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Though Not What He Expected, Chris Cooley Dealing Well With Reduced Role

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – After rejoining the Washington Redskins prior to their loss at Pittsburgh on Oct. 28, Chris Cooley has played only 29 out of 140 snaps on offense and, against Carolina, served as the third-string tight end behind starter Logan Paulsen and converted receiver Niles Paul.

Cooley

It’s a role Cooley isn’t used to being in, but one that, for the moment, he understands.

“I’m extremely competitive and I want to be on the field all the time, and I have a ton of confidence in what I can do as a football player,” Cooley said. “But I’m also a part of this team, and to make the team as good as you can, you have to understand where you are and understand your role and contribute in whatever role you can help. That’s what I’m doing. I’m willing to do that right now.”

Cooley was released before the season began, according to head coach Mike Shanahan, because he wasn’t going to be the starting tight end. That role would be filled by Fred Davis, who was coming off the best season of his career despite missing the final four games because of a suspension for a failed drug test.

The franchise’s all-time leader in receptions by a tight end, Cooley had made his peace with his release, devoting additional time to the art gallery he owns and runs in nearby Leesburg and venturing into a role as a football analyst for a Washington-based television station.

When Davis tore his left Achilles’ tendon against the New York Giants on Oct. 21 – an injury that would end Davis’ season after just seven games – the Redskins immediately called Cooley and signed him to a contract for the rest of the season.

He’s been thrown the ball just twice, once in each game, and has worked nearly exclusively as a blocker.

He played 19 snaps against the Steelers, then saw that number fall to 10 against the Panthers. Paulsen, in comparison, has been on the field for all but five offensive plays.

“Like I said, I want to be out there, but I’m not going to be frustrated,” Cooley said. “I think we have very good football players. It’s about everyone doing what they have to do.”

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