“Within a day — which is pretty normal for how spontaneous I am — we were like, ‘We’re going to have an art gallery,’” Cooley said.
This is the mature, fully developed Cooley, seven years removed from when Joe Gibbs plucked his hayseed butt out of Utah State, a head-banging, beer-and-a-shot kid, long ago referred to as “Captain Chaos.”
Married now, a year shy of 30, it’s a different world for 4-7 now — sort of.
“I drink a ton at every opening,” Cooley says. “We go to Safeway, grab some wine and beer, have live music, just have a good old time.”
And nothing personal toward fans or Commissioner Roger Goodell or players’ union chief DeMaurice Smith, but divvying up $9 billion or not, the details of the NFL lockout don’t concern him.
“I don’t care; it just doesn’t affect me right now,” he says. “When I’ll be pissed off is when the third paycheck doesn’t come. I’ll give up one and then have to deal with missing two maybe. But after that, I’ll be like, ‘This is costing me a [expletive]-load of money.’ Hey, if they want to tell us, ‘You have to miss half of training camp,’ great. I’ll be ready.”
Beyond the regular five-mile runs, he says he has stayed in good shape and will continue to work out away from the team. Yes, he would normally be running routes about now with his quarterback next season.
But, Cooley added, “If I can get the neighborhood kids out here and say, ‘Let me tell you about Cover 2,’ I might not miss anything.”
(Actually, he said about 30 Redskins, led by London Fletcher, have pledged to meet at a Northern Virginia high school for their own mini-camp of sorts next Wednesday and Thursday.)
Cooley was an art major in college. And much the same way teammates once supported former NFL lineman Rosey Grier’s foray into needlepoint, Cooley says he has been encouraged to continue to embrace his artistic side by teammates. If the lockout drags on, hey, he’s always got a second job.
Perusing the gallery late Wednesday afternoon, local realtor Annette Schafer sees the framed jersey on the wall and asks, “Are you Cooley?”
“Yes,” Chris nods.
“Where’s that jersey from, somewhere you played?”
“Great. Well, you have some real nice work here.”
Told it is a Redskins jersey, Schafer asks, “Oh, neat. Do you still play?”