Los Angeles Rams' wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who had been on the road to recovery from a nagging hamstring injury, has encountered an unexpected setback. Head coach Sean McVay delivered this news on Thursday, leaving Kupp's availability in doubt for the upcoming games.
McVay, addressing the situation, stated, "At this point, it's imperative that we take it one day at a time. We're committed to ensuring Cooper's full recovery because we recognize the significant impact he has on our team's performance."
Kupp, who initially suffered the hamstring injury on August 1, had only recently returned to practice with the Rams last week, expressing optimism about being ready for the team's season opener against the Seattle Seahawks on September 10. However, when questioned about Kupp's prospects for the opener, McVay refrained from providing a definitive answer.
McVay elaborated, "It's crucial to distinguish between a return to play and a return to peak performance. Cooper Kupp is an exceptional athlete, both on and off the field. Our priority is to ensure he returns to his peak form, enabling him to perform at his best. Whether that happens on September 10th or not, we will continue to closely monitor his progress and focus on what we can control."
Kupp, who earned MVP honors at Super Bowl LVI, had a challenging 2022 season, missing the final eight games due to a high ankle sprain. Despite the setback, he managed to record impressive statistics, with 75 catches for 812 yards and six touchdowns.
The previous year had been a career highlight for Kupp, as he achieved the NFL's coveted triple crown of receiving, leading the league in catches (145), receiving yards (1,947), and touchdowns (16).
As the Rams' star wide receiver faces this latest hurdle in his return to the field, the team and fans alike await further updates on his condition, with hopes for his swift recovery and a triumphant return to the game.
New York Jets' Aaron Rodgers Responds to Giants' Jihad Ward's Accusations
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The feud between the New York Jets and the New York Giants continued to intensify as Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers fired back at Giants outside linebacker Jihad Ward on Thursday.
Rodgers vehemently denied Ward's allegations, stating, "He thought we were laughing at his teammate? That never happened, and I think he's making things up. I don't care."
This dispute stems from Wednesday when Ward took offense at Rodgers and the Jets, accusing them of laughing after Randall Cobb delivered an illegal, blindside block to safety Bobby McCain during a preseason game, resulting in McCain suffering a concussion.
The incident was captured on HBO's "Hard Knocks," with Rodgers and his teammates sharing a laugh in the huddle as he teased Cobb about the penalty and the expected NFL fine. Ward, clearly angered, retaliated shortly after with a late shove on Rodgers after he completed a pass, sparking a heated exchange between the two, also captured on the show.
For the Jets, this kind of attention is becoming routine since the Rodgers trade in April, which started gaining attention back in March when Rodgers, a former Green Bay Packers icon, expressed his intention to play for the Jets.
"We've had a lot of attention — even before 'Hard Knocks,'" Rodgers acknowledged. "Then we did 'Hard Knocks,' so there's some jealousy, for sure. There are a lot of people either jumping on the bandwagon or jumping off the other side."
In a comprehensive interview, Rodgers addressed the high expectations surrounding the team, suggesting that the increased attention has turned some outsiders away.
"Obviously, there are a lot of expectations," Rodgers stated, emphasizing that the Jets have "a legitimate chance" to reach the Super Bowl. "A lot of people will be hoping for us to fail - as [Robert] Saleh referred to them," referencing the coach's opening speech in "Hard Knocks" where he spoke to the players about the naysayers.
However, Rodgers also acknowledged the support from their fanbase, saying, "A lot of people are in our corner, too, which is a good thing."
As Rodgers, preparing for his 19th season, relishes the spotlight, he maintains that he doesn't pay attention to "negative energy." He claimed to be unaware of Ward's comments, only learning of them when reporters recounted the situation.
The Jets and Giants are set to face off in Week 8 on October 29, a game that's sure to draw significant attention.
"There will be a lot of eyes on us," Rodgers noted about the upcoming season. "That could be pressure to some people, that could be expectation, it could be excitement. I choose to look at it as excitement. There's a lot of people that are going to be tuning in, a lot of people are going to be following along throughout our season. A lot of people are going to have a lot to cheer about, I think."
While Rodgers acknowledged that the Jets are "really talented," he declined to draw comparisons to his best Green Bay teams. Earlier in the day, general manager Joe Douglas, speaking to reporters for the first time since the draft, also declined to share his personal expectations for the season, emphasizing that excitement alone doesn't win games. He asserted that the team has much to prove.