by Grant PaulsenBy Grant Paulsen

The Redskins announced that they have placed tight end Chris Cooley on injured reserve, ending his eighth NFL season ten games before it was supposed to have been over.

Cooley broke the index finger on his left hand during Washington’s week-six loss to the Eagles. His finger was operated on last week and he was expected to miss six weeks while rehabilitating his finger and hand.

But Cooley has also been playing through knee problems that have resulted in occasional swelling and multiple draining procedures over the past couple months. The veteran tight end missed the entire preseason while rehabbing his knee.

Placing Cooley on injured reserve may have as much to do with injuries to other players in Washington’s locker room than Cooley’s ailments. Wide receiver Santana Moss is expected to miss the next five to seven weeks with a broken finger and left tackle Trent Williams could miss another couple games with a high ankle sprain.

Occupying three roster spots with injured players who aren’t able to help the struggling Redskins doesn’t make much sense. The fact that Washington’s executives decided to end Cooley’s season likely means that he would’ve been the last of the three to return to the lineup. The team’s depth at tight end and the fact that Cooley’s finger isn’t the only injury he’s dealing with were probably also factors.

Cooley, 29, had caught just eight passes for 65 yards in Washington’s first five games.His replacement, Fred Davis, is leading the Redskins in both receptions (28) and yards (423). He’s also tied for the team-lead in touchdown catches (with two) and he ranks second among NFL tight ends in catches of 20-yards or longer.

Davis will continue to serve as Washington’s primary pass-catching tight end. Logan Paulsen, who caught a pair of 24-yard passes in Carolina last Sunday, will likely be bumped up the depth chart to see more playing time. Fullback Darrel Young and reserve tight end Mike Sellers could help to replace Cooley as a blocker, one of the major areas of the game where the Utah State product will be dramatically missed.

An undervalued talent coming out of a college that got little national attention, the Redskins drafted Chris Cooley in the third round back in 2004.

Cooley is the Redskins’ all-time leader in receptions by a tight end. He ranks fifth in team history in receptions (428) and ninth in receiving yardage and touchdowns.

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