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Chris Cooley remembers mostly positive reaction to Redskins' name from Native Americans

Chris Cooley remembers mostly positive reaction to Redskins' name from Native Americans

With the Washington Redskins' name change dominating headlines across the sports world, former players have been asked a multitude of questions to get their thoughts on the team's controversial nickname.

One of those has been, "Do you remember people having a problem with the name while you were on the team?"

The answers have, of course, been mixed. Santana Moss told NBC Sports Washington's Matt Weyrich that he first noticed a problem years into his Washington tenure getting off the team bus in Seattle, while Brian Mitchell has said he's been dealing with the negative reaction around the name since the start of his career in 1990.

On Thursday, former Washington tight end Chris Cooley joined the Kevin Sheehan show on The Team 980 and described his unique experience receiving feedback from Native Americans on the team's name.

"It's probably time to change the name, and we're in that world where you can change it, but it doesn't mean that I believe it had anything to do with anything racial. It didn't," Cooley said. "Guys I played for didn't believe that, over 75 tribes that I traveled to didn't feel that way six years ago when I went to those reservations and 30 or 40 more that I went to by myself.

"You know what, it's completely fine if you change your mind on something like that," Cooley said. "And I'll be all for it, but when I was with the Washington Redskins I don't believe anybody felt it was a racially driven name."

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Cooley traveled to several reservations across the country to gain an understanding of a culture his former team's likeness was representing. Instead of having to tie his opinion to polls and other methods for gathering a group of people's opinion, he got his information straight from the source.

"The overwhelming majority was, 'Don't forget us,' 'Don't care,' 'That's fine but I'm a Cowboys fan,'" Cooley said. "It was just a conversation that was had very comfortably."

Cooley emphasized going to reservations alone in order to get honest answers from its residents. If he were there with the Redskins in a larger group, he feared he wouldn't get the same feedback as if he were alone. Ultimately, after speaking to hundreds of Native Americans, the Wyoming native got a similar response to his questions.

RELATED: NEW NAME REPORTEDLY WON'T INCLUDE NATIVE AMERICAN IMAGERY

"We would go to casinos, we would go to rodeos, and [I'd] ask them like 'Hey how do you feel about the Redskins' name?'" he said. "People would tell us, and it was more than 9-to-1 that felt positively about it, at least on the trips that I went."

However, as Cooley acknowledged, people can and are allowed to change their minds. The response a few years ago may have been positive, but that may not be the case anymore. 

According to a report from the Associated Press, more than a dozen Native American groups sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asking the league to force Washington to change its name. 

So, in the end, Cooley isn't going to be "an old man on the front porch" as he called it, and push against change just to keep things the way they were. 

"Times change with people and all I'm saying is I don't feel like in my time there it was ever racially driven," he said. "But I'm also not going to sit here argue for it. If people want it changed then let's change it."

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Reuben Foster, finally, addresses his past as well as what's ahead with Washington

Reuben Foster, finally, addresses his past as well as what's ahead with Washington

One year and eight months after he was first claimed by the Washington Football Team, Reuben Foster finally addressed the local media in a formal press conference on Friday. As far as mid-August, mid-training camp Zoom sessions go, it was quite compelling.

The 26-year-old — who was recently removed from the PUP list, which signaled a major step in his recovery from last May's disastrous knee injury — came across as somewhat nervous to be doing an interview again. But even through those apparent jitters, he was able to describe what his life has been like since joining the organization.

"I've learned a lot," Foster said. "Just being humble, vulnerable. Understanding for a lot of things, of life. A real understanding of life. It's stuff that I can't really explain. It's hard to explain. I just know that my drive to get back on the field was insane."

Foster's devotion to the sport was a theme that popped up numerous times when he was speaking.

It's what he's thought about as he's been involved in multiple domestic violence allegations and seen his reputation plummet. Foster's former girlfriend recanted her testimony in the first case and the charges were dropped in the second, but even so, many will forever view him differently.

The desire to play again is also what's been at the top of his mind throughout an arduous rehab process that stems from going down on the third snap of OTAs in 2019. The damage on Foster's knee was more severe than a typical tear and had, up until this past January, caused him to lose feeling in his toes.

There is still plenty of work remaining on both fronts — Foster's character will be closely judged and any sort of future legal trouble likely will cost him his spot in the NFL, and he openly admitted he's not where he wants to be mentally when it comes to believing in his lower body — but right now, he's as comfortable as he's been in some time. 

"I feel like God just put me here, just dropped me here, like, 'This the football child,'" he said.

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His road back, however, is still far from its final destination.

As mentioned, Foster was very candid about how practices have gone since coming off PUP on Sunday. He was obviously relieved to be a part of the action again, yet he noticed he was more timid than he'd prefer.

"I was happy about it, but I was focusing on my leg, like, 'Dang, am I the same again? Will I ever be the same again?' he said. "But I don't think to the point that it would stop my play style or whatever. I just got to get the confidence out there."

Not many pro athletes would acknowledge that uneasy mindset. 

One thing Foster is confident in is his new head coach. Ron Rivera told the media that Foster has been "excellent" since Rivera became Washington's leader, and Foster was even more complimentary when discussing how Rivera's helped him of late.

"I trust him a lot," Foster said. "He's got my trust and dedication, and I think he's just a real stand-up guy, a trustworthy guy."

As a whole, Foster's Friday chat acted as a much-needed reset. It was necessary to hear his take on the drama he's been implicated in and the obstacles he's faced since leaving the 49ers. 

Now, though, he's prepared to move forward, and perhaps the conversation surrounding him can as well. After having him address the controversial issues, the Foster-related discussions can largely shift to how he's fitting into the defense and what he'll be able to add to that unit.

Speaking of which, after months packed with uncertainty, that's one group Foster has no doubts about.

"Even me with a bad wheel," he said, "we've got this."

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Unhappy with ‘Scary Terry,’ teammates think fast for Terry McLaurin’s new nickname

Unhappy with ‘Scary Terry,’ teammates think fast for Terry McLaurin’s new nickname

During an impressive rookie campaign that saw him exceed all expectations as a third-round pick, Terry McLaurin earned the nickname “Scary Terry.” That’s what EVERYONE called him. The only problem is, he didn’t really like it.

McLaurin wanted something more original, not a retread nickname that was originally given to Charlotte Hornets point guard Terry Rozier a few years prior. He wanted a unique nickname, maybe one that had to do with his speed on the field, or perhaps no nickname at all?

“I don’t even look at myself like I necessarily need to have a nickname,” McLaurin told reporters during an availability last season. “I just go out there and play ball, honestly. I’m just that simple of a person.”

Right, like a guy who caught seven touchdowns in his rookie year isn’t going to get a nickname.

RELATED: MCLAURIN EXPECTS INCREASED TEMPO IN SCOTT TURNER'S OFFENSE

NBC Sports Washington's Pete Hailey polled the Washington fanbase last year and came back with several options, including “Terry McScorin" and “Run TMC.” But Terry’s quarterback may have the final say when it comes to a nickname for his fellow Buckeye.

Dwayne Haskins targeted McLaurin 47 times in seven games after taking over as starter in Week 9 against the Bills, connecting 30 times for 461 yards and two touchdowns. He knows how “scary” Terry can be on the field, but it remains to be seen if “Turbo” sticks as McLaurin’s nickname moving forward.

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