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Amari Cooper nearing return for already stacked Cowboys offense

Despite a longer than expected recovery from offseason ankle surgery, Cooper remains focused on being the best version of himself to date.

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Coming off one of the best seasons of his career in which he posted a career-high 92 receptions with a catch rate of 71 percent for 1,114 yards, Amari Cooper underwent a “clean up” procedure on his right ankle. Despite only having his starting quarterback for the first five games, Cooper shined in 2020, not only living up to the new contract he’d signed the previous March, but proving his production wasn’t tied exclusively to Dak Prescott.

The recovery from the ankle procedure has been longer than expected Cooper acknowledged Tuesday, which has caused him to miss the early part of training camp in Oxnard.

Between how dominant CeeDee Lamb has looked in camp and the 935 receiving yards he logged last season, a Cowboys rookie record, it’s fair to speculate whether the status of the offense’s number one receiver may soon be contested. That said, in Cooper’s time with the Cowboys, he has played just one full season with Prescott, which, unsurprisingly, was the best year of his career to date. Having him opposite Gallup or Lamb, or both, the sky is the limit for the Cowboys' passing attack.

Until Cooper does officially return to practice in full, and Prescott himself is back under center following a muscle strain in his throwing shoulder, nothing is guaranteed, of course. Cooper had the surgery to remove bone spurs in early January and was originally expected to be ready for the start of camp.

In speaking with the media Tuesday, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Cooper, as well as DeMarcus Lawrence, would not participate in practice until after training camp returned to The Star in Frisco later this month.

Despite the extended rehab period, Cooper has continued to put in the work, not content to merely stay in shape by playing at the weight he always has, but trimming down closer to 210lbs ahead of the season, via ESPN’s Todd Archer.

“I can do everything, maybe a little better, just because I’ve been rehabbing so hard,” Cooper said. “I’ve been talking to myself a lot lately about how I want this year to be different than any other year that I’ve played football.”