Deke Cooper
No. 35     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1977-10-18) October 18, 1977 (age 42)
Place of birth: Swainsboro, Georgia
Career information
College: Notre Dame
Undrafted in 2000
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
Career highlights and awards
* 2x All-NFL Europe (2001-2002)
  • NFL Europe Defensive MVP (2002)
Stats at

Deke Cooper (born October 18, 1977) is a former American football safety. He was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2000. He played college football at Notre Dame.

Early yearsEdit

Cooper attended North High School in Evansville, Indiana where he reached the finals of the Indiana High School Athletic Association's State Championship Football Playoffs. Cooper was nominated for the 1995 Mr. Football Award. Cooper also played basketball and was a state meet qualifier in four events (300 Hurdles, Long Jump, High Jump, and 4x100 Relay) in Track and Field.

College careerEdit

At the University of Notre Dame, Cooper played in 45 games with 25 starts and totaled 203 tackles, six interceptions, four fumble recoveries, seven forced fumbles and five passes defensed, returning one fumble for a touchdown.

Cooper is perhaps best remembered for a touchdown-saving tackle late in the fourth quarter of a 31-26 win over Boston College in 1998. On fourth-and-goal from inside the one-yard line, Cooper burst through the line unblocked to stop Eagles' running back Mike Cloud. The play was referred to as the "$11 million-dollar tackle" as it kept Notre Dame's hopes for a berth in a Bowl Championship Series bowl alive. However, those hopes were dashed with a 10-0 loss to USC in the regular season finale.

In 2000, he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent, then went on to play for the Cleveland Browns, the Carolina Panthers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as in NFL Europe, where in 2002, he was named league MVP.[1] He was signed by the Miami Dolphins during the 2006 offseason, but was released before the regular season started. On December 18, 2006, he signed with the San Francisco 49ers. On March 26, 2007, he signed with the Panthers. On June 20, 2008, he signed with the Atlanta Falcons, but released on August 30.

Personal lifeEdit

Cooper married Gwendolyn Crisp in July 15, 2006 in Nassau Bahamas. The couple shares seven children: twins Maleigha and Mariah, daughter Zaria, twins Deke Jr. and Delaney, daughter Lauryn, and son Devin. The couple resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

They own 3 childcare centers in the metro Atlanta area. Future Leaders Christian Academy was created by Deke and Gwen Cooper because of their desire to ensure all children regardless of their economic situation had access to quality early childhood education.

Deke Cooper is also the founder of the Deke Cooper Youth Outreach a 501(C)3. Established to assist with breaking generational barriers in the black community.


External linksEdit

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