The backlash and criticism back was swift, and New England Patriots cornerback Stephen Gilmore added his name to the list when he defended Cooper's play in a tweet:
Ryan's comments during an interview on Get Up were related to his take that Cooper sometimes fails to show up for games:
There is a sense of all-or-nothing with Cooper at times. Per Pro Football Reference, the five-year veteran has played 77 games, and 17 of them have seen Cooper gain 20 or fewer receiving yards.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Cooper can be an explosive playmaker, notably going off for 173 or more yards five times.
Ultimately, Cooper is a four-time Pro Bowler and one of the top wide receivers in the game at his best.
As for Gilmore, he played under Ryan from 2015-16 with the Buffalo Bills and saw Cooper once during his time in Western New York during a 2016 game.
Cooper, then an Oakland Raider, was largely held in check (two catches, 59 yards) but did haul in a 37-yard score in the fourth. That helped the Silver and Black win 38-24.
Gilmore signed with the Pats in the 2017 offseason and met Cooper yet again.
Once again, Cooper got a touchdown, but he was also limited to just three catches for 28 yards in a 33-8 loss.
Gilmore had the last laugh in their most recent meeting, a 13-9 Pats win in November 2019 in which Cooper was held without a reception on two targets.
Still, Cooper isn't exactly a low-level NFL wideout when you consider his largely impressive body of work, which includes four 1,000-yard seasons and four years of 72 or more catches.