Brandin Cooks wanted to make a few things clear during his introductory conference call with New England reporters, namely that he didn’t leave the New Orleans Saints on bad terms.
The wide receiver’s name was mentioned in various trade rumors before the Saints ultimately dealt him to the Patriots last Friday, but he said the rumors didn’t stem from any animosity between him and the Saints.
“First of all, once I found out about (the trade), I was thankful for the opportunity to be able to play in New Orleans and the opportunity they had given me,” Cooks said Wednesday. “There’s no bad blood. I love everything about the (Saints) organization and the people. Things just happen in life.”
Cooks also dispelled any notion he requested a trade out of New Orleans.
“No, I didn’t,” he said. “That was a long process, and I guess — if we could set this straight — I think a lot of that and what was going on got taken out of context and a little exaggerated. And throughout the process, I felt like I had to take the blows and keep my mouth shut, which is fine. It just happened to be a great opportunity for both sides to build what they want to build. And to be sent off to a good team, for me, I think is a win-win situation.”
The Saints received the Patriots’ 2017 first-round draft pick (No. 32) in the trade, and the Patriots landed Cooks, a 23-year-old wideout coming off consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He’ll join Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and potentially Danny Amendola in a New England receiving corps that already was very deep and highly talented.
“When I found out about it, I was ecstatic to be able to come play for an organization like New England and play for a guy like Coach (Bill) Belichick and Tom (Brady) and (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft and his family,” Cooks said. “So the whole process was a blessing. As soon as I found out, I couldn’t be more thankful throughout this time.”
The Patriots and Saints held joint training camp practices each of the last two summers, giving the New England brass an up-close look at Cooks. Belichick offered high praise for the young receiver on both occasions.
“It doesn’t get much better than him,” the Patriots coach said after one joint practice last August.
Asked about Belichick’s comments, Cooks said he’s simply focused on earning the trust of the coaching staff.
“I”ve never known about it,” Cooks said, “and at the end of the day, I’ve still got to earn his trust when I come there and play and continue to do what I’ve been doing.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images