THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp said Tuesday he is “feeling really good” as he returned to a full team practice for the first time this offseason and continues to rehab his ankle.
“I was really hoping to challenge to come back and be a part of last year still,” Kupp said. “Unfortunately, things can’t work out that way.”
Kupp suffered a high ankle sprain during the Rams’ Week 10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last season and needed surgery, which required him to miss the remainder of the year. He finished the season with 75 receptions for 812 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. Kupp, however, said the reason for the surgery was with the intention to return to play. The Rams finished last season 5-12.
“It does feel like it when you get hurt, that season kind of drags on forever,” Kupp said. “There’s never really a stopping point … [I’m] still rehabbing, still doing all that stuff so it gets long.”
On Tuesday, Kupp, who reiterated that the rehab is ongoing, spent practice away from team runs and position drills, instead working with a trainer on running routes, sprinting around cones and pushing a wheeled sled. Though he has worked out at the team facility, Kupp had not previously attended OTAs or been around for a full team practice until Tuesday, in part, because of the birth of his third child with his wife, Anna.
“I love these guys here, but I had to be with my family,” Kupp said. “I’m very glad to be back, but I have no regrets about that.”
When asked if he’s cleared to participate in full-speed drills and play, Kupp said he wasn’t sure and left the decision to the medical team.
“Playing football, you can’t simulate this stuff. So I don’t know if we’ll really know,” Kupp said. “I feel right now we’ve been pushing it pretty hard. I feel like I’m asking for more, wanting to do more and feeling like you’re getting held back versus feeling like they’re pushing you to do more. We’re in a good place now where I feel like I want to get out there and play.”
For now, Kupp will bide his time and continue to ramp up his body back to game speed. Rams coach Sean McVay isn’t too upset about that, either. With the amount of roster turnover and influx of young players — and wide receivers — the Rams have had, Kupp’s absence has served as an opportunity for those wideouts.
“It’s allowed guys like Tutu Atwell to really shine bright,” McVay said. “You’re getting reps for guys like [rookie] Puka Nacua, Van Jefferson, Austin Trammell … you’re getting a chance to evaluate some guys in spots that maybe they wouldn’t get reps or opportunities at otherwise.”
Having Kupp on the field, McVay said, is like having an extension of the coaching staff and bodes well for the developing youth movement.
Rams WR Cooper Kupp ‘feeling really good’ post ankle surgery