The Washington Redskins have released their long-time tight end Chris Cooley, and the emotional news was broken by the nine-year veteran himself at the team's media center. Cooley was the Redskins' third-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and will leave as the franchise's all-time leader in receptions at the tight end position (428).
Cooley: "The Washington— Redskins (@Redskins) August 28, 2012
#Redskins are releasing me today. This will be my last day as a Redskin."
Cooley is choked up. "There's really no hard feelings. It's OK with me that they're moving in the direction they're moving."— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) August 28, 2012
The decision to release Cooley, said coach Mike Shanahan, who was at the press conference, was to allow him to earn a starting position some place else. The Redskins are slated to start Fred Davis and give converted tight end Niles Paul a shot at the backup role.
For the past few seasons, Cooley has battled injuries — he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in the winter of '11, and also broke his finger, which led to him being placed on IR in the middle of last season -- but was reported healthy and ready-to-go for this season.
In his eight seasons with the Redskins, Cooley recorded 428 receptions for 4,703 yards and 33 touchdowns, becoming the most popular player on a series of poor teams.