ASHBURN – While the writing may have been on the wall, Redskins fans watched reluctantly as their fan-favorite tight end, Chris Cooley, spoke his final words as a Washington Redskin Tuesday afternoon, as Mike Shanahan made the decision to release the two-time Pro Bowler in favor of Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul at the position. Shanahan chose to let Cooley make the announcement of his release to the public himself, before it could leak to an outside news source.
“This will be my last day as a Redskin,” Cooley told Reporters at the Redskins facility in Ashburn Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m very fortunate to have played for a team and a fan base that have embraced me like they have. This team changed my life.”
“I have every belief that I can still play football at a high level. I will take some time… Not sure I could wear another jersey.”
Redskin beat reporter Grant Paulsen Tweeted a portion of Shanahan’s comments, following Cooley’s announcement: “Anytime you lose a leader it’s tough.” Shanahan added that Cooley thinks of himself as a starting tight end in the NFL. Although the coach did not disagree with the idea, clearly that plan conflicted with the Redskins’ agenda for the 2012 season.
Cooley tallied 428 receptions for 4,703 yards and 33 touchdowns during his eight seasons with Washington. Last season he was limited to eight catches for 65 yards through just five games due to a season-ending knee injury. The 30-year-old will certainly find himself in the Redskins Ring of Fame one day and will be missed dearly by millions.
-Todd C. Smith
You can follow Todd Smith on Twitter @tcsmitty