Cardinals claim former Rams return man, WR Pharoh Cooper
Dec 19, 2018, 2:26 PM | Updated: Dec 20, 2018, 7:59 am
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals claimed wide receiver and return man Pharoh Cooper, who on Wednesday was added via waivers after being released by the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday.
He joins Arizona as the Cardinals prepare to face his former Rams team Sunday at State Farm Stadium.
“They’re getting a great competitor, tough football player, has great instincts when he has the football in his hands. We think the world of him here,” said Rams head coach Sean McVay in a conference call Wednesday.
Cooper, who was a Pro Bowler last season, has missed most of the year due to an ankle injury suffered in the season opener. He returned in Week 13 but was released as the Rams added veteran running back C.J. Anderson, who could fill in Sunday with starter Todd Gurley nursing a knee injury.
“It really wasn’t anything that Pharoh didn’t do,” McVay said. “It was more a result of a numbers deal where two of the three running backs on our active roster were banged up.”
ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Giants, Jaguars and Titan also put waiver claims in for Cooper, but Arizona had priority on the wire due to its record.
Since returning this year, Cooper has two punt returns, including a fair catch and a 12-yard return. He’s taken 13 kick returns for 277 total yards.
The 23-year-old was a fourth-round pick out of South Carolina in 2014 and has some experience at receiver, where Arizona could also use some help. He has 25 receptions for 190 yards in 31 games played.
Cooper has yet to record a reception this year.
Cooper could challenge for playing time at receiver, where undrafted rookies Trent Sherfield and Jalen Tolliver have earned snaps alongside veterans Larry Fitzgerald and J.J. Nelson.
T.J. Logan has been Arizona’s kick return man in recent games, while cornerback Patrick Peterson has been taking punt returns since receiver Christian Kirk went down with a foot injury on Dec. 2 at Green Bay.