FRISCO, Texas – Amari Cooper has plenty of belief, but he knows it doesn't count for much.
In a league the demands the utmost confidence to perform at the required level, almost everyone has belief. It's normal to hear NFL players from all across the league hierarchy tout their abilities.
Cooper is no different in that regard. But at the outset of his seventh NFL season, he does understand that seeing is believing.
"There's a difference between thinking you're the best and actually going out there and proving it," Cooper said. "Do I think I'm the best? Yes. Have I proven it? I wouldn't say I have."
However obvious that might sound, it's a refreshing bit of honesty from a guy who has been to four Pro Bowls and plays on a $100 million contract.
Cooper has been fantastic across the three-plus years since the Cowboys have traded for him. Even during a forgettable season, 2020 might have been his most impressive year yet, as he caught 92 passes for 1,114 yards despite playing with four different quarterbacks.
Despite that, his is a name that tends to get glossed over during discussions about the game's best wide receivers – a fact that Cooper seems to understand.
"There are guys who have actually put up some great numbers, they've taken advantage of their opportunities and stuff like that," he said. "I'm just still trying to take advantage of my opportunities and trying to put up those numbers to lead the league in yards, touchdowns, all across the board really," he said.
It'd be hard to come up with a better stage to seize an opportunity than Thursday night. Obviously, the Cowboys play in front of millions every time they take the field. But even with that said, going against the defending Super Bowl champions, headlined by Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Evans and all the rest takes things up a notch.
On top of that, the Cowboys are playing one of the few games of the year that all eyes will be on – the first one. As Cooper noted himself, it's hard for NFL players to watch games as fans during the grind of the season, but Thursday is the rare opportunity where the eyes of the league will be on one game.
"Obviously, all the other NFL players are back home watching it, just amped up," he said. "Because we don't really get to watch other teams play like that, or as much as we want to. But everybody's going to be watching this game, so I'm fired up about that."
One game won't dictate much, but going back to Cooper's earlier point, it is a big opportunity – for him and for the Cowboys' star-studded offense.