Those who write and talk about sports tend to mention the concept of "heart" a lot. Heart, to them, is that intangible quality that a person has (or doesn't have) that drives them past their limits, outworking opponents and inspiring teammates. To win requires "heart," and more of it than your adversary.
More than a concept, your actual heart is the thing that beats in your chest, pumping blood to the rest of your body so that you can live.
And play football.
This week, I've got the number 53 on the brain. That's not the only reason I'll be cheering for Denver LB Jonathon Cooper tonight, but it's a start.
Prior to the 2021 draft, it was discovered that Cooper had a heart condition, one that would require surgery, and which could spell the end of his playing days. Despite this, Denver took a chance on Cooper and drafted him in the seventh round
While recovering from surgery, Cooper missed Denver's offseason program. Despite these disadvantages, Cooper worked hard and made it through the final cuts to become a part of Denver's 53-man roster.
So far this season, Cooper has dressed for all six of Denver's games, and through limited action, has recorded three tackles. With two of Denver's LBs listed as Out, and with the team playing on short rest, perhaps Cooper will see a bit more action tonight.
Whatever happens, I know I'll be cheering for Denver's #53 any and every time I see him on the field.
Thursday, October 21st
Denver at Cleveland
Denver got off to a 3-0 start this season, admittedly against some pretty bad teams, before losing its next three games against stiffer competition. Denver's strengths thus far have been a solid defense and a careful-but-unspectacular offense. Normally, I would put Cleveland in the "stiffer competition" category, but I got burned by them on Sunday because I forgot to check the Injury report. Against Arizona, Cleveland was without RB Nick Chubb and their two starting Tackles. Tonight, on short rest, Cleveland's Tackles are expected to play, but the team will be without not only Chubb, but also Kareem Hunt and Baker Mayfield.
I'm expecting a close, low-scoring game tonight.