FOXBORO, Mass. — Impressed by what Brandin Cooks has been able to accomplish so far in his young NFL career? Thank his mother. He certainly does.
Asked Friday about his relentless work ethic, which has been evident throughout his first summer as a New England Patriot, Cooks gave all credit to the woman who raised him.
“I would have to say it came from my mom,” the 23-year-old said after Day 2 of Patriots training camp. “Raising three boys on her own, working early mornings, multiple jobs. She was able to do that — she didn’t sign up for that. I signed up for football. So if she can do it, I can do it, too.”
Cooks was 6 years old when his father, Worth, died of a heart attack. From then on, his mother, Andrea, took it upon herself to raise Brandin and his brothers while working a warehouse job and running after-school programs.
“She dealt with a lot of bad kids,” Cooks said with a laugh.
(The Oregonian published an excellent feature on Cooks and his family during the wideout’s final season at Oregon State.)
So, when it became clear an NFL career was in his future, the first thing Cooks did was treat his mother.
Before he even signed his first pro contract, he gifted Andrea a Mercedes SUV with the $100,000 he earned for running the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine. Then, after his rookie season with the New Orleans Saints, he bought her a house and took her on a shopping spree, writing in an Instagram post, “Mamma deserves New Everything!”
“It’s just one of those things that’s indescribable for me to be able to keep that promise,” Cooks said during a 2015 appearance on “The Jim Rome Show.” “It’s special just to see the smile on her face, the happiness in her eyes, how stress-free and more confident she is.
“She feels more comfortable. That’s all I wanted to do. That makes me happy, and honestly, that makes me want to work even harder, because I’m just scratching the surface right now.”
Cooks’ hard work paid off — he racked up 2,311 yards and caught 17 touchdown passes over his second and third seasons in New Orleans — and it caught the eye of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who traded a first-round pick to the Saints in March to acquire the young speedster.
“He’s worked really hard,” Belichick said Friday morning. “He works hard, pays attention to all of the little details, tries to get things exactly the way we’re coaching them, the way we want to do them. It’s very good.”
Cooks’ willingness to put in the work is only one part of his appeal, however. He’s also supremely athletic, adding a dynamic new wrinkle to the Patriots’ already-formidable offense.
“He’s fast, man,” quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “He’s probably one of the fastest people I’ve ever seen in person.”