PITTSBURGH — Chants of ‘Coop’ will be heard at Acrisure Stadium Monday night afterall.
Browns receiver Amari Cooper is active for the game despite suffering a groin injury in practice on Saturday afternoon. Safety Juan Thornhill, who sat out last week’s 24-3 victory over the Bengals, is also active and will make his Browns debut. Both were listed as questionable, meaning they had a 50-50 chance of playing.
Cooper warmed up on the field in pregame, running routes and high-stepping to make sure the groin injury was healed enough to handle the demands of the game. He looked fine executing the drills, even if he didn’t run full speed.
With Cooper’s role as the X-receiver, he needs to be able to run and cut to fulfill his responsibilities. He’ll still likely be somewhat limited during the game, but his presence will be enough to stretch the defense and keep the Steelers off balance.
The Browns’ No. 1 receiver, Cooper injured the groin at some point on Saturday after the first 20 minutes of practice that were open to the media. He made a brief appearance in the locker room, grabbing his bag from his locker and walking swiftly out of the locker room with no one approaching him.
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On Sunday afternoon, there was some thought he might not make the trip, but he boarded the bus to Pittsburgh in hopes of giving it a whirl. If Cooper had been inactive, Elijah Moore would’ve played a more prominent role, and Donovan Peoples-Jones and others would’ve picked up the slack.
But there’s no one player on the roster who can replace him, and they would’ve done so by committee. The challenge would’ve been to keep Moore in most of his unique roles while also subbing effectively for Cooper. Now, the Browns will be able to run the game plan they practiced all week, at least to a certain extent.
Cooper, 29, has only missed four games in his nine-year career because of injury. The injury is not related to the minor tweak he had at the beginning of camp, or the core muscle surgery he underwent in February. It also isn’t believed to be related to the injury he suffered in the first quarter of the 24-3 victory over the Bengals that had him visiting the medical tent twice.
In that instance, Cooper slipped on the wet grass and appeared to grab his knee. But he finished the game and said on Friday that he was “all good.”
Here are the inactives:
#25 CB Kahlef Hailassie
#33 S Ronnie Hickman
#56 C Luke Wypler
#57 DE Isaiah McGuire
#62 DT Siaki Ika
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