Washington Redskins Welcome Back 47, Chris Cooley

Tom NataliCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 4:  Chris Cooley #47 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedExField on October 4, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the Buccaneers 16-13. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

When Fred Davis went down with that injury on Sunday, the first thing that came to my mind was Chris Cooley. Then I watched the guy who essentially got Cooley cut in the first place, Niles Paul, continue to struggle on offense, as he was eventually replaced by Logan Paulsen, who continues to defy the odds as a professional.

At the end of the game, when it was announced that Fred Davis suffered a torn Achilles', it became clear: No. 47 was coming back.

When it comes down to it, losing Fred Davis is a huge loss. Without Pierre Garcon, Davis is the most talented pass-catcher on the roster.

At the same time, however, I can’t help but reveal my inner fandom. Chris Cooley is returning where he belongs, and you can’t ask for a better emergency situation.

The Redskins are bringing in a healthy veteran who knows the offense, coaching staff and locker room. He’s versatile and a leader. What took so long?

Can you imagine Cooley in a Raiders uniform? Where another fanbase will yell out “Coooooooley!” when he records a reception?

I’m sure other NFL teams throughout called Cooley’s agent seeking their interest, but Chris wasn’t budging. His loyalty to the organization meant too much to him. The DC area has become his home. He wasn’t going anywhere until he found an opportunity that he wanted.

To Cooley, it’s not about the money, even though his divorce has been publicized. It was about playing a sport that he loves for the one team he will play for.

How many professional athletes are like that nowadays? Over time, sports has transformed into a strictly business procedure, and Cooley was a victim of that back in August. For Chris to remain patient and level-headed like he did is remarkable.

In addition to that, after everything Chris Cooley has gone through with this organization, isn’t it about time that he gets to play with a quarterback of Robert Griffin’s caliber?

He’s caught passes from Mark Brunell, Patrick Ramsey, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman, and he’s put up amazing numbers with every single one of them. Imagine his production with RGIII.

I also have to point out that the Niles Paul experiment has failed thus far. Mike Shanahan clearly had high aspirations for the second-year converted receiver, but he has become a liability on offense.

The fact that Logan Paulsen has been outplaying him proves that you can only go so far with athleticism. Paul’s technique at playing tight end needs drastic improvement, which is expected, considering that he’s never played the position before.

This isn’t an indictment on Niles Paul, either, but there was no way the Redskins could continue the rest of the season with just Paul and Paulsen.

Do I expect Cooley to show up in Pittsburgh and give us one of his vintage performances? No, he’s going to need a couple weeks to get back in football shape, but he’s someone that the coaching staff can rely on for the duration of the season as long he’s healthy.

In conclusion, it was weird not seeing No. 47 on the field this season. It was weird to not hear him on the radio or television segments or his infectious personality setting a tone in the locker room.

I don’t think it was just the fans who missed Chris Cooley—the organization did, too.  So we’re glad to see you back, Chris. You’re always welcome in Redskins Nation.