"I can't sing," Jonathan Cooper freely admits with a laugh, "but I like to. A lot of people remind me that I can't sing and need to keep my day job. I enjoy it – in the shower, in the car, even when I'm just going through my daily routine. Singing kind of helps me move along."
When the erstwhile Arizona Cardinal stepped out of the shower yesterday morning, he was greeted by a missed phone call and text from his agent, informing him that he'd just been traded to the Patriots. The news took him by surprise, because he had no inkling that he was on the trading block, but less than 24 hours later, "Coop" – as he says most people refer to him – was singing the praises of his new employers.
"It's more family-oriented than I would have imagined. I've heard nothing but great things… I realized it's a great opportunity, fresh start… there's definitely a lot worse places I could go. This is a heck of an organization to play for."
Cooper, Arizona's first-round draft choice just three years ago, missed his rookie campaign with a broken leg, and never quite recovered to fulfill the lofty expectations that came with his seventh-overall-selection status. Now, though, the 6-2, 310-pound guard is looking forward to starting his New England career on a more positive note and harmonizing with his new teammates on the Patriots offensive line.
"It's definitely been a roller coaster ride, and I do see the opportunity for a fresh start as a way to just kind of do what I know I can do. I was put here for a reason. I just want to play and do what I know I'm capable of.
"I just want to come in and work as hard as I can and help wherever I can," Cooper stressed. "Wherever the coaches tell me, I'm willing to work to be there. I feel like I'm a decent teammate – a hard worker who's going to try to motivate everyone around me. Brotherhood is a big thing to me. I love to be in a room with a bunch of great guys who are working hard to be successful together."
In the meantime, Cooper says he's trying to catch his breath "slowly but surely" so he can acclimate to his new system, new co-workers, and "a very different climate" than he was accustomed to in the desert southwest.
"Nothing that's impossible," he pointed out. "Things that will take time and hard work."
So what if Cooper can't carry a tune? The way he was talking today is sure to be music to Bill Belichick's ears.