NFL Draft. There’s no lack of talent at the skill positions on the roster.

Cleveland’s biggest concern — and it’s a major one — is what it will do at quarterback.

Cleveland’s QB Conundrum

Landing receivers Amari Cooper and Jakeem Grant Sr. is significant for Cleveland’s wide receiver room. Having a healthy backfield punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is a huge benefit. None of it will matter if the Browns don’t find some answers at quarterback.

The organization is still awaiting a decision on Deshaun Watson’s future from the NFL. It’s rumored the league could be seeking a season-long suspension for the quarterback for violating its code of conduct policies.

In the event that Watson is slapped with a lengthy suspension, the Browns can’t rely on Baker Mayfield. That relationship appears severed beyond repair.

“I think it’s been pretty obvious that the mutual decision on both sides is to move on,” Mayfield said while speaking with reporters. “I think for [a reconciliation] to happen there would have to be some reaching out.”

Currently, Cleveland’s other two options at quarterback are Joshua Dobbs and Jacoby Brissett. If the Browns have to turn to one of those two options, Cooper’s experience and leadership might not be enough to lead the team back to the playoffs.

Outsider.com