One of the fans’ most beloved Redskins, Cooley was drafted 81st overall in 2004. Beginning with his second season in the NFL, Cooley started 91 of the 92 games he played in. He recorded 428 receptions for 4,703 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Cooley didn’t practice Monday, watching instead with his jersey on and helmet in hand as he stood with owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen. Coach Mike Shanahan said Cooley missed practice because “he wasn’t feeling very good.”
Cooley didn’t practice Tuesday either, but came out to the podium shortly after practice ended and addressed the media.
“OK, this will be brief. I’m not going to do questions, so I’d appreciate it if we could do that.
“The Washington Redskins are releasing me today. So, today, for the time being, this will be my last day as a Redskin. It’s been awesome. I’ve been very, very fortunate to play for a franchise that has embraced me, and a fan base that has embraced me the way that they have. This organization has changed my life in every way for the better, and I appreciate it. I’ve loved every minute of playing here. It’s been a good ride. It’s been a pleasure.
“I guess, for me, I’ll take some time and decide what I want to do, moving forward. I have every belief that I can play football. I have every belief that I can be, not only a productive player, but a starter in this league. I’m very confident in my abilities to play the game. It would be a tough decision for me to put on another jersey. It’s something that I really, I really never had to imagine, so, for now, I’ll take some time, and will make sure what I do in the future is exactly what I want to do.
“Again, it’s been a pleasure to be a part of this team. I’m so excited for the group of guys and coaches that are here this year. I think there’s a lot in store for the Redskins. I think the future is awesome.
“I can’t tell you how much I think of the staff and the players on this team. I’m thrilled for what they can accomplish, and I wish everyone here the best.
“There’s really no hard feelings for me. I’ve had good talks with Bruce Allen. He’s been great. I talked to all the coaches, and it’s OK that – it’s OK with me that they’re moving in the direction that they’re moving. Since Bruce and Mike have been here, I’ve trusted everything they’ve done, and everything that they want to do. And even though I’m not a part of that today, I still believe in what they’re doing.
“I want to thank all you guys. Our media’s been so good to me. So, I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. And, I guess, finally, I want to say thank you to our fans. It’s been great. Thank you.”