Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fueled by brother’s spirit, SCSU/Citadel star Cooper realizes NFL dreams; Makes Washington Redskins Roster

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A scout unexpectedly poked his head in the door of the Washington Redskins’ team meeting on Saturday requesting Mariel Cooper gather his belongings and follow him. Cooper was one of 33 tryout players at the Redskins’ rookie minicamp vying for two open spots on the team’s 90-man roster. The unexpected summons less than two days into camp induced an uneasy feeling in Cooper as he headed toward the offices of Redskins Park.

The scout led Cooper through the glass double doors adorned with the iconic Redskins logo and up the burgundy staircase. They paused for a moment in front of the team’s three sterling silver Super Bowl trophies.

“Coop,” the scout finally let out with a smile slowly stretching across his face. “Welcome to the Washington Redskins.”

The undersized long shot from Sumter, S.C., undrafted out of The Citadel, had made an NFL team. After Cooper signed his contract, Redskins officials gave him a moment to himself. Cooper leaned low into his leather chair, exhaled deeply and peered out of the office window up to the blue sky that stretched over the practice fields.

“Thank you, Destin,” he whispered. “Keep blessing me, man. I’m going to keep balling for you.”


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