Deke Cooper

Deke Cooper(born October 18, 1977 in Swainsboro, Georgia) is an American football safety who is currently a free agent. He was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2000. Cooper played high school football for North High School and college football at Notre Dame.

Cooper has also been a member of the Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, and Atlanta Falcons.

Early Years

Cooper attended North High School in Evansville, Indiana where he reached the finals of the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s State Championship Football Playoffs. Cooper was nominated for the 1995 Mr. Football Award.

College Career

At the University of Notre Dame, Cooper played in 45 games with 25 starts and totaled 203 tackles, six interceptions, four fumble recoveries, seven forced fumbles and five passes defensed, returning one fumble for a touchdown.
Cooper is perhaps best remembered for a touchdown-saving tackle in a 31-26 win over Boston College in 1998. On fourth-and-goal from inside the one-yard line, Cooper burst through the line unblocked to stop Eagles’ running back Mike Cloud. The play was referred to as the “$11 million-dollar tackle” as it kept Notre Dame’s hopes for a berth in a Bowl Championship Series bowl alive. However, those hopes were dashed with a 10-0 loss to USC in the regular season finale.

Professional Career

In 2000, he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent, then went on to play for the Cleveland Browns, the Carolina Panthers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as in NFL Europe, where in 2002, he was named league MVP. He was signed by the Miami Dolphins during the 2006 offseason, but was released before the regular season started. On December 18, 2006 he signed with the San Francisco 49ers. On March 26, 2007 he signed with the Panthers. On June 20, 2008 he signed with the Atlanta Falcons, but released on August 30.

Personal Life

Cooper married Gwendoyn Crisp in 2006. The couple share five children: twins Maleigha and Mariah, twins Deke Jr. and Delaney, and daughter Lauryn. The couple resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

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