Cooper turns down Rangers deal
Cooper, a 25th-round draft pick of baseball's Texas Rangers, said Monday that he has decided to focus on a pro football career. He was set to receive half of his signing bonus at a scheduled physical on Jan. 17, which had to be put on hold while he was playing football.
"Football's definitely the route I want to take," Cooper said. "Toward the last couple of weeks of the football season, I knew that's what I wanted to do. That's my makeup, my mentality. I'm just a football player, not a baseball player."
Tim Tebow's favorite target started preparations on Monday for the Senior Bowl along with his Gators quarterback. Cooper was a second-team All-SEC pick and led the team with 961 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
He said he has received indications he would be drafted anywhere from the second to the fourth round, but figures he has more speed than NFL teams think.
"They've got me down as a 4.5 in my 40," Cooper said. "The way I look at it is, all I can do is go up. I'm not a 4.5."
The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder plans to run it again at the NFL combine.
Giving up baseball won't be easy, Cooper said, but he is looking forward to having an offseason.
"I'm going to miss it," Cooper said. "I've been playing football and baseball my whole life. Now that it's gone and I'm only doing one sport, I'm going to miss it. But I think it's going to benefit me health-wise having an offseason for the first time since I was 13 years old."
Cooper said his roommate and quarterback, Tebow, was supportive throughout the decision-making process. The two hooked up during Monday's practice just like their college days.
"I thought he did really well," Cooper said. "The passes to me were good except one when he got hit in the back. Other than that, I thought he did well. He did a good job under center. He looked crisp."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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