Chris Cooley walked into Redskins Park, said his hellos, worked out and felt … the same as always.
“It was like I haven’t been gone,” Cooley said.
In some ways that’s because he hasn’t. Cooley did a TV show with NBC Channel 4 as well as with the Redskins’ own station. But now he’s back as a tight end, having signed a deal Monday morning one day after tight end Fred Davis’ season ended because of a torn Achilles tendon.
The Redskins had cut Cooley before the season started, and he made it clear that the only job he really wanted in the NFL was with Washington. He said 15 teams offered him a chance to return, including four or five that he said provided him a good chance to start.
“If I would have been somewhere else right now I would be devastated,” Cooley said. “There was a part of me that was content [with not playing], but at the same time I wanted to be a part of this team.”
Cooley said he had no problem going through a team workout Monday morning and said that he would be able to play Sunday.
“I’m in shape,” he said. “I’ll be ready to play. It’s not like I got fat.”
Cooley talked with Davis, whom he was close to during their time here. Cooley said he had been watching film of the Redskins and was impressed with Davis’ performance – coming, too, in a contract year for him.
But the nature of the NFL is that one guy’s misfortune is another man’s fortune, and that was the case for Cooley. He caught 428 passes in his first eight seasons with Washington, more than any tight end in franchise history, and scored 33 touchdowns. He played in only five games last season because of a knee injury.
“I was pretty giddy yesterday,” he said. “I was waiting for Mike [Shanahan] to call me. Once it was like this is a done deal then yeah I felt good about it. … It’s a [bad] situation for Fred. It’s not what I would have wanted for him. It’s tough for him.
“What I’m looking forward to is coming into a league where everyone has played seven games and I’m 100 percent healthy.”