Chris Cooley held a press conference after Tuesday’s practice announcing, “The Washington Redskins are releasing me today. This will be my last day as a Redskin.”
The release comes as no surprise to many – but the timing is a tad shocking. Most were preparing to hear this news after the pre-season finale and before the 9pm est deadline for teams to trim their roster size down to 53 players on Friday.
Cooley was a leader, fan favorite, and one of the DMV’s (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) beloved sports figures. Cooley was selected in the 3rd round of ’04 draft and is the first tight end in franchise history to receive consecutive pro bowl honors (2007-08). Cooley owns 4 of the top 5 receiving seasons by a tight end in club history (83 receptions in 2008, 77 in 2010, 71 in 2005, and 66 in 2007). Cooley ranks 2nd in Redskins’ history in receiving yards by a tight end (4,703) and 9th in touchdowns (33). He’s ranked 19th in NFL history in receptions (428).
It is indeed a sad day in Washington – but one that was highly anticipated. With the emergence of Fred Davis and the expectations of Niles Paul who’s making the switch from wide receiver to tight end, there was clearly not enough room for Cooley.
“We all know what Chris means to this organization,” Shanahan said Tuesday. “He’s a guy that we’ve leaned on a lot since I’ve been here.” Shanahan went on to say that Cooley wanted an opportunity to start in the NFL and Shanahan wanted to give him an chance to catch on elsewhere. Shanahan wanted to make it clear that on-field production and salary had nothing to do with the release – he just wanted to give Cooley an opportunity to play.
“Im very fortunate to have played for a team and a fan base that have embraced me like they have,” Cooley said after announcing his release. ”This team changed my life.”
Cooley has previously said that he could never play for another organization and mirrored those comments tuesday, ”I have every belief that I can still play football at a high level. I’ll take some time…not sure I could wear another jersey.”
Cooley ended by thanking the fans and saying that he has no hard feelings towards Bruce Allen and the Redskins’ staff. He believes the team has a bright future.
Cooley will always be a Redskins, and though it’ll be hard to see him in another jersey – if granted that opportunity, I’m sure he’ll be back with the Redskins in some capacity. Mike Shanahan said it himself, ”He’s (Cooley) earned that right.”