Chris Cooley is not yet sure of his role for Steelers game Sunday

October 24, 2012

Chris Cooley (Susan Biddle/The Washington Post)

Tight end Chris Cooley had his old locker back at Redskins Park, thanks to rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins, and said he was excited to return to work for his first day of practice since he was re-signed Monday by the Washington Redskins.

“It’s funny,” Cooley said in the locker room Wednesday. “You just fall into a normal day of work…. It’s great to be back. It’s exciting for me. I woke up like a little kid…. I’m here an hour and it’s a normal day of work, getting ready to play a huge game.”

Cooley said he didn’t yet know what his role would be in the Redskins’ game Sunday at Pittsburgh.

“I’m assuming I’ll play whatever they need me to play,” he said. “We’ll see how we go from there… And that could change as the game goes on, depending on what personnel [groups] we’re in and what we’re doing.”

The Redskins re-signed Cooley, their career leader in catches by a tight end, when they placed tight end Fred Davis on the season-ending injured reserve list Monday with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The team also has tight ends Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen. Cooley was released by the Redskins before the season.

“Well, I didn’t want to be done when I was done,” he said. “It wasn’t my choice. So the time [away from football] was definitely not bad time. It was time for me to do whatever I wanted and it was a good break. But at the same time, this is the way I would have hoped anything could have played out for my career. So I’m thrilled to be here.”

Cooley said he’s in good shape and believes he’ll make a smooth transition back to playing football.

“I’ve always loved the game,” Cooley said. “I think it was nice to sit back and look around and watch football games and watch the league. I looked at it and thought, ‘I can definitely do this. I know I’m as good as a lot of these players.’ And so it’s a good opportunity for me to prove that.”

Cooley joked that half his teammates probably thought he was at Redskins Park for broadcasting work Wednesday. Cousins moved to a different locker to accommodate Cooley’s return.

“Kirk Cousins is the nicest guy in the world and he said, ‘I want to give you your locker back,’ and he moved his stuff,” Cooley said. “I didn’t really tell him that he had to. It’s a good joke to say that he had to.”

The Redskins reach the halfway point of their season Sunday, when they will try to beat the Steelers to return their record to .500.

“I woke up Monday morning and thought, ‘I’m honestly going to be playing football in Pittsburgh on Sunday, six days from now.’ That’s kind of mind-blowing to me,” Cooley said. “It’ll be a great atmosphere and I’m looking forward to any chance I get to play.”

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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Lenny Bernstein · October 24, 2012

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