So this is weird, but last summer, Redskins first-round draft pick Jonathan Allen helped Chris Cooley move. Because pretty much every big Redskins news story comes back to Chris Cooley in the end.
Cooley mentioned this on his ESPN 980 morning show after the defensive lineman fell into Washington’s lap last week, and I wasn’t totally sure if he was being serious, so I double-checked. The answer is yes. Cooley was moving houses last summer (the new house was just a stone’s throw from the old house), when his friend Nick Turner — a former ESPN 980 staffer and also an assistant with the Stone Bridge football team — stopped by to say hey.
Allen, of course, played at Stone Bridge, and he was with Turner on that day. Seeing what Cooley was doing, they offered to help. So there was a future Redskins rookie, carrying around Chris Cooley’s couches. They loaded a truck and a trailer, drove the short distance to the new house, and unloaded the furniture.
Cooley had known Allen before this day — many members of the Redskins organization do — but he was still taken aback by the kid’s humility and helpfulness, the utter lack of airs, and his eagerness to help with a bit of unglamorous manual labor.
“You’re getting a good dude,” Cooley said on the air. “He’s going to be that type of guy. He helped me move, came to my house, he helped me move couches. He didn’t want anything. He didn’t need anything. He just came and he helped me move.
“He was a high-level college player at the time,” Cooley went on. “It was after his junior year. He could have came out in the draft, [but] he went back to Alabama. That’s incredible. People don’t do that. He went back to Alabama because he loved playing for Alabama and he loved playing for Nick Saban. A guy that just wanted to go win a championship with Nick Saban. You think football’s not important to him?”
Cooley said he had heard that Allen liked playing for Saban because the coach sometimes acts like a dictator, and so he asked the Alabama star about that.
“I know that I’m doing what I need to do, but I like that the coach makes sure everyone else does it,” Allen responded, according to Cooley. “I’ll do it, but if I have a dictator coach, then I know everyone does.”
“He’s a tireless, relentless worker, who will engulf himself — and already has — in the game of football, because he loves the game of football,” Cooley went on. “That is all I want to know. I love that he’s a good character guy, I love that he’s going to be good in the media when he does interviews, that we’re not going to have any problems. But I just want a guy that comes and works hard and likes it. I really do.”
Cooley also said on the air that Allen has long reminded him of Lorenzo Alexander, the former Redskins fan favorite, who still lives in Northern Virginia and has remained close with Cooley.
“In the NFL, everyone wants to [compare] everyone to other players,” Cooley said. “Well, I know Jonathan Allen, and in my [comparison] as a guy, he’s Lorenzo Alexander. He reminds me so much of Zo and what he brought — the attitude and the work ethic and just the all-around embrace of the community. I love that. You get Jonathan Allen in and you worry about nothing. He’s a pro from day one.”
And also he will move your couches.