Former CD East, IUP standout Ethan Cooper headed to Pittsburgh Steelers
Ethan Cooper filled the upper floor of Harrisburg’s Rookies Sports Bar and Grille with family and friends Saturday for the NFL Draft’s final rounds.
But it wasn’t a draft party.
“I called it an ‘opportunity party,'” Cooper said with a smile when all was said and done.
For more than six hours, the group watched as Cooper, a former CD East and Indiana University of Pennsylvania star offensive lineman, was passed over by NFL teams.
When the final pick was announced, Cooper’s name was not among the 253 players picked.
Minutes later though, the Pittsburgh Steelers made sure the “opportunity party,” wasn’t ruined, brining Cooper in as a priority, undrafted free agent.
“I just wanted the opportunity,” Cooper said. “I knew, going in, there was a chance I wouldn’t be drafted. But, I knew that, as long as I got an opportunity, I’d be OK.”
The 6-foot-3, 335-pound guard said he was contacted by a handful of teams as the draft was winding down.
“I had a lot of teams tell me that I was their number one guy (as a free agent),” he said. “The Jets, the Falcons, the Bills and the Rams … and I greatly appreciated all of them calling me, but I felt like Pittsburgh was the best for me.”
Cooper said he chose Pittsburgh, in part, because he knew they followed his career at IUP.
“They were one of my top teams, and when they called me, and had the same interest … it was mutual … I knew that was right,” he said.
Cooper spent the half hour or so after talking with Pittsburgh taking photos and celebrating with family and friends.
My brother is officially a Pittsburgh Steeler!!! @ECoop59 pic.twitter.com/E2GaohwQff
— Kevin Brown. (@MuggaKev) April 29, 2017
But, he said, he’s ready to get to work.
“I’m just going to continue doing what I’ve done my whole life, and that is work hard,” he said. “Nothing is guaranteed. I know I have to go in there and work hard for my spot, but that’s what I’ve done my whole life.”