Chris Cooley on the Redskins' changes
I just looked back at the gamebook from the Redskins' last playoff win, the 2005 game in Tampa Bay. There are two players from that defense still on this team's roster: Phillip Daniels and Carlos Rogers. Five offensive starters remain: Casey Rabach, Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, Derrick Dockery and Chris Cooley, though Dockery left and came back, which might not count. Of the reserves, only Mike Sellers is still around.
So Cooley, a 27-year old entering his seventh NFL season, is one of the longest tenured guys, both on this team and on D.C. sports.
"Which is unbelievable, because I feel like I got here yesterday," Cooley said on Monday, during an appearance at Langston Golf Course for The First Tee and FedExCup's® Fore!Ever campaign. "It's a completely different team. And that happens when you change staffs like we have."
Like everyone else, I needed to ask Cooley for his reaction to the Jason Campbell trade (see video above). He and Campbell were close; they vacationed together in Orlando, and Cooley consistently stuck up for the quarterback in interviews. He said the same thing everyone else has said -- that he's happy for Campbell and will be rooting for him to succeed.
"It's one of those guys that you actually care about, and I think fans actually care about, so they'll watch Jason Campbell play in Oakland," Cooley said. "People just like him. I mean, he's likable. Especially after all the hits he took, that guy could have quit after week 10 and just said this is retarded, I'm not doing this any more. He just kept getting back up and playing for us."
Still, there's a difference between rooting for someone and going on vacation together.
"We'll probably text each other after someone has a good game or something," Cooley said. "I don't think we'll probably be going to Disney any more. I would like to, it just might not happen."
Indeed, with all the veterans who have departed this year, Cooley said he's spoken just with a handful: Todd Yoder, Antwaan Randle El and Campbell. That's the way of the world in that line of work. Cooley said this year didn't seem crazier than any other.
"It's always a massive change," Cooley said. "From the time that you arrive in March through the draft, there's 40 new faces every year. Obviously you get back to [a core], but it seems like there's such a big turnover every year. It's a weird deal. You lose a lot of people you're close to. You think, shoot, we're good friends, and I probably won't even really talk to you again."
Won't even talk again? That sounds sort of ominous.
"I mean, occasionally, once a month, for a couple guys that I actually really like," he said. "I mean, even Todd Yoder and I were super close. I might talk to him every couple weeks now. I probably won't see him almost ever...."
"Everyone just kind of moves on with whatever other deal they do. No one's really from here, so they don't come back here. It's different. You get used to it. The first couple years, they'd bring in free agents, I'd make good friends with all the free agents, and then camp would come and they'd get cut and I'd be like [Drat], why was I friends with him? He's gone?"
Cooley is still among the team's most popular players, though he guessed that Donovan McNabb would unseat him from the top of the jersey sales chart. (He said he made six-figures from his cut of jersey sales last year.) With Campbell off to the West Coast, Cooley filled in for him during his charity golf tournament on Monday, giving him two charity golf events in one day.
There are other perks to his status. Cooley usually listens to some sort of alternative stuff in the weight room; players complain when he puts Kings of Leon on, for example. The other day, Cooley was complaining when the same hip-hop track was on for the millionth day in a row, but usually seniority rules in those sort of things.
"Someone told me to just go change it," Cooley said. "And I was like wow, wait, I really can just go change it."
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