In an unexpected twist, the Browns believe Amari Cooper will play against the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Joe Buck, the Play-by-Play commentator for Monday Night Football, noted that he expects to see Cooper on the field after a conversation with Kevin Stefanski. That would be a change after Adam Schefter reported yesterday that Cooper would likely not play.
“They have Amari Cooper, who they think will play tonight,” Buck said. “I’m just telling you what Stefanski told us. I don’t know; maybe Stefanski didn’t read Schefty’s tweet.”
That is a notable diversion from that Schefter tweet. Cooper did travel with the Browns to Pittsburgh, but even as of this morning, Brad Stainbrook of the Orange and Black Report noted Cooper still has pain and will test his injured groin out during pregame warmups. As such, he is a true game-time decision.
Source: #Browns WR Amari Cooper (groin) still was not feeling 100% ready to go this morning, but will give it a go in warmups today and go from there. Still a game time decision, but was in pain this morning.
— Brad Stainbrook (@StainbrookNFL) September 18, 2023
Cooper aggravated a groin injury during Saturday’s practice with the Browns and is listed as questionable. Slot receiver Elijah Moore and backups David Bell, Cedric Tillman and Marquise Goodwin are candidates to replace Cooper in the starting lineup. Donovan Peoples-Jones will continue to start on the opposite side of whoever would replace Cooper.
The Browns frequently play with two tight ends, with Harrison Bryant joining David Njoku on the field. They will likely do so even more often if Cooper, their No. 1 receiver, is unavailable. Cooper had three catches of seven targets for 37 yards in the opener. Two of his three catches went for first downs.
Last season, he had 132 targets, by far the most on the team, and also led the club in catches (78), yards (1,160), yards per reception (14.9), receiving touchdowns (nine) and first down receptions (61.)
Cooper joined the Browns in March 2022, coming over in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a pair of draft picks. He will count for $23.8 million against Cleveland’s salary cap this season and is under contract through the end of the 2024 season.