One of the biggest storylines for the Cleveland Browns heading into Monday Night Football is the health of star wide receiver Amari Cooper. The word over the weekend, primarily from ESPN reporter Adam Schefter, is that Cooper's not expected to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, it turns out Schefter's reporting may not be accurate after all.
Browns News: Latest Amari Cooper Injury Update
ESPN announcer Joe Buck appeared on Pat McAfee's show Monday to discuss the matchup that he'll be calling. Buck mentioned that the coaching staff thinks Cooper will, in fact, suit up versus Pittsburgh.
McAfee was quick to mention Schefter's previous reporting, to which Buck responded, "Yeah I read that tweet, I'm just telling you what [Kevin] Stefanski told us." He also quipped, "maybe Stefanski didn't ready Schefty's tweet."
This new insight on the situation suddenly adds even more intrigue. Is Schefter's reporting wrong, or at least innacurate? Or is the coaching staff just trying to keep the Steelers on their toes and not reveal Cooper's true status before kickoff?
For now, we can only speculate. It'd be no surprise if Cooper does sit on Monday considering how troublesome groin injuries can be for wideouts. The fact he also tweaked the area late in the week puts him at a disadvantage in regards to a quick turnaround, but the extra day of rest with this being a MNF matchup could ultimately be the difference.
Cleveland would obviously love to have a full-strength Cooper out there, but this team also has much bigger aspirations than just beating the Steelers in Week 2. Stefanski and co. need to take the long-term approach here; just look at what happened to the Cincinnati Bengals for rushing Joe Burrow back early from his preseason calf injury. Though Cooper might not be on quite the same level, it is a relevant lesson to learn from.
The Browns should have the receiving talent to help them get by if the former Pro Bowler is ruled out. Elijah Moore already looks right at home in this offense, giving Deshaun Watson a primary target to lean on should Cooper be sidelined. Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Njoku are also fully capable of stepping up, and that's not even to mention one of the NFL's best run games can pick up some slack as well.
Regardless, all eyes will be on Cooper's status leading up to kickoff.
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