Copper hoping Chiefs will be last stop|Solid OTA’s has receiver feeling good about year

Published 5:20 am Friday, July 3, 2009

Sports Editor

Terrance Copper is hoping that his fourth team in the NFL will be his last.
The former Washington Pam Pack star, who went on to establish a couple receiving records with the East Carolina Pirates, returned home recently after a series of OTA’s (organized team activities) with the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City is Copper’s fourth team, following stints with the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens.
“They went well,” Copper said of the OTA’s. “The playbook is fairly easy because I’ve been in that same offense ever since I’ve been in the league. We’re getting better as a team, and we’re starting to play together as a team.
“We’re trying to get a feel for everybody, learning their strengths and weaknesses. We’re looking at things we need to work on as an offense.”
Copper, who has 46 receptions for 600 yards and six touchdowns in his career, is looking to bounce back strong following an injury-plagued, frustrating season where he split time with the Saints and Ravens. The 6-0, 207-pound receiver suffered a neck injury last year, while an illness cost him 12 pounds, and a lot of strength.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” said Copper, who has 41 special-teams tackles and 26 kickoff returns for 502 yards (19.3 average) in his career. “I’m stronger. I went through mini-camp and OTA’s with no injuries. I took care of my body a lot, and I’m still continuing to do that.”
Copper joins a team that went just 2-14 last year, the worst record in franchise history. However, the sixth-year receiver believes the Chiefs have a chance to do some impressive things this year.
“This team is a lot like the (20)06 Saints,” Copper said. “They were 3-13 and then ended up going to the NFC Championship game the next year. This team reminds me a lot of that team.
“We have a new quarterback (Matt Cassel) coming in and a new coaching staff. All of the players are down to earth and everybody is willing to work.”
Copper, known mainly for his standout play on special teams, is hoping to make an impact at receiver. However, he’ll play wherever he is needed.
“I’m going to be put wherever I need to be put to help win the game,” Copper said. “I’m not worried about that right now. Everything will take care of itself.”
He’ll be competing for playing time at receiver with the likes of Dwayne Bowe, Devard Darling, Bobby Engram, Mark Bradley, Taurus Johnson, Quinten Lawrence, Jeff Webb and Rodney Wright.
“We have a good receiving corps,” Copper said. “I think we have a young receiving corps, but they’re good from top to bottom. I’m excited about this year.
“You have to prove yourself every year. You have rookies coming in trying to take your spot.”
Copper has been enjoying some down time before football activities resume. He’s been spending as much time as he can with his wife, Kandy, sons Terrance and Tyreek, and daughter, Taniya.
He and the rest of the Chiefs report to training camp July 30. Though there is pressure on each player to perform well, and the camps can be grueling, Copper is prepared.
“That nervousness went out a couple years ago,” Copper said. “Training camp is training camp; there’s now way around it. You’re going to work hard; you’re going to sweat; you’re going to be in pain; you’re going to be sore, but that’s just part of training camp.”
After working out in the heat of California while in training camp with the Cowboys, and in the heat of Mississippi while in training camp with the Saints, Copper is hoping this summer won’t be quite so miserable. The Chiefs hold training camp at the University of Wisconsin.
“It shouldn’t be as hot,” Copper said. “It’s a big plus when you’re not fighting the heat.”
The Chiefs play their first scrimmage Aug. 15 against the Houston Texans.
The first regular season game is slated for Sept. 13 at the Ravens. Kansas City plays somewhat close to home on Oct. 18 when the Chiefs visit the Washington Redskins.
Copper is ready for the season to kick off.
“I want to go out and work hard every day in practice,” Copper said. “I want to win. That’s the biggest thing.”
Finding himself in four different color uniforms over the first five years of his career, Copper is hoping he’ll be wearing the red and yellow of the Chiefs for some time.
“My favorite color is red,” Copper said. “That’s a plus for me.
I’m with a new team, it’s a fresh start and I’m excited about it.”