Chris Cooley's eight-year run with the Washington Redskins is over. The team let Cooley break the news himself in a sudden, although not shocking press conference Tuesday.
"The Washington Redskins are releasing me today," Cooley said. "This will be my last day as a Redskin. I'm very fortunate to have played for a team and a fan base that have embraced me like they have. This team changed my life. I have every belief that I can still play football at a high level. I'll take some time ... not sure I could wear another jersey."
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Cooley stressed that there were no hard feelings and said he was "so excited" for the future of the team. He was part of the Redskins' last two playoff appearances. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Cooley wanted a chance to start, and the release allows Cooley the chance to do that. Cooley was backing up Fred Davis and playing some fullback in Redskins camp. He had a large salary for his role and there have been questions about his speed following repeated injuries.
"We all know what Chris means to this organization. He's a guy that we've leaned on a lot since I've been here," Shanahan said.
We're not sure Cooley will get another chance to start necessarily, but he shouldn't have trouble finding a job. He boasts a versatile skill set and is only 30 years old. Cooley has made two Pro Bowls, but missed nine games in 2009 and seven games in 2011 to injury.
UPDATE: Robert Griffin III tweeted about Cooley's release.