Eagles: Calendar flap not on us

ByPhil Sheridan ESPN logo
Friday, February 13, 2015

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday said they were not responsible for an unfortunate juxtaposition in the team's official 2015 calendar.

A photo of wide receiver Riley Cooper is featured for February, which is Black History Month. Cooper drew criticism nearly two years ago after an online video appeared in 2013 showing him using racial epithets during a concert.

"We do not oversee the production of the annual team calendar," the Eagles said in a news release. "We do not provide any input about the players who are featured or where those pictures appear in the calendar. The NFL licenses the production of that calendar to a third party, and we do not have an opportunity to review the material."

The company that makes the calendar, Turner Licensing, said Friday that it would it have no comment about featuring Cooper on February's page.

The team-calendar mishap was the focus of an initial report Thursday by TMZ.com.

The Eagles weathered a storm of negative publicity when the video of Cooper appeared online during training camp in 2013. Cooper took a leave of absence from the team for several days. He returned and apologized to his teammates, many of them in one-on-one conversations.

Michael Vick, then one of the Eagles' quarterbacks, and wide receiver Jason Avant vouched for Cooper's character publicly and among their teammates.

Cooper became a starting wide receiver that summer after Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL during a practice session. After the season, the Eagles signed Cooper to a new five-year, $22.5 million contract.

Cooper started all 16 games in 2014. He caught 55 passes for 577 yards and three touchdowns. The website Pro Football Focus, which grades every player, rated Cooper as the lowest-graded wide receiver in the NFL for 2014.

Information from ESPN.com's Darren Rovell contributed to this report.

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