Out At Redskins Park: Chris Cooley Released

As the Washington Redskins' coaching staff continue to make roster cuts in order to make the mandatory 53 man roster by month's end, the team cut long-time veteran Chris Cooley (#47) earlier today.

The TE suffered a knee injury in 2010 that the fan-favorite never fully recovered from, despite undergoing several medical procedures.

Cooley made an impromptu announcement today at Redskins Park in front of the media where he reflected on the decision made by the team he believed he would continue to be a part of.

Cooley was drafted by the Redskins in 2004 as a third-round pick.  He remained in Washington throughout his eight year career as a professional football player in the NFL but the last few years saw Cooley missing wide open catches in the end zone, making less yards per carry, and less likely to suit up for preseason practices. 

As early as Monday morning Cooley was, again, unable to practice due to what head coach Mike Shanahan referred to as an 'illness'.

That may have been the final nail in the coffin for a coach who has tried over the last several years to weed out players with lackluster performances.

TE Fred Davis replaced Cooley during his injury periods, and will become the Skins' number one go-to tight end this season.

On the release of Cooley, Davis said, “It makes you understand what the NFL is. Chris played a hard eight-or-nine years in the league. He dedicated his whole life to the Redskins for those eight or nine years. It’s just one of those things that happens. Any time you are out there you should appreciate the game and play it as hard as you can because you never know when you will get another opportunity to play the game.”

Davis returns to action after sitting out several games last season for appreciating violating the team's substance use rules.

Chris Cooley, in 2011, during Redskins training camp. Photo/CD Brown.
Cooley maintains that he is still a TE worthy of a starting position in the NFL. This season, if he so chooses, Cooley will have to 'start' with another team, other than his beloved Washington Redskins, according to head coach Mike Shanahan.

“If he wanted to be a starter I [told Cooley] I would give him the option to seek that opportunity out.

And that’s what we’re doing at this time, giving him a chance to see if there is a chance to be a starter on another team in the National Football League.”

Sidebar: A similar opportunity was afforded former Redskin quarterback Jason Campbell, who also believed he was a starting player in the NFL.

Cooley, like most NFL players who believe their status with their current team would never be comprised, upon receiving his own wake up call on Monday said, "It would be a tough decision to put on another jersey. It’s something that I’ve really never had to imagine. So, for now, I’ll take some time and make sure what I do in the future is exactly what I want to do.”

Cooley, a proponent for breast cancer awareness, held an event each year at Redskins Park along with his wife Christy and several other teammates and their spouses, to raise money for breast cancer research after his own mother was diagnosed several years ago with the disease.

He also dabbled in the art of pottery making in his spare time (when he wasn't exposing his member to the universe).

Now, the longest tenured player on the Redskins roster who posted 428 receptions for 4,703 yards and 33 receiving touchdowns will use his spare time to spin out a new career, and a new direction fitting for a player who takes the game of football, and his art, to heart.

The Redskins, currently 2-1 in preseason action, conclude the preseason tomorrow at FedExField with a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 7pm. 

On going into the game without Cooley, Shanahan said, “It’s a risky move. We could lose two tight ends this week. It’s always risky when you don’t have to make a move and you make it anyhow. It’s always risky going into the last preseason game. We did what we thought was right for him and the organization and we wish him well.”

Also Taking Place At Redskins Park: Gano Gone!

Redskins release kicker Graham Gano. Photo/CD Brown.
The Redskins released kicker Graham Gano.  Gano (6-2, 196) entering his third official NFL season, connecting on 59-of-80 field goals with the Redskins, was replaced by Baltimore Raven's free agent kicker Billy Cundiff.

In 2010, as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Cundiff earned his first Pro Bowl appearance after connecting on 26-of-29 field goals and tying a then-NFL record of 40 touchbacks (kickoffs were at the 30-yard-line from 1994-2010). He was also named to the 2010 Associated Press All-Pro team,Pro Football Weekly All-NFL team, PFW/PFWA All-NFL first team and Pro Football Weekly Golden Toe award recipient.