LOS ANGELES — Cooper Kupp has recorded some serious numbers over his first few seasons in the NFL, but it’s the number he’s changing that caught people’s eyes earlier this week.
"The time I spent at Eastern [Washington University] wearing 10 is such a cherished time for me in my life," said Cooper over Zoom on Friday.
At Eastern, Cooper wore No. 10, but when he got to the Rams he elected to wear No. 18 since the No. 10 was taken. On Monday he announced he was heading back home, and officially wearing the No. 10 again.
He first started pondering the idea for return to 10 in January of 2019, while recovering from an ACL tear.
It seemed like a new beginning with an old friend.
"I was coming off of the injury at the time. Just thinking, you know, this is something where we're moving into a new stadium, we're moving to new jerseys, really being able to step into this new thing coming out of this," said the Rams wide receiver. "Injury-wise, I felt like I had gone through a lot of growth as well and just what the number meant to me through my journey to even getting to the NFL. It seemed like the stars had aligned."
The stars certainly aligned for Kupp while he wore that jersey at Eastern.
He said in a statement earlier this week that 10 feels like home to him.
"Just because of the growth I had at Eastern. The people I met, the guys that stood next to me during my wedding, guys that came alongside me and spoke life into me, guys who pulled me out of the hard times and celebrated with me when we were in those high times. Because of those people, because of my time in Eastern, just how meaningful that's been, to me that's kind of why ten has felt like home," he said.
It's obviously not just a number to the Yakima native. It's him saluting all the people who helped him get to the point where he was able to wear number 18.
"People I have touched on already at Eastern that have been willing to put their own goals aside and say, 'Well I want the best for you,'" said Cooper of who he wears the number for. "I surely carry all those people with me out into the field when I'm wearing that number, when I look at that number. I think it's a good representation and a testament to you really not being able to do this thing alone."
It's apparent Cooper is excited to wear the number 10 again, but he may be even more excited to see another person don the number.
"I think that's gonna be something," said a beaming Kupp of having his nearly two-year-old son wear the No. 10 jersey. "I haven't let myself get to that point so I'm just gonna enjoy that when it's there. Being able to see him wear something that has meant so much to me, there's no words I can put on the value of that. To be able to see my little man running around in a little ten jersey is going to be something special."