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Speak Out: Redskins Say Goodbye to Cooley

The all-time leader in receptions for a Washington tight end gets cut.

UPDATE: Statements from Cooley, Shanahan.

Chris Cooley, the longtime and popular tight end for the Washington Redskins, has been released, the team announced today. Cooley has been with the Redskins since winning a spot on the team via third-round draft pick in 2004 (81st overall).

During his time in Washington, Cooley posted 428 receptions for 4,703 yards and 33 receiving touchdowns. He was the team’s longest-tenured player on the roster. Cooley lives in Leesburg and has an in the historic downtown area. Cooley remained among the top players sought by fans during this year at .

Last season, Cooley took over as the Redskins’ all-time leader in receptions by a tight end, surpassing Redskins legend Jerry Smith (421). Cooley’s 428 receptions rank No. 19 all-time by a tight end, just nine catches shy of Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow and one reception ahead of Mike Ditka and Dallas Clark, according to a press release from the team.

In addition, Cooley stands in the top 10 in team history amongst all players in receptions (fifth), receiving yards (ninth) and receiving touchdowns (ninth). He holds four of the top five single-season reception totals by a tight end in team history, including recording at least 70 catches in 2005, 2008 and 2010.

Cooley and Coach Mike Shanahan released the following statements through the team today:

Cooley

“This will be brief. This Washington Redskins are releasing me today. Today, for the time being, will be my last day as a Washington 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 embraced me the way that they have. This organization has changed my life, in every way and for the better. I appreciate it. I’ve loved every minute of playing here. It’s been a good ride. 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 coaches that are here this year. I think that there’s a lot in store for the Redskins. I think that the future is awesome. 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 are really no hard feelings for me. I’ve had good talks with Bruce Allen. He’s been great. I talked to all the coaches and it’s OK with me that they’re moving in the direction they’re moving. Since Bruce and Mike [Shanahan] have been here, I’ve trusted everything they’ve done and everything that they want to do. 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 good to me. I appreciate everything… I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. I guess, finally, I just again want to say thank you to our fans. It’s been great. Thank you.”

Coach Shanahan

“We know how much Chris has meant to this organization, as well as this community – both on and off the football field. Since I’ve come here, he’s the guy that I would lean on quite often with his expertise of the organization, as well as the people involved. I’ve had many talks with him that have really helped me with the insight of our football team and our players. Chris wants an opportunity to, at least my thoughts, he wants to be a starter in the National Football League if he does play. I told him that Fred [Davis] was going to be our starter. There were obviously no guarantees, but if he wanted to be a starter, I would give him every opportunity to seek that opportunity out. That’s what we’re doing at this time – giving him an opportunity to see if there is a chance for him to be a starter on another team in the National Football League. I had many conversations with him over the past year, just general talks, sometimes a little bit more specific than others. In essence, he’s going to get an opportunity to check if there is that option to be a starter on another football team.”

What are your thoughts about Cooley’s release? Tell us in the comments below.

George Hall August 28, 2012 at 07:20 PM
In the NFL, it's all about "what have you done for us lately". And for Chris, the answer is, not much. Not to mention some of his off the field indiscretions. It was time he left!
alex cudaback August 28, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Bad move. Cooley's been hurt for a couple years, yes, but still has seasons left in the tank. Fred Davis may be the future, but this is going to hurt the 'Skins more than Cooley. Player who should be saddest to see him go? RGIII.
Jodi Kressley August 28, 2012 at 08:16 PM
It will come back to haunt them trust me. You just lost a great football player and a great person. He was loved by many on and off the field, he was a team leader. And he can stay off the dope unlike Davis! Great move Redskins
Jack Devine August 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Listen, Cooley was my childhood. He was hurt the last two years but how can you cut him to free up room for billy cundiff? Fred Davis has been playing poorly all preseason and is one smoking charge away from being out for a season. Niles Paul got in a fight on FAN APPRECIATION DAY. This is a joke! You're only as good as your weakest player and Cooley was far from being the teams weakest player. What's next, cutting Moss and Fletcher because they were 'last era'? I disagree whole heartedly with this decision and I'm not purchasing season tickets anymore. Thank you, once again, for proving this organization is riddled with incompetence. Fully apathetic for this season.
Marcus Aurelius August 28, 2012 at 10:21 PM
SHANAHAN has been getting rid of all Redskin players who were on the team prior to his arrival. The team saves over $6M by releasing him. But something tells me that there are going to be injuries (and suspensions?) at tight end this year. Chris Cooley was never given a real chance to play in the preseason, so it's clear that SHANAHAN had made his decision early on. The Skins have lost a valuable offensive player who also knows how to protect the QB. If the team is successful this year, Coach looks good, but if losses occur because of a lack of experience at TE/FB, then he has shown his prejudices outweighed his wisdom. I'm very sorry to see Cooley go.
Sharan J. Hill August 29, 2012 at 09:58 AM
Bad move, for sure. There are certain traits/characteristics that don't show on coach's depth chart; intangibles, and Chris has them. Short sighted and, frankly, STUPID move. I live in Leesburg so have felt Chris was not only a loyal and insightful football player, but also friend and neighbor. Am a lot less enthusiastic about this season. Schneider is a dope.
Traci Simons August 29, 2012 at 01:43 PM
You are a true DB, bud!
Traci Simons August 29, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Amen!
Traci Simons August 29, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Very true!
Patrick Scott August 29, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I bet he is resigned by the Skins once the season starts...
David August 29, 2012 at 04:53 PM
The Redskins are moving to a player that can run faster and play "higher" than Chris. Goodluck
Marcus Aurelius August 29, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Chris, Loudoun loves you even if Shanahan doesn't! Please stay in our community even if you're picked up by another team. We need all the "artist-football players" that we can get. You're too good to lose!
Rock August 30, 2012 at 12:56 AM
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