Reporting Grant Paulsen
ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — The Washington Redskins have never closed the door on a possible return by tight end Chris Cooley, who the team released nearly two weeks ago.
While speaking at an event at the National Press Club on Friday afternoon general manager Bruce Allen made it clear that Washington still hasn’t moved on from the two-time pro bowler.
“Absolutely that door is still open,” Allen said about a possible Cooley return. “We have a meeting next week.”
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed the upcoming meeting but said he didn’t know when it would take place, saying that he has been busy preparing for his team’s week-one matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
As of Friday afternoon, Cooley wasn’t aware that he would be meeting with the team in the coming days.
“I have no information, I didn’t know there was going to be a meeting,” Cooley said when reached via telephone. “I’m sure I’ll hear more about it. Everyone’s busy this week getting ready for New Orleans.”
In the week-plus since Washington released him, Cooley has hired an agent and has been contacted by several clubs.
“There’s been a ton of interest in me coming to play in the kind of role that I was going to play for the Redskins,” Cooley said. “I was more than happy to play that role for our team.”
But Cooley, 30, is still hoping to find a gig where he can be a frequently utilized receiver.
Just two years removed from a 77-catch, 849-yard season, Cooley feels he still has the ability to be a primary tight end.
“I would prefer to start. I still think I can start,” he said. “I’ve always been productive.”
But coming off a season that saw him catch just eight passes in five games as he played through a knee injury, Cooley hasn’t yet gotten the call he’s been waiting for.
“I’m sure I’ll start to get more realistic offers after this week,” the ninth-year veteran said. “I know who’s interested and what they want out of me.”
If the Redskins do bring Cooley, who holds the franchise record for catches by a tight end, back after the season-opener they will no longer have to pay him the $3.8 million salary he would have been owed if he wasn’t released.
“This is obviously where I want to be,” the former third-round pick reiterated.
But for now, Cooley will be waiting to hear more details on his upcoming meeting with the Redskins.
“They’ve got a lot of going on. When they let me know, I will be interested,” he said.