Josh Gordon applied for reinstatement to the NFL in March, but the league responded Thursday with a no, according to USA Today.
The troubled receiver has been suspended for the majority of his career but had a brief bit of playing time last year when the league conditionally reinstated him to participate in training camp and the preseason. But before the regular season began, he entered a rehab facility and was placed on indefinite suspension again.
Cooper said he hadn’t been given any indication as to why teams were reluctant to call, but acknowledges that it may have had something to do with his use of the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert in 2013.
His on-field production over the next three seasons (123 receptions for 1,739 yards and 13 touchdowns) wasn’t enough to keep him in Philly.
“I’m extremely apologetic about that,” Cooper said. “I told everybody it was completely my fault. I’m so sorry about it. That’s not the type of person I am. People that know me know that. Some of the guys here know that. I don’t know if that’s the reason or not, but I’m going to make the best of this opportunity, keep moving forward and become a better human, a better person and a better football player.”
But, for now, Cooper’s focus is to make a Tampa Bay team trying to give quarterback Jameis Winston as many weapons as possible. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter told media that he and his staff made the decision to go after Cooper before the 2017 NFL Draft. The 6-3, 214-pound receiver has already played with Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson, in Philly, and could join a receiving corps that also features Pro Bowler Mike Evans and rookie tight end O.J. Howard.