Earlier this summer former Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley suggested he wants back in the NFL, and as injuries start to mount at Redskins training camp, it seems the possibility of Cooley's return to Washington could be gaining steam. Going into the season, three tight ends were expected to dominate playing time for the Redskins in Jordan Reed, Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen.
Reed has an extended track record of injury in his two NFL seasons and coach Jay Gruden said he will miss Thursday night's preseason opener against the Browns (7 p.m. on CSN). Now, primary blocking tight end Paulsen may need surgery on his big toe, and suddenly Washington has depth problems at tight end. Could that mean the team reaches out to Cooley, a fan favorite?
"We have not talked about that, yet," Gruden said when asked about Cooley on Wednesday.
"We're waiting to find out the exact status of Logan first. He's our No. 1 priority," Gruden said. "Once that decision becomes final on how long we know he's going to be out we'll start looking possibly for others."
Gruden also mentioned young players in camp with the Redskins that have a chance to stand out, like Devin Mahina, Je'Ron Hamm and Chase Dixon.
None of Mahina, Hamm or Dixon will excite the fanbase like talk of Cooley's return. In nine seasons with Washington, Cooley amassed nearly 5,000 receiving yards and 33 TDs along with two Pro Bowl invites and was named All Pro in 2005. When Cooley said on his radio show earlier this summer of his interest to get back into football, which he hasn't played since 2012, the response was strong. In late July, the Arizona Cardinals reportedly expressed interest in bringing in Cooley, though the team made other moves to address the tight end position. It's also unclear if the 'Skins could sign Cooley, as he is a paid employee of the team on the radio broadcasts.
Like Gruden said, the Redskins aren't looking at other options - including Cooley. Yet.