Maybe it's because I'm a former headbanger myself (okay, the "former" part of that statement is probably false) with a keen appreciation of a well-coiffed mullet. Maybe it's because there aren't too many people around Redskins Park willing to engage in a spirited discussion on the merits of Don Dokken vs. Joe Elliott. Maybe it's because my sense of humor tends to swing to the bizarre or immature.
But whatever the reason, there are few people I find more likeable than Chris Cooley. The Redskins resident wildchild, their H-back turned tight end, cracks me up. He is without pretense. He is utterly honest (poor kid just can't help himself), and he is always willing to poke fun at himself. He's open to most any topic, and a freewheeling conversation with him can end up just about anywhere.
Between practices Tuesday Cooley was holding court near the ice tubs after practice, and he was in rare form. He readily admits to being a fantasy football junkie, and bemoaned his inability to pick a decent team name despite years of trying, always ending up with something lame like, "The Redskins, or Cooley's Team," he said. Despite being a rising NFL star, he said he hasn't had great success as a fantasy guru, and, with a big game against Dallas last year, knocked one of his fantasy teams out of the playoffs ("I've had some great games against myself," he said).
Cooley was a baby during the peak of hair bands in the 1980s - he was born in '82 for the love of Ozzy - but once he began walking around Redskins Park last season in a pair of torn up sweatpants with the names of metal bands scribbled all over them in black Sharpie, I knew I had found my muse (My first concert: Quiet Riot/Iron Maiden at the Baltimore Civic Center in the fall of '82 or '83). Cooley's ever-changing hairstyles are a tribute to the era of decadence, and if you get a chance to check out his mug shot in the new media guide, it's a must-see. It's about as close to a serious Afro as any white dude has ever come.
Anyway, he's got a shaggy-type 'do going on right now, but it's just one of those awkward stages you have to go through to attain true greatness. Yeah, Cooley's going for a mega-mullet to rival Brian Bosworth in his glory years, maybe even with the cheesy zigzag lines along the sides and a moustache to top it all off. He's also mulling over some cornrows, with a group of teammates pushing him that direction ("I might be persuaded," he said). It won't be Cooley's first mullet, though. He fessed up that when he was 10, growing up in Utah as a huge Broncos fan, his mom let him spike his mullet with orange and blue streaks for one of Denver's Super Bowl appearances.
"It was a cool mullet," Cooley said. "That's when mullets were in."
Should the Redskins manage to reach that peak this season, I predict Cooley to be the breakout star of Super Bowl week. The kid is a natural in front of the mics, and I bet he'd steal the show at media day without even trying.
Random Ramblings: No matter how many fans are at Redskins Park for training camp on any given day, I always end up in front of this same dude at one point or another. This is three straight years now, and I am sure others of you out there have heard this guy as well. He shouts nonstop through the entire two-hour practice, offering a running commentary that is sometimes attains pure genius levels on the unintentional comedy meter. He finds any of the most obscure players possible, then shouts out their name, college and years pro. I'll give you an example: "Ataveus Cash, second year man out of Howard. We see you. We see you, Ataveus. Representing Cardozo High School. We see you. We see you." This guy must have an acute knowledge of the World League, Arena League, CFL and the dregs of pro football in general, as well as a photographic memory and way too much time on his hands. But it kind of wouldn't feel like Skins training camp without him. The other day he was all over Mark Brunell, letting him know that he should have found a secondary receiver during one particular play in the playoff loss at Seattle, and was also inflicting odd nicknames on the receivers. He decided that B.Lloyd should be dubbed, "silk," and kept shouting it out to Lloyd until the new wideout eventually heard it and seemed to nod his head. Then the Football Orator got on a Prince kick and started calling Antwaan Randle El and Santana Moss "Diamonds and Pearls," though for the life of me, I can't remember which one was which. Maybe someone out there could help out. I know I was not the only one to hear all of this ...
A bit of non-news news for the hardcore fans out there. Retired O-lineman Lincoln Kennedy - yeah, the same guy who seemed to blow up to around 400 pounds working for the NFL Network last year - was at Redskins Park for a weigh-in today, but from what I am told it was more of a formality than anything else. The doctors looked him over, but the team did not work him out and I am told it would be very unlikely for them to entertain signing him. Dallas brought him in Tuesday, but I am told he only had a physical there as well, and it seems he has some medical issues and lots of pounds to shed before he could come close to being ready to play ... I know some people were having problems getting comments posted after the first blog entry, but I talked to our web guys and we have everything straightened out now, and if you check out the first entry, the comments and a few of my responses should be up there now.
Okay, that's all I've got for now. Thanks for the comments thus far, and we'll see what tonight's practice brings.
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