You wanted an interesting topic to debate today? You got it.
Chris Cooley, certainly ranked high among the favorites of many of us, has indicated he would be interested in another chance to play in the league. On his drive time radio show in the DC area, he was quoted as saying, "I'll just say that I want to," with regard to the prospect of him suiting back up.
If you recall, Cooley came off the field and went into the booth, starting a seemingly successful broadcast career here in the Washington metro area back in 2012. I will use the word 'beloved' with him, as many of us remember him as a player that straight up brought it on Sundays. He came into the league known for being a big hitter, and he did not disappoint as a Redskin, using his big body to deliver crushing blows to opponents first on special teams and then from his natural position of tight end.
I actually had the chance to speak to Chris on a number of occasions during his playing days, and as those playing days wore down, he seemed more and more...disappointed...in the work ethic and performance of some of the younger players coming into the league. Hearing him say these days that he feels certain he could make any team as their third tight end, I can't help but recall those conversations I had with him about all the little things young tight ends in this league (and on the Redskins roster) did to LOSE games. His injuries kept him from competing with these players athletically, but he was always confident that he could make up that difference with his experience and football IQ.
When he decided to walk away from the game in 2012, he did not officially retire. In fact, it is no secret that there were teams interested in at least trying him out prior to the 2013 season (John Keim reported that Jay Gruden wanted to bring him in for a look). Cooley felt strongly about not trampling on his Redskins legacy by putting on a different jersey, and the Redskins gave him a deal to keep him around on the radio and on gamedays.
It would seem that those worries have faded away, and that Cooley would accept an opportunity to try out for any team.
This leads to two questions:
How would you feel about Cooley back in the league, but not in a Redskins jersey?
Should the Redskins bring Cooley back?
Hmmm...first thing's first: I would love to see Cooley playing football again, and if some other team gives him that chance and he takes it, more power to him (as long as it isn't Dallas). I tend to think he could make a roster in this league. Even as the tight end position evolves, teams still require players with the kind of instincts and abilities that an older Cooley can give them. Besides, Cooley can catch and run, which puts him on the right side of that evolution, even if he isn't in the Jimmy Graham/Rob Gronkowski category.
As for the Redskins, last time I checked, we could use some help at the tight end position. Our top goal should be to get younger there, but the draft and free agency are behind us. Adding a guy like Cooley, even for a year, should add value to our roster. He would have to make the team first of course, and it looks like he would have to beat out a favorite of the coaches in Logan Paulsen. I am not saying that it would be a slam dunk, but if he was given a legitimate shot to compete this summer, I would think long and hard about putting my money on the #47 car.
Who knows if Chris would actually come out of the booth and put pads on, and who knows if it would even be a smart decision? What I do know is that if Cooley wants to try, we should be the ones giving him that chance.
Oh God...I just had a vision of my week eleven fantasy football team...in need of a spot start by a tight end...scanning the waiver wire...there's Cooley!!!!...starting in place of the injured Jordan Reed and Niles Paul...championship!...oh yeah...we need to make this happen.