I sat in with Chris Cooley and Steve Czaban (and Al Galdi!) during the first day of their new radio show Thursday afternoon. I’ll write a bit more on this later, but for my money, the best segment of the day came in the first hour, when Czaban asked Cooley for his thoughts on NFL training camp and preseason games. The discussion went from Cooley’s dislike of the preseason, to his desire to play 18 regular season games and only two practice games, to Adam Archuleta’s unhappiness in Washington.
In between, though, came this.
“Four days in, there’s only three people left on the bubble, four people left on the bubble,” Cooley said. “My personnel skills were so high, I could probably pick those three guys.”
“Did you know you were on the bubble your last year?” Czaban asked.
“I did know I was on the bubble my last year,” Cooley said. “I had a $3.8 million contract, that they did not ask me to restructure. So I wouldn’t even really have considered it the bubble. When I wasn’t asked to restructure – wait, can somebody please call me in and ask me to take a little bit less money? Because I’ll do it. I’ll take less money.
“No, I got called into Mike’s office at the end of training camp,” Cooley continued. “And it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I spent an hour in his office – maybe not an hour. Forty-five minutes? When I walked out, I wasn’t sure I was cut. I spent 45 minutes with Mike telling me, ‘You know, I’ve been around a lot of veterans, sometimes it can be a little bit embarrassing for them to be on special teams or on the sidelines for games, I want to treat you right, I don’t want your career to be considered something less than it was.’
“I sat there and said oh I don’t care, I just want to be on the team. So I walked out of Mike’s office and thought, What just happened? So I turned around and walked into Bruce’s office, and Bruce Allen tosses me a beer and says you’re cut, man. It’s like, ‘We’re friends, and you’re done, how do you want to handle your release?’ ”
Later, Galdi asked Cooley if Shanahan actually never told him that he had been released.
“He came back into Bruce’s office later that day and talked about the details of the release, after I knew what was going on,” the ex-tight end said. “It was really strange. I’m not a dummy, so I pretty much knew what was going on. Like I said, here’s the only way that meeting went that I wasn’t cut: Hey Chris, can you take minimum salary and play special teams? And I would have said yes.”
As for his thoughts on training camp, well, he isn’t a huge fan.
“Seven minutes,” he said, when asked how long camp should last. “Just to go into the season, just start having a week, like a regular season week. … Preseason’s a little bit of a joke.”