Riley Cooper has no second thoughts.
Four years ago, the former Florida receiver was preparing for the NFL Draft after turning down a professional baseball contract with the Texas Rangers.
Last month he signed an extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, who drafted him back in 2010.
“I feel like I made the right choice,” Cooper said of his career path. “My mentality has always been, ‘I’m a football player.’ Playing baseball was fun, and I’m glad I could do two sports in college. But I definitely feel like I made the right decision. I don’t know if I would have made it in baseball.”
The 6-foot-3, 222-pounder had a breakout season in 2013, setting career highs in receptions (47), yards receiving (835) and touchdowns (eight). His numbers in those three categories are more than half of what he produced in each of his previous three seasons.
Cooper’s new deal with the Eagles is for five years and $25 million.
“It’s a dream come true to be playing in the NFL, and also to finally reach that second contract,” he said. “It definitely feels good to know that I’m going to be in Philly for a little while longer. My family and I are pretty happy.”
Cooper still thinks about baseball every now and then, and last spring he went through batting practice with the Phillies in Clearwater.
“You could tell I’d been away from the game for a while. I hit a few out, but it was windy,” Cooper said with a laugh. “But it was just for fun, and I had a good time.”
Cooper doesn’t have any specific goals for himself next season other than to play with the same mentality he’s always had.
“I’m one of those people who just approach the game,” he said. “I don’t set goals like this amount of catches for this many yards. I’m one of those guys who wants to go out there and play every down as hard as I can. Whether the ball is coming to me or I’m blocking, I just want to play the game of football how it’s supposed to played.”