The Ultimate Washington Redskin: Chris Cooley

Tom NataliCorrespondent IAugust 28, 2012

SEATTLE - JANUARY 05:  Tight end Chris Cooley #47 of the Washington Redskins makes a one-handed catch in front of Brian Russell #25 of the Seattle Seahawks in the third quarter during the NFC Wild Card game at Qwest Field on January 5, 2008 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

What are the chances that two weeks in a row I have to write a sentimental and heartfelt article talking about a player that I thought the world of?

Chris Cooley was released from the Washington Redskins today, he was the longest tenured Redskin on the team.

Why do I feel like this is a really bad breakup? Why am I strangely grieving right now? Cooley isn’t dead, he’s going to be playing in the NFL this year.

Why am I so sad? (I will admit it, got a little misty eyed watching his impromptu press conference) Chris Cooley was everything that we loved about being a fan.

He was a hard-nosed, blue collar type athlete, that fought his way from collegiate irrelevance to becoming the best tight end in Redskins history. That’s right, he was better than Jerry Smith, Clint Didier, Dock Walker, etc.

He was “Captain Chaos” as his nickname spread throughout FedEx Field. A simple two yard completion would create an uproar of “Cooooooooooleyyyyyyyyy.” Chris Cooley was loved and probably cherished more than any other Redskin in this generation.

He was the party animal that married the gorgeous cheerleader. Cooley had a reputation for indulging himself for the many advantages that this city had to offer. He made himself available to the media at all times and also created some hilarious YouTube videos as well.

Despite being a “prankster” of some sorts, when it came down to football we knew what Chris was going to do. He was a company man. If Jim freaking Zorn was the coach, then fine, how can we make it work? If Fred Davis supplanted him as the starter—fine, all he wanted to do was win in Washington.

The Burgundy and Gold meant more than just a uniform to him. It is where he met his wife, it’s where he bought his Northern Virginian mansion, it’s where he would make his weekly radio appearances on more than one station, it’s where Redskins fans not only loved the player, but they loved the person.

Football is a cruel sport and Chris Cooley is certainly a victim of that. The Redskins are forming a youthful team and Cooley was not a part of the equation according to Mike Shanahan. From a football standpoint, it makes sense—somewhat.

Fred Davis is clearly more talented than him, I won’t argue that. He’s also been injured two out of the past three seasons. The Redskins believe Niles Paul can be a great talent in this league and let’s face it; they aren’t going to have one of their highest paid players as a second string.

I also don’t think people are realizing how much the salary cap infractions affected this team. If they weren’t “punished” then Cooley still has a job in Washington.

As of now, my memory is of No. 47 trucking a Dallas Cowboy defender near the sideline in route to his third touchdown of the game. Or that beautiful catch in the corner of the endzone  at the end of the half in Philadelphia on Monday Night Football. Or challenging Tony Romo to a cage fight or that hilarious video of him and Colt Brennan.

Most of all, I will remember Chris Cooley both on and off the field. There will never be another player like him.

I want to thank him for making me lose my voice yelling out his name after a catch, I want to thank him for loving this team as much as I do, even though he has every reason to do the opposite. I want to thank Chris Cooley for being the Redskin that he will always be.

This is your home. This is where you belong and I know we’ll see you in some role in the future. You mean too much to this organization, fanbase and community for you to go away. Best of luck on your endeavors, I’ll be rooting for you.

Oh, and don’t sign with the Cowboys.