BY JEFF SLADE
Chris Cooley has been away from the field a few years now, and it appears it may be a few too long.
In a nine-year career all with the Redskins, Cooley established himself as a fan favorite and became the team’s all-time leader in receptions at the tight end position.
Cooley, 33, has found success in his time away from the game in the broadcast industry, co-hosting “The Drive” on ESPN 980.
He first recently brought up the possibility of a return on his radio show, proclaiming, “I’ll just say that I want to (play again). There aren’t the competitive challenges and the competitive accomplishments to be achieved in [every] job, the feeling of going crazy because you’ve worked to achieve something. And if you think you only have a couple more [chances], why wouldn’t you do it?”
Cooley affirmed the feelings in comments to the Washington Post on Tuesday.
“You finish a radio show, and some days you might think ‘That was an awesome show!’ and then everyone walks out of the studio like ‘All right, see you later.’ … The atmosphere, being a part of a team, trying to achieve something, it’s unattainable outside of professional sports," Cooley said.
Cooley would be a grisly veteran for the NFL at the age of 33 and there are obvious questions as to whether the time off has helped or hurt his game. There’s also the matter of potential interest from NFL teams, as it’s not often a player takes two years off and is able to return to form easily. Still, Cooley isn't lacking for confidence.
“If I went to camp, I could be anybody's third tight end, worst case," he said. "I have no doubt. Any team in the NFL, I could be their third tight end. There's not a question in my mind."
There's also no guarantee if he were to return, that it would be for Washington. It would be difficult to imagine Cooley in any uniform other than Burgundy and Gold, never having taken a snap for another NFL team.
In any matter, though, Cooley fully acknowledges his time for making a comeback is quickly running out.
“This feeling of greatness can only occur in my life for, what, two more years?” Cooley said.
Maybe, but it also might not be completely up to him.