Nobody said they’d never forgive him. Nobody called for his trade or release. Nobody encouraged fans and media to make Riley Cooper pay dearly for making a racist remark that went viral Wednesday.

Several of the Eagles’ veteran leaders spoke to reporters just before leaving the NovaCare Complex to answer questions about Cooper who inspired a media firestorm when a video surfaced of the fourth-year wideout shouting a racial slur during a June confrontation at a Kenny Chesney concert (see story).

Cooper had already addressed the team during a meeting and apologized for his remark.

Some said they were hurt and shocked to hear what Cooper had said but none said he wouldn’t accept Cooper in the clubhouse.

“Riley came to us as a man and apologized for what he did” quarterback Michael Vick said. “As a team we understood because we all make mistakes in life and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean and maybe we don’t mean.

“But as a teammate I forgave him. We understand the magnitude of the situation. We understand a lot of people may be hurt and offended but I know Riley Cooper. I know him as a man. I’ve been with him for the last three years and I know what type of person he is. That’s what makes it easy and at the same time hard to understand. But easy to forgive him.”

Second-year defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said “everybody makes mistakes in life” and noted that Cooper “stood up like a man” during the evening meeting.

Third-year safety Kurt Coleman who is biracial said nobody’s perfect.

“Do I think the comment was insensitive? Yeah and he knows that” he said.

Longtime wideout Jason Avant said he was stunned to hear the slur because he’s spent so much time with Cooper and had never seen a racist side to his teammate.

“I feel bad for him because we have different guys from around the league that are on our team this year that [don’t] really know him” Avant said. “I’ve been around him for years. I know his personality and I know that we’ve gone places done certain things and it’s never been an issue. I just know him. He’s not a racist.

“And even like with Jeremy Maclin getting hurt the other day the first person there is Riley Cooper. The first person that’s holding his lunch is Riley Cooper in line. They’re like best buds and when you see a situation like that you know it hurts. But you understand that men are fallible. That’s just the bottom line. You just hope things like this [don’t] occur a second time.”

Vick and Avant each talked with reporters for several minutes each sharing their shock and despair over hearing a teammate use a racist word but each also empathizing with Cooper’s plight based on their own backgrounds.

Vick once one of the world’s most popular athletes is still one of the NFL’s most polarizing figures for his involvement in an illegal dog-fighting circuit that led to his imprisonment and temporary suspension from the NFL.