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Mike Shanahan: Chris Cooley ‘Is Feeling Great’ After Lost Season

By ZAC BOYER | zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said tight end Chris Cooley “feels as good as he’s felt for the last couple years” after speaking to him earlier Wednesday.

Cooley

Cooley, who went on injured reserve on Oct. 25 after battling persistent swelling in his left knee, said at the end of the season that he was healthy enough to play if he was available to. He missed nearly the entire two weeks of training camp and the following preseason, and played in the first four games of the season before breaking his left index finger against Philadelphia.

It was his least productive season of Cooley’s eight-year career, all of which have been in Washington.

“Chris Cooley right now is feeling great,” Shanahan said. “The knee is feeling great. His weight is down. There’s been no swelling, so hopefully he is full speed once we get started with our OTA days [in mid-May] and you know, he can stay injury-free.”

Cooley may have to prove he’s fully healthy if he wants to ensure he’ll stay with the Redskins next season. He is scheduled to make $3.8 million this fall after signing a $30 million contract extension in 2007, though with workout and signing bonuses added in, he’ll account for a nearly $6.25 million hit against the salary cap.

The Redskins also have Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen and Richard Quinn on the roster this spring, and Niles Paul has begun the transition from receiver to tight end. Paul, at 6-foot-1, 224 pounds during the season, has gained 10 pounds since it ended, Shanahan said.

“We just think he’s a guy that has a chance to really help us at that position – give us some depth and obviously some big-play capabilities,” Shanahan said.

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