(Note: The Washington Post recently moved office spaces. Today is my first day in the new space. I figured my first post should be about Chris Cooley.)
When Chris Cooley told me over the summer that he was contemplating an NFL comeback, we both knew it wasn’t a sure thing. Cooley also made it clear that in his absolute dream scenario, he would make a comeback right here in Washington.
“God, it would be cool to play for the Redskins. It would be awesome,” he said then. “That still would be the greatest thing in the world: to win with the Redskins.”
Neither of us imagined then that the Redskins would lose their starting tight end. And their backup tight end. And their summer replacement tight end. Three tight ends, gone with season-ending injuries, and yes, that latest injury — to Derek Carrier — again made Redskins fans ask if now it was finally Cooley Time.
“Do you think I would be sitting here talking to you if they’d given me a shot to be back in the mix,” Cooley joked during his ESPN 980 show Monday afternoon.
So that’s a no. Does he want to? That’s a different story. His ESPN 980 co-host Steve Czaban agitated for Cooley to get a chance, and the former tight end said he’s “in good enough shape right now to go play,” that he “worked out all offseason to do this.” He said he gets along with everyone in the locker room, and his past critiques would not be an issue. He also had no concerns about his health holding up after several years away from the game.
“You’re at three [remaining] games. I guarantee I can make it through three weeks,” he said. “I promise I can make it through three weeks. I wouldn’t have went and worked out for the Giants if I didn’t think I could make it through a season. I wouldn’t have put them on the hook for something like that if I didn’t know I could make it through a whole season. I know I can make it through a whole season.”
“Do I want to do it? Yes. Do I know I can do it? Yes,” Cooley said. “I have no doubt. I watch tight end play week in and week out; there’s no doubt that I can do what they need me to do.”
Czaban, in fact, seemed to suggest that the franchise was making a mistake by not at least giving Cooley a tryout. But the former tight end seemed less willing to publicly lobby for a chance than he was earlier this season.
“You guys can do this all you want,” Cooley said to Czaban and Al Galdi. “You can do this for as long as you want, as much as you want. Here’s the only thing I’ll say: you can’t go forward as-is. I don’t care if it’s me. If it’s someone else that can play, great. I love [tackle/tight end] Tom Compton. I think he’s a great dude. I don’t think he’s a threat as a tight end. Maybe if he spends the offseason losing 30 pounds and teaching himself to run some routes, maybe.
“I don’t think [Je’Ron] Hamm is a viable option for you at tight end if you want to be better in the run game. And by the way, Jay [Gruden’s] proved a point by not playing Hamm over the last three weeks when he could have played Hamm if he needed a guy to help out. It’s a bad situation for them to be in, and clearly they don’t have a guy.”
Tune in next week, when 14 more tight ends get injured and the Redskins still don’t call Cooley.