FRISCO — Amari Cooper was on the Oakland practice field when an employee walked over and told him that general manger Reggie McKenzie wanted to have a word.
That’s how the receiver found out earlier this week that he had been traded to the Cowboys.
“It feels great,” Cooper told reporters Wednesday after going through his first practice with his new team. “It feels like a fresh start, just like a freshman year in college or something like that.
“I mean the first thing you think about when you hear the Cowboys is that star, America’s Team, and all of that. It’s a great franchise.”
Cooper wasn’t looking for a fresh start. He liked his time in Oakland.
But it didn’t come as a surprise, either. Cooper had seen the Raiders trade Khalil Mack and heard rumors swirling that he could be next.
The receiver packed his belongings and was on a plane to Dallas less than 24 hours after talking to McKenzie. He leaves the Bay Area with 225 receptions for 3,183 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Oakland took Cooper with the fourth pick of the 2015 draft. He responded with back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards on his way to two Pro Bowl appearances. But Cooper’s production has dropped the last season-and-a-half.
Inconsistent? The 24-year old has games of 116 and 128 yards this season, both better than any single game produced by a Cowboys receiver. But he’s been held to 17 yards or less in his other four games.
What does he bring to the Cowboys sputtering offense?
“I bring a lot of playmaking ability,” Cooper said. “I can stretch the defense. All those things.
“I will leave that for you guys to see.”
Most of the work Cooper got with quarterback Dak Prescott in Wednesday’s practice was running routes in drills, but he did take a couple of reps during the team periods. The two plan to work together on their own during the bye week — the players have five days off starting Friday — but haven’t scheduled it yet.
“I really like the way he throws the ball,” Cooper said. “It’s a good ball.”
Cooper spoke with the reporters crowded around his locker for seven minutes. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence broke in at one point to ask a couple of questions.
Lawrence is one of several players in the Dallas locker room to reach out to Cooper in the hours after the trade. What did he tell the Cowboys newest receiver?
“Yeah, none of your business,” Lawrence said. “I mean, if I needed you to know I would have texted you, too.
“I reached out to him and told him welcome, the end. Next question.”
Next question: what kind of difference do you think he can make?
“I don’t like thinking,” Lawrence countered. “I like proving to people. Just like he has to prove to y’all, he has to prove to us that he’s in here to come to work each and every day just like the rest of us and get this thing rolling.”
The concussion that knocked Cooper out of his final game with the Raiders is no longer an issue. He’s cleared the protocol.
The Cowboys offensive system is different than what he ran with the Raiders, but Cooper said it’s not difficult. He intends to work overtime to be ready for the team’s game against Tennessee on Nov. 5.
“I’ve been playing football all my life,” Cooper said. “You just have to be a good learner, and I think I’m that.
“I’m already adjusting and picking up the system pretty well.”
Head coach Jason Garrett has said that Cooper fits in with the cornerstone pieces the Cowboys already have in place. The former Pro Bowl receiver is confident he can make an immediate impact.
“Yeah, I mean, I have to stack the days together,” Cooper said. “Obviously learn the system and just be ready to go out there when my name is called.
“All the other stuff will come.”
That includes the spotlight that will shine on him as this offense tries to break out of the doldrums of being held to 17 points or less in four of its seven games this season.
“Is the spotlight going to come?” Cooper said, repeating the question. “I don’t know how that is here.”
He got his first glimpse Wednesday afternoon.
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