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C-C-C-COOLEY

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.
Cheers.

By Jason La Canfora  |  August 2, 2006; 12:30 PM ET
 
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Comments

If you happen to run into Danny, tell him to buy a radio station in Myrtle Beach. Thousands of fans here and no tv coverage.

Posted by: Ol Duffer | August 2, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

You also have to hand it to Cooley for his taste in women. How many of the cheerleaders has he been through now? I think they had to fire a quarter of last year's squad...

Posted by: Cooooley! | August 2, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

i dont know if it is love naming your dog after someone, but the kid looks and talk like a kid. you have to admire that somehow. if moss and him keep turning into the Cowboy killer they were last season, i'll be trying to get a petition to have my future wife go along with the idea of naming my future kids after them...along with joe gibbs of course...OH...and zinedine zidane too.

Posted by: caribjj | August 2, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

What kind of blocker is Cooley? Will the O line be allright without any depth?

Posted by: gar | August 2, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Quiet Riot/Iron Maiden at the Baltimore Civic Center in the fall of '82 or '83"

Dude....I knew I liked you.

Have you ever seen "Heavy Metal Parking Lot". A documentary shot at the Capital Centre before a Judas Priest show in, I beleive, '83. Pure genius.

Posted by: Castor | August 2, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for doing the blog Jason. I Read that Lincoln Kennedy is making a visit to Redskins Park today after visiting the Cowboys yesterday. He didn't even work out in Dallas after sitting out the last two NFL seasons. What type of shape is he in? We do need some O-line depth...

Posted by: Skla | August 2, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

jason! great to be with you going from futbol to football. there are a lot of us who love both...
great work in germany, look forward to more of your 'skins blog!

Posted by: fever | August 2, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I shot a PSA with Chris Cooley for the Boys and Girls Club and he was amazing to work with. He shot hoops with the kids, signed a ton of autographs and was incredibly gracious. Very nice guy and I wish him well.

Posted by: Jim | August 2, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Do you get the Peter King deluxe treatment? If so, how's the training camp food?

Posted by: Columbia, MD | August 2, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Skla - all of the answers to the Kennedy questions are at the end of the blog. I guess I am writing these thigns too long.
Castor - Heavy Metal Parking Lot has to be the best short documentary ever made. Long live Priest.
Gar, was talking to Don Breaux about Cooley's blocking ability the other day and they really think he has made good strides and expect him to be even more integral to the blocking schemes this year.
Duff - I'm not exactly on Danny's speed dial, but I'll pass it along should I see him at camp.
Cheers.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 2, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Mullets were never IN.

Posted by: Kram | August 2, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I hope Cooley realizes how much love Skins nation has for the guy. My girlfriend named our dog after the guy. Go Skins!

Posted by: Cooley Rocks! | August 2, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Mullets and mustaches are ALWAYS in. It just depends on which brand of babe you're catering to. The last time I went on vacation I grew a handle-bar 'stache, and let me tell you, my powers increased by a factor of ten. And Jason... check out the Riverboat Gamblers (iTunes). Great straight-ahead dirty rock.

Posted by: Ben Boyer to the MAX | August 2, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Columbia, no one has even mistaken me for Peter King, and I'm kind of glad about that. I'll be blogging on the food out here pretty soon. It's on my short list. So far, so good.
Ben, will definitely check out Riverboat Gamblers. Keep rocking that stash, bro. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 2, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I echo Duffer's wish to be able to get Skins radio in MB. This used to be Redskin country before the Panthers were born. Lots of fans here!

Posted by: CharlieO | August 2, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse

You should give Bill Simmons credit for the "unintentional comedy scale" remark.

Posted by: Doug | August 2, 2006 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I love the article... but Don Dokken and Joe Elliott doth not a head banger make... now if you would have said Tom Araya, Dave Mustaine or James Hetfield... I could have given ya props... the other guys wore spandex... you cannot be a headbanger of consequence and wear spandex... except for perhaps Bruce Dickinson. Cooley is awesome and it is nice to have a throw back guy like Don Warren, Doc Walker and Clint Diddier...

Posted by: Grummy | August 2, 2006 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Cooley can block alright and Fauria is a blocking specialist. We have a little depth at O-line, no team has good depth at O-line though. What are we gonna do sign Brian "Sexy Lineman" Waters? Its just not feasible.

Posted by: Nathan | August 2, 2006 11:53 PM | Report abuse

CC should have noticed Fantasy mags project him to have way less catches and TD's this year. Speculation is that he won't get as many looks, and/or the types of d-coverages he will get as a better known entity TE will limit his effectiveness.

All negative outlooks of course, but can his deceptive speed, good hands, and toughness after the catch keep him relevant despite all the new weapons?

Posted by: Coolio | August 3, 2006 12:51 AM | Report abuse

La Canfora, you rock, man. I just read a Redskins-related article that mentioned Joe Elliot of Def Leppard, my fav band. You are the man.

Were you at their concert at Nissan in July? Great show!

Posted by: duck | August 3, 2006 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Cooley is gonna get way LESS attention from defenses. His TD numbers might not improve but he could still go for more yards, especially YAC because he will be single covered. Cooley's YAC have always been high because he has great balance, but he was usually focused on as one of our top targets. Cooley could overtake Shockey in production this yeah. And I bet he will.

Posted by: Nathan | August 3, 2006 3:48 AM | Report abuse

Doug - my boys and I have been talking about unintentional comedy factor for at least 10 years, bro. That's something that's just kind of out there and part of the culture. Just cause it's on ESPN don't mean they invented it.
Grummy - Just threw in Elliott 'cuase the title of the blog was a play on the Lep tune F-F-F-Foolin'
To me, Lep, Dokken, Cinderella, etc. don't count as metal, that why I said hair band.
To me, Sabbath, Maiden and Motorhead are the trinity of what I would call metal. Funny you mention Bruce Dickinson, to me he is the ultimate metal frontman. Like I said, he and Eddie stole the show at my first concert.

Love Slayer, Metallica (early Metallica), but I kind of think of that more as speed metal. Kind of that hard punk influence, like early Suicidal. I was raised on that stuff. But I also have a soft spot for some of the poppier stuff. Ozzy's first three solos albums are awesome, but there's a lot of stuff on there that's not straight ahead metal, to me. Also love
"Shout At The Devil," first three Van Halen albums, "High N Dry" and "Pyromania" some Cinderella, "Metal Health," and yes, the first two Ratt albums.

But I always hated Bon Jovi, Warrant (or anything close to them), and especially Poison.
Maybe I'm splitting hairs (excuse the pun), but I drew kind of line in the sand there. Not saying Ratt and Quiet Riot have great chops or were innovators, some of those songs hold up, and I always considered them more real than Poison, for what it's worth. Not sure if any of that makes sense.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 3, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Just realized I used the words "to me" about 10,000 times in that comment. My bad. I guess I subconsciously write that when rambling in print the way a valley girl throws "like" around at the mall.
I'll get better, I promise.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 3, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Chicks do love Cooley. Take it from me: I'm a chick.

Posted by: Kas Bah | August 4, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I Know exactly the guy you are talkign about. he's always front row center, and doesn;t stop yelling. It's got to make the players feel a little awkward eventually. But training camp wouldn;t be the same with out him. We see you Jason, that's right dawg!

Posted by: jake | August 7, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

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