*After taking a leave of absence due to the public use of racial epithet (“I’ll fight any N*GGER here, bro!”), Riley Cooper has now returned to the Philadelphia Eagle’s training camp.
The wide receiver is expected to play in the team’s preseason opener Friday against the New England Patriots.
The Eagles tweeted the development Tuesday morning.
In June, Cooper was seen on video yelling the racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert. He’ll likely have to try and smooth thing over with teammates this week and some unfamiliar faces while the Patriots join practices with the Eagles for a few days.
Right now Cooper is eyeing a starting position with Jeremy Maclin out for the season. Although his coach Chip Kelly maintains that Cooper’s roster spot is safe, a few NFL execs told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero that Cooper could become a free agent commodity if released.
The video that showcased a intoxicated Cooper direction the slur toward a Black security guard, went viral last Wednesday.
After the video surfaced, Cooper continuously apologized while also receiving an undisclosed fine from the team. He still practiced the following Thursday and said that while some seems to show support, others he still had to work on winning back.
Among the players who forgave Cooper quickly was Michael Vick while Tailback LeSean McCoy and cornerback Cary Williams were among those who expressed reservations.
He was then excused from training camp Friday to attend sensitivity training.
“The last few days have been incredibly difficult for me,” Cooper said in a statement Friday. “My actions were inexcusable. The more I think about what I did, the more disgusted I get. I keep trying to figure out how I could have said something so repulsive, and what I can do to make things better.”
“Right now,” he continued, “I think it’s important for me to take some time to reflect on this situation. The organization and my teammates have been extremely supportive, but I also realize that there are people who will have a tough time forgiving me for what I’ve done. The best thing for me, and for the team, is to step away for a period of time.”
“During this time I’m going to be speaking with a variety of professionals to help me better understand how I could have done something that was so offensive, and how I can start the healing process for everyone. As long as it takes, and whatever I have to do, I’m going to try to make this right.”
Cooper says has become a target of threats and extortion attempts.
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