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Checking In With Cooley: The Interview

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HogsHaven spends a few minutes with Chris Cooley to discuss his recent projects, issues with the Redskins, and hair metal.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

HogsHaven: Chris, it's great to talk to you. Everyone here at HogsHaven is really thrilled to be able to talk to you!

Chris Cooley: No, I appreciate it. You guys do a good job! I read your stuff almost every day.

HH: One of the things we posted recently was a video you had done with Courtyard by Marriott and we were just wondering how that came about.

CC: Yeah, it was really fun to do that. My buddy Nick Foles and I have the same agent and I watched Nick Foles' Courtyard video. You can watch all the Courtyard videos on YouTube at Courtyard's YouTube page. Matt Light has one as well. And they called me and said will you do it and I was like yeah, absolutely. So, I go to Courtyard and I told them I wanted to be like Clinton Portis when he was doing Southeast Jerome.  But give me a wig. People were going to recognize me right away. That's it. I was the check in guy at the front desk and person after person came up with new experiences from me.  I was taking calls from my mom. I would ask them to sing the Redskins fight song. I had people doing dances. I had them trying to spin the football like Santana Moss. If they did any of these things, I was going to give them a free suite.

The manager and everyone that worked at the Courtyard were all part of the video. It was great. It was hilarious. I picked up the phone and I had my girlfriend break up with me. So I had a lot of fun. You know, Courtyard is the official hotel of the NFL and they're not lame, they're awesome! The idea they had to do these things was great. The production value that goes into it is fantastic.

HH: When you took the call from your mother, I think that was my favorite part of the video. That cracked me up.

CC: Yeah, that was great and she (the customer) had no clue or anything. I actually picked the phone up and someone was on the other line so I pushed the hang up button right in front of her. Then I started going at it with my mom.

HH: Well you look like you've got some pretty good improv chops there, so is that natural or have you taken any classes or anything like that?

CC: I don't think I have good improv chops and I don't think I'm that funny. I had such a good time doing it which I think made it exciting. I know it's not great acting, whatsoever, but you can tell that I'm having a blast being part of it. Because of that, all the fans went along with it. I'm not going to give myself any credit. I'm not an actor.

HH: Well there's a few of us at HogsHaven who've taken improv classes and if you're ever interested we can form a Redskins-based improv troupe. Call it Chris Cooley and 3 other guys.

CC: That would be GREAT! I would do that. I'm going to keep in touch. That would be great.

HH: Absolutely! One of the questions a lot of people asked when they found out I was going to talk to you is they wanted to know if you've ever actually considered coaching?

CC: Yeah, I've considered it quite a bit and I really wanted to coach. It's just so involved and so much time spent that I decided that I like my life. I like a lot of things in my life and I have an art gallery, I donate to charity, and I still get to travel with the team. I want to see my family. I just had a daughter. I want to be around her. I don't want to be working 80 hours a week and it's hard because I love it and I know I could do a good job with it. But that's the only thing you could do a good job with when you're an NFL coach. I mean, you can have a family but there's nothing else. And that's not what I expect my life to be.

HH: I read your thoughts on what London Fletcher said the other day ( Editor's Note: If you haven't, you can read the article here). Do you think this is something that's going to run it's course really quickly or do you think it will linger on like things tend to do in this town?

CC: It's done. I don't think this is anything that lingers. I think it could have been a bigger deal. I think it would have been more impactful if he said it at the beginning of the season. You get your 24 hours and it goes away. London is smart. He has an ability to understand football and he knows how the game is played above and beyond almost anyone I've played with. His ability to break down the game for what it is and the concepts that are going into the game, the way plays are played in that game it's above and beyond what most analysts are because you really understand all of football. No one needs you to tell me who's a bad guy. From London Fletcher, I don't need that. I don't expect it and I don't want it and I don't need it. I don't want you to tell me about what the middle linebacker's drop is in a cover 6 look.

HH: There seems to be a lack of leadership with the Redskins lately. Is that something that comes from up high or is it something that is down into the squad levels? Is it something that can be fixed or is it inherent in the way the team is set up right now?

CC: I've thought a lot about this and I think that's a fantastic question. When you have an established coach, program, organization, and continuity I think players feel confident in the established leadership. When you bring in a new coach, everyone's competing for new jobs and new spots and it's hard to become that overall leader.  Of course you get some fleeting leadership but you don't necessarily get that developed guy who's developed in that system who says this is how we do things. We started to get that from Joe and Joe left after 4 years. My answer to your question is really, in times where you don't have continuity in the locker room and in the back office with the coaching staff, I don't think you can develop real leadership. The guys that show leadership through hard plays, they're working. To develop the leadership, to me, takes a real understanding of what direction your program's heading and what direction your offense and defense is going in and what the coaching staff also wants. You can't get that when you're switching coaches every 2 or 3 years. It's impossible.

HH: You majored in art at Utah State and you mentioned your gallery and I know you've been involved in the local art scene between your gallery and the film you did, "Ghosts Don't Exist", do you have any new projects coming up on the horizon?

CC: I don't have a lot of projects. I'm actually worrying more about 400 pots that go in the gallery and the TheCooleygallery.com will be online for Christmas. They'll be in this weekend.  That's kind of where I'm going. I just bought a new building for the gallery. I've been leasing a space and I finally bought a space. We're just going to continue to grow that. It's obviously not a major money-making venture but I love it, man. I get to meet cool people and it's a different way of life, a different type of people that's really great. And that's kind of what it's been about for me. I love really just creating anything. It doesn't matter if it's laying tile in the house or painting the house or actually making art, it's doing something. A lot of people say it sounds weird for a football player but I don't think it's that weird. Just the idea of creating something that's really exciting.

HH: You're also known for your affinity for heavy metal, so I'm always looking for new music. What are you listening to lately. You have any suggestions of something I should give a listen to?

CC: It's so funny that everyone says heavy metal because I literally had shorts made in 2004 that had every 80's hair metal band on them and they ended up looking really cool. I don't really like heavy metal. I do like 80's rock. I don't love heavy metal but I'll give you a band I've been listening to a lot. A band called The Gaslight Anthem. They recently played in DC but I missed it. I really like them. I think they're great.

HH: Chris, thank you so much for your time.

CC: Hey no problem!