All Redskins fans feared that this day would come. And for most of us, we feared that it could happen as soon as now.
On Tuesday, the Washington Redskins released tight end Chris Cooley — arguably the team’s most recognizable and beloved player.
The nine-year veteran spent his entire career in Washington, but injuries over the past couple years limited his productivity and the emergence of Fred Davis placed Cooley firmly in the team’s second-string role.
“He helped me get comfortable with this team & this offense,” rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III said on Twitter. “He is a legend in my mind and will be missed. Thank You Chris Cooley.”
Recent wide receiver-turned tight end Niles Paul also expressed his remorse. “Took me in, treated me like his lil brother & was the one who truly helped me believe that I could play TE in this league. Sad day…”
According to Mike Shanahan, Cooley wants to be a starter in the NFL and that role isn’t one that’s up for grabs in Washington. With Davis positioned as a solid starter for the Redskins, Shanahan said that he thought Cooley earned the right to seek a starting opportunity elsewhere.
“There’s a lot of scenarios that could still occur,” Shanahan added.
Cooley issued a short unrehearsed statement Tuesday afternoon and asked that there be no questions. The following transcript is courtesy of The Free Lance-Star.
The Washington Redskins are releasing me today, so today, for the time being, 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 for 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, and it’s been a good run. 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 continue to play the game. It would be a tough decision for me to put on another jersey. It’s something that I really never had to imagine, so for now, I’ll take some time and 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 the coaches that are here this year. I think that there’s a lot in store for the Redskins. I think the future’s awesome. [His phone rings – “Now I feel bad.”] I can’t tell you how much I think of this 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 from me. I’ve had good talks with Bruce Allen. It’s been – he’s been great. I talked to all the coaches, and it’s OK that – it’s OK with me the direction they’re moving. Since Bruce and Mike have been here, I’ve trusted everything that they’ve done and everything that they want to do, and even though I’m not a part of that today, I still do believe in what they’re doing. “I want to thank all you guys. Our media has been so, so good to me. I appreciate everything. [Chokes back tears] I’m sorry. I’m a baby. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. I guess, finally, just to say thank you to our fans [voice wavering] … it’s been great. Thank you.
Thank you, Captain Chaos.