WASHINGTON — Two of the Redskins’ top tight ends have been ruled out of the team’s preseason-opener against the Cleveland Browns. Still, coach Jay Gruden says they have not made inquiries into luring Chris Cooley out of retirement.
In late July, the 33-year-old former Redskins tight end, after spending two seasons away from the game, expressed interest in a return to the NFL, according to Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post.
“If I went to camp, I could be anybody’s third tight end, worst case. I have no doubt,” Cooley said. “Any team in the NFL, I could be their third tight end. There’s not a question in my mind.”
The conversation gained steam when, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Arizona Cardinals reached out to Cooley about possibly signing him before the start of training camp.
On Wednesday, with Logan Paulsen and Jordan Reed ruled out of Thursday’s game and Niles Paul expected to be a game-time decision, a reporter asked Gruden if the team had reached out to Cooley.
“We have not talked about that yet,” Gruden said. “We’re waiting to find out the exact status of Logan first. He’s our No. 1 priority. Once that decision becomes final, how long we know he’s going to be out, then we’ll start looking possibly for others.
“But we have guys in this building we want to look at, too – [Je’Ron] Hamm, [Chase] Dixon and [Devin] Mahina,” he said. “They’ve done some good things in training camp. Let’s let them a chance in this game and then go from there.”
Later in the afternoon, the former program director of the local radio station on which Cooley hosts a show hinted the ex-tight end’s interest in returning to football may be disingenuous.
Chuck Sapienza (@chucksapienza) August 12, 2015
Cooley last played in the NFL for the Redskins in 2012. He had been released prior to the start of that season, but was re-signed around the halfway point after tight end Fred Davis suffered a season-ending Achilles’ injury. Cooley was targeted three times and caught one pass in 9 games.