Chris Cooley normally talks about firing off the line to throw a block or catch a pass. But with the NFL lockout nearing one month, he's talking about another type of fire: his passion for pottery.
Yes, the Washington Redskins' two-time Pro Bowl tight end is spending his offseason making kiln-fired vases, bowls and mugs. He even has a shop, The Cooley Gallery, in Leesburg, Va., and planned to hold his first showing Friday night.
"I love pottery," Cooley told The Washington Post. "I've always loved pottery."
Cooley estimates that he has made 700 pieces since Dec. 3, shortly after he and his wife, Christy, saw an open space in downtown Leesburg and jumped on the opportunity.
"Within a day -- which is pretty normal for how spontaneous I am -- we were like, 'Weâre going to have an art gallery,' " Cooley said.
But pottery isn't a passing fancy for Cooley, who was an art major at Utah State. He has a pottery room at his home, too, with a $25,000 wooden kiln outside. He also uses the same pottery wheel his father did while in high school.
So Cooley will concern himself with his pottery pursuits while the league and the players try to settle their differences. He said 30 Redskins players plan to meet at a Northern Virginia high school Wednesday and Thursday for workouts, but otherwise, he'll go on 5-mile runs with Christy and run his shop.
"I don't care; it just doesn't affect me right now," Cooley said of the lockout. "When I'll be pissed off is when the third paycheck doesn't come. I'll give up one and then have to deal with missing two maybe. But after that, I'll be like, 'This is costing me a (expletive)-load of money.' Hey, if they want to tell us, 'You have to miss half of training camp,' great. I'll be ready."