Chris Cooley interviews Dan Snyder


(Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

Some people might not have liked Chris Cooley’s 10-minute interview with Redskins owner Dan Snyder Tuesday afternoon on ESPN 980. Cooley offered friendly ground for the owner, repeatedly thanking Snyder for opportunities and mostly asking safe questions.

Still, I would disagree. For better or worse, this was likely the most relaxed that Snyder has ever sounded in a radio interview, and eventually that led to some pretty interesting quotes, far better than the bland cliches the owner usually offers. It might not be Edward R. Murrow stuff, but I think it’s the best interview Snyder has done in at least the seven years I’ve had this blog.

Anyhow, here are some highlights. Listen to the interview here.

Beer and walking

Cooley said the first person he saw in the team’s facility on Tuesday was the owner.

“We were all chilling out, nothing to do,” Snyder said. “Bruce [Allen] has us on this workout thing where we walk about 12 miles a day. I’ve walked all over Richmond. I’ve seen every square inch of Richmond at this point, because Bruce has us walking. We actually only have driven about twice. We shake hands with everybody, and take pictures. We stop in and occasionally will do a small beer here and there at the end of it. It’s the end of the day — no injuries, just have a small beer.”

A Hooters competition

Cooley praised this year’s cheerleaders calendar, and then asked Snyder whether he could be on the selection committee for the Redskins cheerleaders.

“I actually don’t know who’s on the selection committee, and I’ve not seen the calendar,” Snyder said. “I’ll have to request a copy. But I’m sure they’d love to have you. And I think you’d be terrific on the photo shoots and the whole thing.”

Then Cooley asked if the Skins calendar topped the Hooters calendar.

“I should hope so,” the owner responded. “I should hope so. The founder of Hooters is a friend of Bruce Allen’s, so he’s constantly sending calendars to Bruce and saying our calendars are better, so Bruce sends our calendars down there. They’ve got a thing going about it, which one’s the best calendar.”

On RGIII

Cooley asked Snyder what it was like transitioning from a fan to an oft-criticized owner.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Snyder said. “It’s been a long time. I love where we are right now as a franchise, and I’m really, really excited about this season, but not just this season. I feel that we’ve got the direction going fantastic, and it’s gonna be for us a good ride. A real long ride. And obviously having the franchise quarterback, having Robert is a big deal and special for us. Took us a while to get, tried to get others to be it, and we finally got the guy.”

Later, Cooley asked about the team’s leadership under Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen.

“It’s been great,” Snyder said. “I mean, watching them work together, the mutual respect they have for each other and the talents they have has been really a lot of fun. And we made a big risk and it paid off last year. We got a lot of criticism for doing what we did, but a lot of praise now. And it’s fun to be right.”

Dancing at RGIII’s Wedding

Really, though.

“It was a fun wedding,” Snyder said. “A lot of dancing. A lot of dancing. He made me dance all night. We had a good time. Every time I’d sit down, he’d get everybody dancing. He’s just a lot of fun to be with.”

Watching Film

Cooley jokingly asked whether Snyder has picked up this year’s playbook.

“As you know, I’ve never really been in with the players watching film or any of that stuff,” Snyder said. “All those are all kind of cute stories, but reality is you support your guys. I supported Joe Gibbs the same way. And in fact, I think if Joe was younger, he probably would have stayed with me 10 or 15 years. And I think we did pretty well a little bit there.”

And Yet

And yet, Cooley also talked to Snyder about his own selection.

“You know the story of how we got you in the third round,” Snyder recalled. “I said, How about that guy, the guy from Utah, let’s get him, Joe, you love that guy. And we spent about 45 minutes trying to find a trade partner. We traded with the New Orleans Saints, I think. We gave a future 2 for you. Not a bad deal. And we’d do that many a time over. But it worked out unbelievable, and then you were quite the character for quite some time. Joe would come down and say, He’s not what we thought he was! We’ve got to watch him, we’ve got to make sure he’s okay! But you turned out to be special, and we enjoyed every moment with you.”

Cooley on the Radio

Cooley asked Snyder if he was nervous about letting the freewheeling tight end do a radio show.

“No, actually,” Snyder said. “I think whatever you choose to do, you’ll do a great job of it. and I wish you were still playing for us, because I miss you. We miss the Cool Man, all the things you would do that we won’t tell the public about, all the interesting things for the team.”

“They know most of it,” Cooley pointed out.

“Well, they know some of it,” Snyder said. “I don’t think they quite know all the details of everything. We should be really grateful. You should write a book at this point about some of the antics, because I think we all had a lot of fun together.”

They also talked about spending some time together in Tennessee this week.

“We can’t believe you’re gonna be down there with us, having fun,” Snyder said. “We’re gonna go get barbecue the night before, okay?”

Awaiting photos.

Business Matters

Cooley talked about signing a contract without an agent, and then asked Snyder for some strange business stories. The owner said it was a long list.

“Do you ever just want to choke someone?” Cooley asked.

“No. No. No,” Snyder said. “Not really. More like to us, we’re just trying to win football games. I’ll leave it at that.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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