“He should have been treated better than this,” LaVar Arrington said on 106.7 The Fan. “If you were gonna get rid of Chris Cooley, you should have gave him an offseason to try to find a gig.”
ESPN 980’s Kevin Sheehan later tore into such arguments, calling them “ridiculous if not moronic.” (And more on that later!)
So WRC’s Dan Hellie — in the video piece Sarah linked to earlier — brought the debate to Cooley.
“The team has taken a lot of heat, because people have been saying on sports radio and in the blogs and in the newspaper, hey, if they were gonna do this to Cooley, they owed it to him to do it earlier,” Hellie said. “A, do you feel like they treated you fairly? And B, you weren’t exactly surprised by this, correct?”
“Yeah, I can’t say that I’m surprised, because you understand the business,” the tight end said. “And you can look at the logistics of our roster and our salary cap and say, what’s likely? I hoped otherwise. Obviously, I didn’t want this to happen.
“I think the idea of being released earlier was a thought of mine,” he admitted. “I had mentioned to some people that that would be good for me. It wouldn’t have. Not that they made the decision [earlier] — nothing about their decision. Just spending the time in training camp, trying to prove that I was healthy, practicing every day — I never missed a day, I never missed anything — I proved to myself that I’m healthy.
“And as we got to this week, I have no doubt that I can play an entire season. And I figured that would be the case, but until you prove it, you’re not sure. And as training camp went on and we got into the last couple weeks of practice, I started to watch some of that film and think, this is the guy that I know I am. It wasn’t always that, through our OTAs and through our offseason. But towards the end of training camp, I thought, I’m starting to be the player that I know I am.”
Now, you can argue that Cooley is just trying not to burn any bridges, and didn’t exactly answer the question of whether he was treated fairly by the team. Still, if he said anything notable, it’s this: things would not have been better for me if the team released me earlier. If that’s what Cooley believes, I’m not gonna tell him he’s wrong.
I also think Cooley’s comments about playing elsewhere are worth putting into type.
“I‘ve thought a lot about playing for anyone else,” he said. “It’s not something that I’ve ever had to consider. It’s something that in the next couple months, I’m sure I’ll have to decide if I’m willing to do, if I want to be a part of another organization. But it’ll be a very tough decision. To me, it’s so fresh. I said earlier, this team is very close to me. So many people involved in our organization played such a tremendous part in my life, that my first thought [isn’t] oh, who could I play for now, where can I go. I’m a Redskin.”