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Off Leash: A Whole New Ball Game

NFL player Jarrod Cooper trades Broncos and Jaguars for pooches and kitties

NFL player Jarrod Cooper trades Broncos and Jaguars for pooches and kitties

Oakland Raider Jarrod Cooper huddles up with his pal at Oakland Animal Services.
ADAM PARASCANDOLA/OAS
When Oakland Raider Jarrod Cooper couldn’t just “walk it off” last November, he decided to walk it around the block instead … on a leash. A knee injury put Cooper out of commission late in the NFL season, but allowed him to invest more of his time in volunteering at Oakland Animal Services (OAS).

“When he first started, we had no idea who he was,” confesses OAS director Adam Parascandola, who met Cooper last August when the football player first walked through the shelter doors. At the time, Cooper had been suspended from the NFL for testing positive for steroids, so he turned to his childhood passion for helping animals as a distraction from his volatile football career.

His rippling muscles and fancy car piqued staff curiosity, says Parascandola; but it wasn’t until Cooper began showing up for four hours a day that the volunteer coordinator asked him what exactly he did for living.

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