Amari Cooper

Devin McCourty sounds off on Rex Ryan, ESPN over Amari Cooper 'nonsense'

Devin McCourty sounds off on Rex Ryan, ESPN over Amari Cooper 'nonsense'

Rex Ryan's harsh comments about Amari Cooper last Friday aren't sitting well with anyone.

So, why did ESPN air them in the first place?

That's what New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty wondered Sunday while taking both the former NFL head coach and his current employer to task for Ryan calling Cooper a "turd" on ESPN's "Get Up!"

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"I just wanted to call ESPN and say, ‘ESPN, listen: You have the Jordan documentary coming out. You don’t need to air Rex Ryan,' " McCourty said on his "Double Coverage With the McCourty Twins" podcast.

McCourty's point: ESPN airing Ryan's harsh comments about Cooper -- in which Ryan called the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver a "disappearing act" who "doesn't love football" and added "I wouldn't have paid this turd" -- was a ratings grab.

McCourty sarcastically noted ESPN doesn't need the extra publicity with "The Last Dance," its highly-anticipated documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls, dropping later this month.

"Ratings are going to go through the roof. When you drop the Jordan doc, it’s a wrap," McCourty said. "As soon as Rex Ryan said that, (ESPN) should have cut it, should have never had it on air.

"Whatever (they) had to do, just cut it. Throw it in the trash. The Jordan doc is going to drop. We don’t need any extra hits for nonsense."

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Devin's twin brother, Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty, also ripped ESPN for promoting Ryan's comments on social media.

"Everybody was all-in on this ‘turd’ comment," Jason said on the podcast. "I guess at the same time, it’s all about entertainment: How can we get more viewers, how can we get people to click this, click that?

"But at what point in the game can you call somebody a turd? Whether he’s a good player or not a good player, it was just bad ball all around."

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tweeted his defense of Cooper on Friday, as well, so it sounds like Ryan doesn't have many players in his corner.

Ryan later apologized on ESPN for his comments about Cooper -- which the McCourtys may tell you probably helped the network's ratings, too.

Patriots' Stephon Gilmore disagrees with Rex Ryan's critique of Amari Cooper

Patriots' Stephon Gilmore disagrees with Rex Ryan's critique of Amari Cooper

Former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan made waves Friday for his harsh critique of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper.

On ESPN's Get Up, Ryan blasted the Cowboys for signing Cooper to a five-year, $100 million contract this offseason. It's one thing to be critical, but Ryan even went as far as to call Cooper a "turd," which probably isn't the most politically-correct way to evaluate a player.

“I wouldn’t have paid this guy. To me, this is the biggest disappearing act in the National Football League,” Ryan said. “He doesn’t show up on the road. He doesn’t show up against — when the competition’s good, when he’s against the top corners, that guy disappears.

“This is who he is. Doesn’t love football. Hell with it, he stops his routes, he does all this. I wouldn’t have paid this turd. No way in hell. No way in hell would I have paid this guy.”

So yeah, pretty harsh.

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New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who played for Ryan on the Bills from 2015-16, caught wind of his former coach's comments and made it clear he disagrees.

That's some high praise from the two-time first-team All-Pro. Especially after Gilmore locked Cooper down back in November by holding him without a catch.

Both Ryan and Gilmore are entitled to their opinions, but calling Cooper a "turd" was a bit over the line. After all, Cooper is coming off a 2019 season in which he tallied 79 receptions while setting career-highs in both receiving yards (1,189) and touchdowns (eight). Not exactly turd-like.

Anyway, Gilmore definitely has Ryan putting his foot in his mouth after those controversial remarks.

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NFL free agents 2020: Top 10 wide receivers

NFL free agents 2020: Top 10 wide receivers

Wide receivers will be at a premium when teams look to add talent via free agency this offseason.

The 2020 class is noticeably top-heavy at the receiver position. There are a few household names set to earn top dollar from teams desperate for a No. 1 target. Other teams, like the New England Patriots, could be looking at the next tier of options to add depth to their receiving corps.

The Patriots dealt with plenty of turnover at wide receiver in 2019. From Antonio Brown's brief tenure to the addition of Mohamed Sanu, and all of the injuries in-between, quarterback Tom Brady never really had a consistent group of weapons.

This offseason, New England has a few intriguing depth options including one of its own free agents and a veteran who was a contributor to two of its Super Bowl titles.

Here's a look at the top 10 free-agent wide receivers set to hit the market:

Click here for the full free-agent wide receiver gallery.