Riley Cooper's disappointing 2014 season hasn't been limited to on the field results. On Monday, Cooper had the following to say when asked about his recent decrease in playing time: "[Jeremy] Maclin's trying to get a contract so he's probably not going to try and come out of the game."
Cooper appeared to be joking with the comment, but he went on further: "We want to sub as much as we can. It doesn't matter who it is. Hopefully, Maclin gets [his contract] done and he'll probably be subbing just as much. We want guys out there every four plays. We we're trying to rotate every four plays. I'll be in for four or five depending on if we're going tempo. Six, seven plays and then Huff goes in for two and then I go back in."
In other words, Cooper was downplaying the idea that his playing time decreased due to poor performance while also saying that Maclin doesn't sub out because he's in a contract year. When Maclin was asked about Cooper's comments on Tuesday, the Eagles' leading receiver didn't seem to be too entertained. "That wasn't a very smart thing for Coop to say," Maclin said.
Maclin isn't wrong. It was a really weird comment by Cooper, and the struggling pass catcher admitted as much on Tuesday. "I was talking about the subbing that we normally do, how Maclin isn't subbing because he's up for a new contract," Cooper said. "I was obviously kidding, but y'all took it to heart. I guess I shouldn't have said it. I apologize."
These awkward comments by Cooper do nothing to help ease Eagles fan's frustration with his lackluster 2014 performance. Cooper has only managed to record 39 receptions for 425 yards (10.9 average) and one touchdown this season. He has also dropped two passes and fumbled once. For what it's worth, Pro Football Focus grades Cooper 111th out of 113 NFL wide receivers that have played at least 25% of their team's offensive snaps.
Cooper should probably just stop talking altogether (you may have noticed he has a history of saying dumb things), but since the NFL fines players for not talking to the media (see: Marshawn Lynch's loophole strategy), that isn't really an option. Instead of making an awkward joke, however, something simple along these lines this would probably suffice: "I just haven't been very good this season, not as good as I need to be."