Ross replaces Cooper on roster
Cooper has also been charged twice in the past three years with driving while impaired.
He was suspended for four games and docked six weeks pay by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy following his second DWI arrest on Sept. 16, 2003.
His latest trouble came Oct. 22 when a Charlotte-Mecklenburg County police officer pulled him over, said spokeswoman Julia Rush of the Mecklenburg County Jail. An arrest warrant was issued three days later for "allegedly giving false information to a police officer," Rush said.
The Panthers announced his release shortly before he turned himself in at the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Jail on Thursday.
The players found out earlier in the day during a team meeting. Panthers coach John Fox declined to say much about the decision after practice Thursday.
"Every personnel decision we make, we make to make us a better football team," Fox said. "They are all football decisions. We are not really able to comment on that without getting into specifics. We thought it was best for our football team."
Cooper, a backup safety, led the Panthers with nine special teams tackles during the 2003 postseason.
Soon before the Panthers played in last season's Super Bowl, Cooper thanked team owner Jerry Richardson for giving him a third chance with the team.
"Coach Fox and Mr. Richardson put their neck on the line for me," Cooper said. "For them to give me another chance, I didn't believe it. You want to talk about miracles? That was a miracle right there. I thought when I was coming in to talk to Coach Fox that I was gone. I thought that was going to be the end of my career. And I went over to Mr. Richardson's house and he pretty much put the ball in my court. ... They don't ask for anything outrageous. Just do your job and do the right thing."
The Panthers replaced Cooper on the 53-man roster with Micah Ross, who was waived Monday by the San Diego Chargers. Ross is expected to replace Cooper this week as a gunner on special teams when the Panthers play at the Seattle Seahawks.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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