The Kansas City Chiefs have a very crowded secondary at training camp. Sean Smith – when not suspended – is the clear top corner of the group with rookie Marcus Peters and second-year man Phillip Gaines seemingly locked in as the second starter and slot man.
In the background is third-round pick Steven Nelson, veteran Jamell Fleming and Marcus Cooper, a third-year corner out of the University of Rutgers. Cooper was nothing short of a sensation in his rookie campaign before completely derailing in 2014, leading to his benching midway through the season.
This week, Chiefs Digest writer Herbie Teope caught up with Cooper at training camp and spoke with him about the rollercoaster of emotions he has dealt with during his professional career. Cooper refused to blame others or circumstances, instead pointing at the man in the mirror.
"“No excuses,” Cooper said. “Things happened and that’s just the life of the corner position. You’re not going to cut any slack, so I don’t look for it. I’m going to be hated; I’m going to be loved. You just got to take it all on the nose and keep going.”"
Cooper is facing the reality of being one of the final cuts if he does not have a solid camp and preseason. All reports indicate that the 25-year-old has bounced back, but the real bullets don’t start flying until Aug. 15. For now, Cooper has been on the second team, mostly playing against Chase Daniel.
Still, he has buoyed by the support he is receiving from his teammates, per Teope.
"“Sean (Smith) has been helping me since he got here,” Cooper said. “Hats off to the guy. Every young guy that comes in, he puts his arm around him and shows you things that works for him. He goes over concepts and stuff with you. My hats off to him; he’s a great man.”"
Here’s to hoping Cooper can rebound and provide Kansas City with another quality option in the secondary.