No surprise here on any level.
Tuesday, former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley announced he was likely retiring (although not officially filing paper with the NFL, yet), and taking a job on the team’s radio broadcast team. Cooley, who spent nine seasons with the Redskins, was released at the end of Training Camp last season before being re-signed in October and playing a contributing role on the team’s NFC East Division Championship team.
He has signed a multi-year deal with Red Zebra Broadcasting. He joins fellow former Redskins tight end Rick “Doc,” Walker on the sidelines with Larry Michael and Hall of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen in the booth.
Of course, speculation immediately began as to who might join the broadcast team when longtime booth man and Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff announced his retirement. Huff had shown tangible signs of decline in recent years, and his departure was no surprise.
Nor is the selection of Cooley.
Although he had the misfortune of playing in something of a forgettable era for the franchise, Cooley won the hearts of the Burgundy and Gold faithful. A very good player, with a casual, relaxed persona off the field, Cooley has found a home in the Washington, D.C. area. And his selection has by-and-large been well received.
Of course, the decision to put Cooley on the broadcast team is not great news for Joe Theismann. I speculated a few weeks ago that Theismann, who has campaigned openly for the job, was not a favorite of Jurgensen. Also, it is doubtful that Theismann, who has an impressive broadcasting pedigree, would take a sideline job.
But Cooley, who is only 31, will. You have to imagine that with Jurgensen now 78, Red Zebra is grooming Cooley as the guy to ultimately replace him. And knowing how Cooley, Jurgensen and the Redskins operate, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.