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Amari: 'I Know I'm Going To Be Ready'


It was simple: Amari Cooper didn't want to go anywhere else.

In his first interview since re-signing with the Cowboys back in March, Cooper explained why he decided to stay in Dallas, his new home for the past 22 months since arriving in a 2018 trade-deadline deal with the Raiders.

The total value of Cooper's five-year, $100 million contract is the highest in NFL history for a wide receiver, and his $20 million average ranks second among wideouts just behind Atlanta's Julio Jones ($22 million). But according to reports, at the start of the free agency negotiating period the Washington Football Team offered Cooper more money to change locations within the NFC East.

Cooper stuck with The Star.

"I just like everything about being a Dallas Cowboy," he said via conference call. "I love the culture that we've created here and just the atmosphere both inside the building and outside of the building, in terms of being in the city of Dallas and the surrounding areas. I guess that would be the same reason why I was willing to take less money to stay here.

"That coupled with fact that I had the privilege of being able to play on a different team, I understand that every the culture isn't the same. Every city isn't the same and every team isn't the same. Me being able to see that while being on another team and to have the opportunity to be on a team that I really love, I wouldn't trade that for a little bit more money."

Cooper has made the Pro Bowl each of his first two seasons with the Cowboys, catching 132 passes for 1,914 yards and 14 touchdowns in 25 games. After last year's 8-8 finish, Cooper said he would focus on becoming a more consistent receiver -- aware that his production dropped on the road compared to home games. To be fair, Cooper dealt with several nagging lower-body injuries throughout the season.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged players' offseason training plans around the league. But Cooper says he has been able to get quality work done. Most importantly, no one in his family has had any COVID-19 cases, he said.

"Just going back reviewing film (of last season) and seeing what I could've done better in certain situations, how I could've maybe come back to the ball or attacked the ball differently or attacked a defender differently, just to be more consistent for my team," he said. "In terms of the pandemic and staying in shape, I have some machines at home and I had to sign up for a gym membership when the gym kind of opened back up, which I was used to doing already because I did it when I was in Oakland.

"I feel like I'm ready like any other year because I've been training. In terms of the team, I feel like everybody has been working hard this offseason. And everybody is on an even playing field because all the teams are starting late. Whatever the situation is and whatever the circumstance is I feel like we're going to be ready. I know I'm going to be ready."