Yesterday, the Redskins surprisingly announced that they had put Chris Cooley on the injured reserve list. I say surprising only because when the veteran tight end broke his finger last week – there was no talk of it being the end to his season.
The decision is likely due to Cooley’s multiple injuries and not just his latest, a mangled finger. Captain Chaos has been nursing a knee injury all year, and while he was playing through the injury, he never seemed to get all the way back to firing on all cylinders. Regardless of the reasons behind the decision to put Cooley on IR, he’s there, and speculation begins to mount as to whether or not he will ever see the field as a Washington Redskin again.
And oh how quickly the masses can forget when they need to – can’t they? I’ve heard anything in the last 24 hours from ‘washed up bum’ to ‘still the messiah’ but I am shocked at the number of people that seem to be defiant, and state that Cooley was never a very big deal here.
Are you completely serious?
Look I get that where Cooley sits in the annuls of great tight ends in league history may be open to interpretation, and susceptible to a modicum of homerism from some fans, but we are talking about a guy that owns the Washington Redskins record for most receptions ever by a tight end in the burgundy and gold cloth. Make whatever argument you want as to the relevance of that at a league level, but don’t come to me with some cock-and-bull ‘over-hyped’ rant. Any Redskin fan that knew anything about football was counting on Cooley for about 65-80 receptions per year, with 7-800 yards and a few touchdowns. That’s a productive year for a tight end, and it’s what we expected! (There’s some wisdom in there somewhere I think, but I think I misplaced it in my anger that this Cooley relevance thing is even a topic of conversation.)
Other than this year, and 2009, when he got hurt, Chris has been an iron man, or is that ironman? He played in every game from 2004-2009 when he got hurt, and played through a lot of knicks and bruises to do so. He’s always been a lunchpail kind of guy, and I was under the impression that that’s what was one of the most endearing things about him to Redskins Nation. The man has been productive every year of his career except this one and 2009, and has constantly been a top five NFL tight end. What other players do the Redskins have on their roster that can claim to have been top five at their position for say, 4 or 5 years at all, let alone consecutively at any point? Any? London Fletcher? Anybody else performed at that level, for that length of time?
Now it means jack?
Wait, wait, not only does it mean jack, but some people seem to be doing their best impression of a cat, and trying to bury a turd in the sandbox? It never was this way?
What a crock.
Take the following for what it’s worth… I get a lot of Redskins correspondence in… Twitter, Facebook, Message Boards, e-mails… I talk to a lot of Redskins fans, and have for a long time through the site. I can’t tell you how many times over the years, I have been asked the question, “Whose jersey should I buy?”
Now I’m a pragmatic guy, which is what all cheap people say, and so I always want to give an answer that if the person takes the advice, they aren’t hung out to dry the following season, or the season after that. (Ask the people that took advice and bought a McNabb jersey how awesome that feels.) So nowadays, there are actually a couple of Redskins jerseys I don’t mind suggesting to people, and feeling good about the fact that they will be Redskins for a few years, and be (league-wide) good players like Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.
That doesn’t change the fact that for YEARS, Cooley was the go-to on that question. I knew when I told somebody to get a Cooley jersey, that they would be supporting someone that played with heart, somebody that played at a high level, somebody that bled burgundy and gold, and somebody that would continue to do so.
I don’t care if as a fan, you think that Chris Cooley’s best days are behind him, and that he has seen his last days on the field as a Washington Redskin, don’t stand on a soapbox and talk down to me about how he was never that important, or was never that good. Denying such seems ignorant at best, disingenuous at worst.
I hope that the Redskins organization thinks more of, and remembers the importance of Chris Cooley, more than many of the fans seem to today, when they are assessing their options as to what to do in the future.
Chris Cooley should never play a down of NFL football for any other team than the Washington Redskins – I don’t think he would really want to, if given the option. Obviously his injuries will need to be followed and assessed, as will his role with the performance of Fred Davis becoming more than relevant. If Cooley’s role could be reduced, and his salary would seem inflated – can that situation be rectified?
Is it fair to even THINK of not giving Chris Cooley some options?
If you believe in karma, you don’t walk all over those that have given you everything they have. You honor and respect them by looking at all of the parameters and options, and making a mutually amicable solution.
Hopefully the Redskins do that with Chris Cooley – one of my favorite Redskins of the modern era.
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