By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
ATLANTA (CBS) -- Brandin Cooks is just 25 years old. For years, he's been one of the most accomplished wide receivers in league history at his young age. He's averaged about 1,150 yards per season every year since 2015.
And yet, Cooks owns the unique distinction of being traded not once but twice prior to turning 25 years old.
And with that most recent trade being made by the Patriots to send him to the Rams, and with the Patriots being Cooks' next opponent, and with Cooks helping to beat the other team that traded him last weekend in New Orleans, one can safely assume that the Brandin Cooks Revenge Tour is in full swing.
Still, Cooks doesn't want to see it that way.
"No, not personal at all," Cooks said Monday night of the upcoming meeting with the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. "I think any time you get into that, you start to do things out of the ordinary. I know I'm going against a great team, and I'm just blessed in that aspect to still be playing football in February and let everything else take care of itself."
Cooks played in all 16 games for the Rams this season, despite being on the receiving end of a couple of scary-looking hits. Those came after Cooks had to leave last year's Super Bowl with a concussion, after he was on the receiving end of a hit by Malcolm Jenkins.
And it's that moment -- leaving the Super Bowl in the first half -- that Cooks really seeks to avenge.
"It's one of those things, ever since that moment, I've always thought about, just because … more so for the fact that personally I disappointed my team by not being able to be out there and finish the game. But it also gave me that hunger, that motivation, to have a better offseason, to work harder no matter what the circumstances are. And I understand that one day, I'll be back on this stage. And I'm blessed to be here just the following year," Cooks said. "God doesn't make mistakes, and it's not by accident that I'm back here."
By all accounts, Cooks didn't leave New England on bad terms. Bill Belichick merely worked to maximize the value of Cooks, by getting a first-round pick in return for him a year after spending a first-round pick to get him. Cooks has since signed a massive contract with the Rams, and he's playing next weekend for a chance to win the Super Bowl.
And while he doesn't want to make this week about revenge -- at point he offered a response of "I think we just talked about that, next question please" when asked about the trade -- he did admit that the trade out of Foxboro last offseason does provide him some added motivation.
"Just fuel to the fire," Cooks said. "It's one of those things where at the end of the day, I know I can play this game at a high level, whether someone thinks it or not. And for them to trade me, you know at the end of the day it's a part of the game, but as well, it gives me that motivation to keep going too."
So, does Cooks admit that he'll want to stick it to his former team?
"Naw, I'm just focused on doing my job," he said with a chuckle.
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