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Amari Cooper has no problem with self confidence. The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver knows how talented he is, and how important he is to the team's overall success in 2021. But Cooper's self confidence comes with a healthy dose of realism, too.
When Cooper was asked by reporters on Monday if he believes he's one of the best receivers in the NFL, he gave a thoughtful answer that shows that he believes in himself, but also knows he has to do the work to prove it.
Cooper ready to prove he's the best
“I think I’m the best receiver in the league,” Cooper said Monday afternoon via the Dallas Morning News. “But there’s a difference between thinking you’re the best and actually going out there and proving it.
“Do I think I’m the best? Yes. Have I proven it?
“I wouldn’t say I have."
We get a lot of "I'm the best, everyone is just underrating me" comments from NFL players, so it's refreshing to hear Cooper recognize the difference between what he believes is true and what he's actually shown.
And Cooper has been good. He's ran for more than 1,000 yards five times in his six-year career and has been named to the Pro Bowl four times. But his 2020 numbers weren't overwhelmingly amazing. He had 92 receptions last year, a personal best, which was 10th in the league. His 1,114 yards were 12th in the league. And his five touchdown receptions were way down on the list. Though it's fair to remember that Cooper not only lost his QB, Dak Prescott, early in the season, he's also competing for ball time with running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Cooper knows he has the potential to do more. And with Prescott back and healthy, he's ready to show it.
“There are guys who have actually put up some great numbers. They’ve taken advantage of their opportunities and stuff like that," Cooper said via the Dallas Morning News. “I’m just still trying to take advantage of my opportunities and trying to put up those numbers to lead the league in yards, touchdowns, all across the board really.
“Only after I’ve done that will I say I’m the best and that I’ve proven myself to be the best."