No surprise Cooper sticks with football

January, 26, 2010
1/26/10
7:58
AM CT
I would have been surprised had Florida receiver Riley Cooper actually given up on football and headed to Surprise, Ariz., to join the Rangers' minor leaguers.

He led the Gators with 961 receiving yards and nine touchdowns and was a second-team All-SEC pick. Instead of waiting for his turn as he tried to work his way up the baseball ladder, Cooper can make an immediate impact on the football field.

He was supposed to appear for a physical on Jan. 17 to get the first part of his bonus from the Rangers. But Cooper is busy getting ready for April's NFL draft.

"Football's definitely the route I want to take," Cooper said from the Senior Bowl. Read the story here. "Toward the last couple of weeks of the football season, I knew that's what I wanted to do. That's my makeup, my mentality. I'm just a football player, not a baseball player."

Cooper said he was going to miss baseball.

"I'm going to miss it," Cooper said. "I've been playing football and baseball my whole life. Now that it's gone and I'm only doing one sport, I'm going to miss it. But I think it's going to benefit me health-wise having an offseason for the first time since I was 13 years old."

The Rangers picked up Cooper in the 25th round. He hit .247 with two homers and eight RBIs and three stolen bases in 30 games. He also struck out 41 times in 89 at-bats.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Elvis Andrus
BA HR RBI R
.302 1 3 9
OTHER LEADERS
HRE. Andrus 1
RBIA. Rios 7
RE. Andrus 9
OPSS. Choo .830
WP. Figueroa 2
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23