This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jared Cook spoke eloquently about why he and four St. Louis Rams teammates did the "Hands Up" gesture, but comments about his coach get him in trouble last week.
It's "not just a Ferguson thing," the Rams tight end said earlier this month. "It's a worldwide thing. You don't need to burn down your community, you don't need to harm others to get your message across."
However, he was too outspoken after the Rams' 12-6 loss to Arizona last week, landing in a meeting with coach Jeff Fisher after saying the team had been "outcoached" as well as "outplayed" in what he called "a bad display."
He wants people to know that was just frustration pouring out.
"That was my fault for slipping up, it shouldn't have been said," Cook said Tuesday. "But I think everybody kind of knew what I was doing.
"It wasn't the best choice of words, I must admit. But I'm only human, right?"
The Rams (6-8) were eliminated from playoff contention and must win at home this week against the Giants and then at Seattle to finish .500 for the first time since 2006.
They've won seven games in each of Fisher's first two seasons.
"Nobody wants to be in the position we're in, nobody wants to have the record that we do," Cook said. "Our record is our record, it shouldn't have been said in the manner in which I said it."
Fisher said the day after the game that he understood Cook's intent and called it kind of a "one-fell-swoop, 'Hey, we just got beat,' comment. The coach added that player and coach had "discussed it and we're fine."
Cook isn't fine with the way this season has gone, personally or collectively. He's on track to lead the team in receptions for the second year, with 44 catches, a 12.6-yard average and three touchdowns.
Last year, his first since leaving Tennessee for a four-year free agent deal, he had career bests of 51 catches and five touchdowns to go with a 13.2-yard average.
"You would always like it to be better," Cook said. "I don't think there's any harm in saying I think we all wish the season would have gone a lot better."
Players had the weekend off, a mini-bye after the Thursday night game, and the mood was upbeat in a noisy locker room after a walkthrough indoors.
"You've got to finish strong," Cook said. "We've got to have our focus on, you've got to have your mind right. It's on us to make the best of the season that we can."
Guard Rodger Saffold wasn't in a good mood, either, after the Cardinals loss. He noted "emotions fly, especially after a loss like that."
"Yeah, I was getting kind of bitter," Saffold said. "I did not want to be there. Now, I'm good, I'm happy-go-lucky, goofy.
"We're still rolling."
The Rams announced punter Johnny Hekker, who is involved in the team's community outreach events and service days, will be their Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. The winner will be announced during the NFL awards show on Saturday, Jan. 31.
Hekker, who signed a six-year contract extension this month, is second in the NFC in net punting with a 41.8-yard average. Last year he set an NFL record with a 44.2-yard net and was named to his first Pro Bowl.
"Unbelievable honor just being nominated," Hekker said. "It's not just me doing these events. It's my teammates being available to help.
"It's the kind of thing where I feel like it's been put in my heart to give back and I know there are a lot of other guys in this locker room who feel the same way."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.