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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 10/03/2012

Catching up with Chris Cooley — off the roster, but still a Redskin


Chris Cooleyleads a tour of the Redskins Park facility during the team’s annual tribute to breast cancer survivors. (Ned Dishman)
For a guy no longer on the roster, Chris Cooley still spends a lot of time at Redskins Park.

“Chris is part of the family here,” said Tanya Snyder, who greeted the recently released tight end with a huge hug Tuesday.

“The Redskins,” he said, “are the biggest part of my life.”

This visit back to the old workplace was for the “All-Star Survivors Celebration,” the Redskins’ annual day-of-pampering tribute for local breast cancer patients. Cooley helped conceive of the idea after his mom was diagnosed with the disease (she’s cancer-free now). The women will also appear on FedEx field during Sunday’s game as part of the team’s breast cancer awareness effort.

“Watching these big linemen in all their pink shoes and pink towels — we’ve made a statement,” said Snyder, herself a survivor. “I’m proud of the league for being able to really make a difference.”

It’s been a tough year for Cooley — cut from the team, divorcing from his second wife, Christy — but it doesn’t show.


Cooley hands out gifts at the “Survivors Celebration” at Redskins Park. (Ned Dishman)
“I am great,” he told us. “I wake up every day happy. What happened wasn’t the plan, but life changes. I get up excited to do something new.”

Yes, he’d rather be playing. “I’m in great shape right now. . . I watch other tight ends around the league and know I’m better than a lot of other starting tight ends.” But though there have been some offers, he says, he’s not ready to pull up stakes. Virginia is his home. “I can be very patient,” he said. After eight seasons in the NFL, he can afford to be.

Meanwhile, he’s busy. There’s his new weekly football segment on NBC4, but he shrugs off speculation he’s headed for a broadcasting career.

“Honestly, what I really love is my art gallery,” said Cooley, a ceramics nut who opened his own boutique in Leesburg two years ago. “It’s so much fun.”

More time now to devote to that, and to various for-a-good-causes: On Saturday, the animal lover (two dogs, three cats at home) will sell his handmade dog bowls at the gallery to benefit a Loudoun County shelter.

Sooooo. . . dating anyone these days?

No comment. It was the only thing he would not discuss.

But, no, seems like he’s not one of those depressed ex-jocks drinking beer on the couch and feeling sorry for himself. “I’m still drinking beer,” he said with a laugh. “But I’m not depressed.”

Read earlier: Chris Cooley and wife Christy divorcing after four years, 9/12/12



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By  |  05:00 AM ET, 10/03/2012

 
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