Riley Cooper to give up baseball
Former Florida WR Riley Cooper has decided to give up his dream of playing professional baseball to focus solely on football.
Cooper told reporters at Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, AL on Monday that he will not play professional baseball this spring. Cooper was a 25th round draft choice by the Texas Rangers organization and signed a professional contract last August.
Although he declined at the time to disclose financial terms of the contract, Baseball America reported that Cooper received a $250,000 signing bonus, paid in full - $100,000 more than MLB's recommended maximum for players selected after the fifth round. The Rangers also paid his tuition at UF during the fall semester.
Cooper was scheduled to report to the Rangers on Jan. 17, and at the time would have picked up one-half of his signing bonus. Because he did not report, he never received any of the money, he said. He and his father, Larry, said last August that it was a lifelong dream of Cooper's to play professional baseball. But as the football season progressed, Cooper said he realized he was going to have to decide between the two sports.
Cooper was the Gators' second-leading receiver this past season with 961 yards, and had a team-leading nine touchdown receptions.