There’s a quote that has always stuck with Cooper Kupp, one he first heard from his father, Craig, who learned it years before as a quarterback at Pacific Lutheran University. The original quote is attributed to Vince Lombardi. Over time, the coach’s words have been distilled down the way such adages often are, altered to fit motivational coffee mugs and company newsletters, but the message remains the same, and for most of Kupp’s life, he has held it close in everything he does. When all the odds seemed stacked against him, it was a lodestar, pushing him from Yakima, Washington to Los Angeles, from small-town high school football to the NFL. Late last week, in front of his locker, Kupp recited it casually, unprompted. “When you strive for perfection,” he said, “you’re bound to meet excellence along the way.” The message sounds lifted from a cliche, motivational poster. But, then again, so does Kupp himself. His profile was made for the back of a Wheaties box: Humble and mild-mannered, hard-working and faith-driven, a small-town underdog who went from zero college offers to breaking Division-1 records for receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, all the while willing himself forward through sheer work ethic and faith. It’s enough to make even Rudy feel inadequate. His path to this point tiptoes the lines of too-good-to-be-true. And yet, here he is, anyway: the anonymous receiver recruit turned indispensable Rams rookie, living proof of Lombardi’s message. “He’s the epitome of consistency in everything he’s done, right from the day he got here,” Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said. Kupp is the first to admit his rookie season has not been perfect. But certainly, it has been nothing short of excellent. Through 14 games, the third-round pick has lapped the field of first-year NFL receivers. With two games remaining, he’s already set a Rams rookie record for receptions (58). With 120 more yards, Kupp will break another rookie receiving record, set by Eddie Kennison in 1996.
Rams rookie Cooper Kupp proves he belongs as he strives for perfection
L.A. Daily News | Dec 23