An all-time great Dallas Cowboys receiver just ripped one of the team’s current pass catchers, Amari Cooper, for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and missing a key game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs that resulted in a loss.
“I don’t know what word to put on it, but I am absolutely hot about it,” Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin said Tuesday when interviewed by TMZ. “Are you joking? I got a guy named Cedrick Wilson catching passes who makes $2 million and a guy named Noah Brown who makes $1 million? And I got a guy who makes $21 million, on the bench, at home, not playing. It’s crazy.”
The Cowboys fell, 19-9, Sunday in Kansas City, in a game in which the entire offense – but quarterback Dak Prescott especially – struggled. When fellow Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb was knocked out of the game in the first half with a concussion, the team’s receivers struggled to gain separation and suffered drops.
Cooper is currently isolating because of a positive COVID-19 test. The Cowboys placed Cooper on the reserve/COVID-19 list the Friday before the Chiefs game. As an unvaccinated player, he must remain away from the team for a minimum of 10 days –meaning he will also miss Dallas’ Thanksgiving Day game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
“Our job as athletes is to try to remove any reason of not winning the Super Bowl,” Irvin continued. “It’s why I condition, so fatigue isn’t the reason that I lose the Super Bowl. It’s why I go over plays a million times, so that a mistake is not the reason why I lose the Super Bowl. You have to try to mitigate any issue that can cost you a game or a Super Bowl. And COVID is one of them. You go get vaccinated to try to mitigate it as best you can. Now, you can still get it after you get vaccinated, but it’s a different percentage chance of you getting it. And I need you to get that different percentage chance. I’m so hot for Amari Cooper not being on that.”
Cooper will miss the chance to play against his former team, for whom he played the first three seasons of his career.
Though he was more diplomatic about Cooper’s situation than Irvin was, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also acknowledged Tuesday in a radio show appearance that Cooper’s absence did cost the team.
“Amari Cooper is outstanding,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “He’s one of the highest-character guys that you will ever be around in any area. He’s outstanding in his introspect and how he does things. Nobody is saying he isn’t outstanding, but this is a classic case of how it can impact a team. At the end of the day, this is team. You cannot win anything individually.
“The point is, it popped us. This did pop us.”
Cooper, 27, is in his seventh season in the NFL. He has caught 44 passes for 583 yards with five touchdowns this season, second-most in all of those categories on the Cowboys behind Lamb.
Earlier in the week, Prescott defended Cooper and said: “Let’s not try to knock the guy or put the guy down for a personal decision.”