Amari Cooper was missed on Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys took the field against the Kansas City Chiefs. Dak Prescott and the offense as a whole was completely discombobulated the entire game, failing to execute time after time and undercutting a great defensive effort that included key takeaways at critical moments. Prescott won't have much time to figure things out, though, considering it's a short week before facing the Las Vegas Raiders at AT&T Stadium in what will be the second game missed by Cooper -- who tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend and must be quarantined for 10 days before returning.
That mandate is due to Cooper being unvaccinated, and one of less than a handful of Cowboys who are. But when asked if he wished the four-time Pro Bowler and definitive WR1 in Dallas was available, Prescott gave a very obvious nod in the affirmative. What he won't do, however, is criticize Cooper for choosing to remain unvaccinated, also going on to confirm CBS Sports' reporting that he himself is, in fact, vaccinated.
"I mean, it's unfortunate not having him," Prescott told media after the loss in Kansas City, one that saw him throw two interceptions with no touchdowns. "To say the decision he made, I mean I'm vaccinated and I could get it and be out two games. Let's try not to knock the guy or put the guy down for a personal decision. I don't think there's anybody that comes back under 10 days.
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"You give me that stat on guys that are either vaccinated or unvaccinated coming back faster than that time and tested out, then OK, we'll go from there. That's my teammate, that's my brother, we're going to support him. That's his decision, as I said way back in training camp when you guys asked me this question. Unfortunate we don't have him, but I know he'll come back and be beneficial for us late in the season."
When asked to compare the situation to that of Aaron Rodgers, who admittedly misled everyone with his intentional use of the word "immunized" instead of "vaccinated", Prescott made it clear he never opined about Rodgers' situation with the Green Bay Packers, and he's going to give the same respect (and more) to a player he views as family.
"I never said Aaron was selfish so I don't get where you're coming at with me -- asking me that question," said Prescott. "That's my teammate, that's my brother, as I said. I'll continue to back him and support him. This is everybody's personal decision and I'm leaving it there."
Cooper will be available to return to the facility on Monday, Nov. 29, to ready for a short week, when the Cowboys prepare themselves to visit the Saints in New Orleans on Thursday night. They didn't learn about Cooper's status until last Friday, as they began shifting from practice to packing up to head to Kansas City, which certainly put the team behind the eight ball, offensively, seeing as Dallas has specific packages and plays designed for Cooper that were instantly either deleted or adapted for others. Those others included Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Noah Brown, who both had a case of the dropsies on Sunday.
For the sake of the Cowboys' chances of bouncing back this week, Wilson and Brown can't afford a repeat performance, and especially with the likelihood of also being without CeeDee Lamb, who suffered a concussion on Sunday.
"It's just an opportunity for other guys to step up and make plays," Prescott added. "We've had different guys, including myself, go out week after week and other guys have had to step in and make those plays. It's challenging when you're missing a guy like Amari, who is such a playmaker and dynamic, but we've got to be able to win without him."