Stephon Gilmore defends Amari Cooper over Rex Ryan’s comment

"He (is) one of the toughest receivers in the league to cover."

Stephon Gilmore defended Amari Cooper over a comment Rex Ryan made.
Stephon Gilmore defended Amari Cooper over a comment Rex Ryan made. –(Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)

We all know that Stephon Gilmore is good at defense.

However, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year played a different kind of defense on Friday.

The Patriots cornerback came to the defense of Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper after Rex Ryan called Cooper a “turd” on Friday.

“Come on Rex he one of the toughest receivers in the league to cover,” Gilmore, who played for Ryan when he was the Bills’ head coach in the 2015-16 seasons, wrote in a tweet on Friday. “His release game is probably top 2.”

Cooper had his worst game of the 2019 season when he and the Cowboys faced Gilmore and the Patriots in November. In a game that featured rainy conditions, Cooper didn’t have a catch and was only targeted twice, with one of those targets resulting in a Gilmore interception.

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The former Jets and Bills coach’s comment came during an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Friday morning when the show was discussing the five-year, $100 million contract Cooper signed with the Cowboys.

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

“He stops his routes, he does all this. I wouldn’t have paid this turd.”

Ryan later apologized for the “turd” comment.

“I can’t believe I said that, used that word,” Ryan said. “Obviously it was a poor choice by me to say what I said about Amari…I want to apologize to Amari again and hope he accepts my apology.”

However, Ryan still criticized the Cowboys for signing Cooper to that contract.

“I think the Cowboys overspent for Amari Cooper,” Ryan said. “The reason for it is, I don’t doubt that this is an elite player. He has those traits. But an elite player to me shows up on the road, he shows up against great corners, and he shows up in crunch time, and those are three things that Amari Cooper has not done so far in his career.”

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