The Washington Post

Chris Cooley certain he’ll be back with Redskins

Tight end Chris Cooley played in only five games this season and finished two of the past three seasons on injured reserve. Still, he has no questions about his future in Washington.

“I have no doubt that I’ll be here,” he said. “I’m excited to continue to be a part of this team and to continue playing the game that I love.”

One year ago Tuesday, Cooley underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee. The knee kept him sidelined through the preseason and still bothered him once the regular season was underway. In October, after consulting with orthopedist James Andrews, the Redskins decided to put Cooley on injured reserve so he could rest the joint.

On Monday, Cooley didn’t seem concerned about whether the knee might slow him when players report for offseason workouts this spring.

“I’m not worried at all about my playing my best football and I’m not worried about proving anything to anyone,” he said. “I know I’m a good player, and I’m going to do everything that I can to come out and play well for the team. And beyond that, there’s not a chip on my shoulder, there’s nothing that I’m trying to prove. I just want to be productive, I want to win games, and I want to have fun.”

After tying his career high with 849 receiving yards in 2010, Cooley had only 65 yards on eight catches this year. With Fred Davis playing a more prominent role in the offense than an injured Cooley, fan speculation has centered on the respective futures of both tight ends. Davis will be a free agent this offseason. Cooley has two years remaining on his contract and is set to earn $3.8 million in 2012.

Cooley will be 30 years old when the next season begins, and he says the decision to go on injured reserve should allow him to enter the offseason with a different mind-set than usual. Already, Cooley said, he was able to lift more in December than he has in past seasons.

“Since I haven’t played, there’s no burnout factor. I can spend January and February in the weight room, getting better and getting stronger — as opposed to previously in my career where I wanted to sit on my couch for a month,” he said.

Rick Maese is a sports features writer for The Washington Post.


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