Amari Cooper Learned a Valuable Lesson About Playing Through Injuries From 1 of Nick Saban’s Mind Tricks

Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Amari Cooper is one of the NFL’s top offensive talents. Cooper has accomplished that through his tremendous durability despite dealing with injuries over his career. He adapted his tough mental approach through a pivotal lesson he learned from Nick Saban through a mind trick.

Amari Cooper has firmly established as one of NFL’s best WRs

Cooper entered the league with plenty of hype after a well-decorated collegiate career at Alabama.

He’s quickly fulfilled the lofty expectations by putting up elite numbers in his six-plus seasons. He’s earned four Pro Bowl selections while tallying five campaigns with north of 1,000 receiving yards.

What has allowed Cooper to produce at a high level has been his durability, missing only three games. His mental approach became cemented after a valuable lesson from Nick Saban during his time at Alabama.

Amari Cooper learned a valuable lesson about playing through injuries from 1 of Nick Saban’s mind tricks

Throughout the last couple of years, Cooper has dealt with nagging injuries.

The 27-year-old is currently working through a rib ailment that nearly forced him to miss Week 2 action against the Los Angeles Charger. Cooper toughed it out, recording three catches on five targets for 24 receiving yards.

He missed only three games in his first six seasons, with two occurring in the 2017 campaign with then-Oakland Raiders due to a nagging ankle injury. His ability to battle through health issues became ingrained in him before he entered the NFL.

Cooper recently revealed that his former collegiate head coach Nick Saban used a methodical mental ploy to get him to play despite dealing with injuries.

“Saban, he put another guy in front of me cause I kind of kept taking myself out the game and it just messed up the continuity of everything so now I just I’d rather play hurt than to be switching with a guy in there,” Cooper said.

It worked as Cooper only missed two games in his three-year collegiate career. His mental toughness helped him push through to become arguably the best wide receiver in the nation in his junior year in 2014, where he set several Alabama single-season and career records.

He set the school records with 1,727 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns, while his 124 catches were an SEC record. These feats helped him earn the Biletnikoff Award, given to the country’s best wide receiver. He was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy award and received a unanimous All-American selection.

Cooper finished with his collegiate career with Alabama records with 228 receptions, 3,463 receiving yards, and 31 receiving touchdowns. Beyond that, his mental toughness has become a key part of his NFL journey.

Amari Cooper remains a key part of the Cowboys’ future

Since arriving to the Cowboys, Cooper has become a key fixture in the offensive game plan.

He continues to prove to be one of the league’s most dependable passing game weapons behind his elite production. Cooper notched stellar numbers after the Cowboys acquired him in the 2018 season, posting 53 receptions for 725 yards with six touchdowns in nine games played.

Cooper has topped north of 1,100 receiving yards in the last two full campaigns with Dallas while playing in all 32 games. He’s off to a solid start to begin the 2021 campaign as he’s notched 16 catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns before Week 3 action on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

It includes an impressive Week 1 outing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he recorded 13 catches for 139 yards with two touchdowns. Although second-year wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is emerging as a prominent fixture in the passing game, Cooper is the anchor.

Dallas will need him to be a significant factor if they hope to vie for the NFC East division title and much more in 2021.

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