ESPN NFL announcer Joe Buck spoke with Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski ahead of Monday Night Football and heard firsthand that Cleveland expects Amari Cooper to play in the Week Two bout, contrasting with what ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported earlier in the day.
The two ESPNers both appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Monday and offered differing perspectives. Schefter tweeted Sunday that Cooper was “considered unlikely to play vs. the Steelers,” and then added to McAfee Monday “I won’t be surprised if Amari Cooper doesn’t play.” But Buck, appearing on McAfee’s show after Schefter, had a different perspective.
“I saw (Schefter’s) tweet, I’m just telling you what Stefanski told us,” Buck said. “I don’t know. I have no idea. Maybe Stefanski didn’t read Schefty’s tweet.”
"Maybe Stefanski didn't read Schefty's tweet"
Joe Buck reports the Cleveland coaching staff expects Amari Cooper despite Adam Schefter reporting otherwise… ? pic.twitter.com/XZoytzb8ky
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 18, 2023
Cooper is listed as questionable on Cleveland’s injury report with a groin injury.
The MNF crew gets to speak with the head coaches and coordinators for both teams as part of their prep for the broadcast. It’s normal for a coach to speak more openly in those sessions as opposed to public press conferences. Cooper may well be a toss-up to play, but Stefanski likely told the MNF crew his personal expectation instead of the team’s stance.
Buck and Schefter have been friendly since the former joined ESPN. Buck was just on Schefter’s podcast. It would be a leap to think Buck is doing anything but having fun here.
However it is relatively rare for two broadcasters from the same outlet to offer opposing viewpoints on such a key news item. And of course McAfee and his crew are going to drum that up.
Let’s just hope Schefter has the most current Cooper update by the time he appears on Monday Night Countdown to avoid any further awkwardness when Buck takes the baton to call the game.