'Old guy' Amari Cooper embracing leadership role in first season with Browns

Amari Cooper is entering his first season with the Cleveland Browns.

Nonetheless, his age and experience in comparison to his teammates in the wide receiver room necessitate him being a Browns leader from the jump.

The former Pro Bowler is ready to take on the challenge – and the role.

"A lot of leadership comes with experience and age," Cooper, who was acquired by Cleveland in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, said via the team website's Anthony Polsal. "It becomes easier and easier over time because, from what I see now, leadership is just experience. It's so easy to lead once you have that experience because everything these young guys are going through, you either went through it or saw someone else previously on the team go through it, and you saw how the outcome was."

At 28 years old, Cooper is the eldest wideout on the Cleveland roster other than Pro Bowl return man/wideout Jakeem Grant, 29.

Cooper comes to Cleveland with four Pro Bowls and five 1,000-yard seasons to his credit. Only one other receiver on the roster -- Grant -- has more than 1,000 yards receiving in his career. In total, Browns receivers not named Amari Cooper have totaled 2,566 career receiving yards. Cooper's career yardages stands at 7,076 yards through eight seasons.

Beyond Cooper, the undoubted No. 1 wideout for the team, and Grant, the WR corps feature Donovan Peoples-Jones (two years experience), Javon Wims (four years), Anthony Schwartz (two years), JaMarcus Bradley (two years), and rookies David Bell, Michael Woods, Isaiah Weston, Travell Harris and Mike Harley.

The WR room is likely to be in flux with at least a few of those aforementioned names not appearing on the opening day roster.

For now, though, Cooper is doing his best to foster the position group while also preparing to lead the Browns passing game on the field -- and through uncertain times, with quarterback Deshaun Watson's 2022 season uncertain as he faces potential NFL punishment for violating the league personal conduct policy following more than 20 lawsuits from women accusing of him of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions.

With spring ball done and training camp ahead -- starting July 19 for rookies and July 26 for veterans like Cooper -- the former Raider and Cowboy likes what he's seen thus far.

"They know the position they're in, as far as making the team and stuff like that," he said. "They've been doing a good job. Very efficient."

And so it goes that one of the newest Browns has become a leader just like that.

"That's the position I'm in now," Cooper said. "These guys look at me like an old guy."

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