Chris Cooley

NFC Notes: Bradford, Lynch, Panthers, Cooley

Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford is a few months from free agency and could be in another uniform next season. If you’re to believe head coach Chip Kelly, he hopes the sixth-year man is under center again for Philadelphia in 2016.

“We’ve always wanted Sam here. We wouldn’t have traded for him if we thought he was (only) going to be here for a year,” Kelly said, per Les Bowen of

Kelly sent former Eagles starting QB Nick Foles and a second-round pick to St. Louis last offseason for Bradford, whose performance in Philly has been a mixed bag. Bradford’s stats aren’t great – 6.71 YPA, 14 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 82.9 rating in 11 games – but the Eagles have won the last three games the 28-year-old has both started and finished, and Kelly likes the former Heisman winner’s progression.

“I just see improvement from Sam on a weekly basis that gets you excited about him. I thought he threw the ball extremely well (Sunday),” said Kelly, whose Bradford-led Eagles knocked off Buffalo, 23-20, and are atop the NFC East at 6-7.

More from the NFC:

  • With Thomas Rawls‘ season over, the Seahawks could certainly use a return from injured rusher Marshawn Lynch to upgrade a backfield that no longer looks like a strength. There’s no timetable for that, though, says head coach Pete Carroll (link via ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia). Lynch, out of the Seahawks’ lineup for a month, underwent abdominal surgery a couple weeks ago. The five-time Pro Bowler is rehabbing away from the team, which Carroll believes is “best for” Lynch. Asked if Lynch will be back before the end of the regular season, Carroll said, “I don’t know.”
  • Don’t expect the 13-0 Panthers to sign free agent cornerback Cary Williams, according to The Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person, who tweets that the team has kicked the tires on the 30-year-old but doesn’t plan on adding him. Williams signed a deal worth up to $18MM last offseason with Seattle, which released him last week after he totaled 46 tackles and an interception in 10 games.
  • Former NFLer Chris Cooley was an accomplished tight end for Washington from 2004-12, catching 429 passes and making a pair of Pro Bowls. Now, with the team dealing with injuries at the position behind starter Jordan Reed, Cooley tweeted Sunday that he’d “love a chance” at a comeback. The 33-year-old spoke about a return in the summer and worked out for the Giants in September. As Peter Hailey of CSNMidAtlantic writes, Washington will probably have to sign somebody to help better its tight end situation. Whether that somebody proves to be Cooley, we’ll see.

Chris Cooley Working Out For Giants

When Chris Cooley discussed making an NFL comeback over the summer, it appeared his heart was set on rejoining his old team in Washington. However, the veteran tight end has a workout lined up with another NFC East team, the Giants, this Tuesday, according to ESPN 980 in Washington (Twitter link).

Cooley, who now works as an on-air personality for ESPN 980, indicated back in July that he was contemplating an NFL comeback after nearly three years away from the game. In nine seasons with Washington from 2004 to 2012, Cooley hauled in a total of 429 receptions -“ the all-time high for any tight end in franchise history – 4,711 receiving yards, and 33 touchdowns. The former third-round pick made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2007, catching 66 balls for 786 yards and eight touchdowns, and followed that up in 2008 with another Pro Bowl nod, thanks to his 83 catches and 849 yards.

Considering he hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since the 2012 season, it seems unlikely that Cooley would return to the game at this point, or that a team would have interest in adding him to its 53-man roster. But the 33-year-old said last week that he still wants to play, and it appears the Giants would like to at least take a look at him.

The Giants haven’t gotten a whole lot of production out of their tight ends so far this season, with Daniel Fells and Jerome Cunningham battling injuries behind starter Larry Donnell.

Extra Points: Suh, Brent, London, Cooley

A report earlier this week suggested that high-priced Dolphins free agent pickup Ndamukong Suh “freelanced” during the club’s loss to the Jaguars, ignoring defensive play calls. Meanwhile, both Suh and coach Joe Philbin say there’s no truth to that, as Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News writes. However, Suh is quick to admit that he isn’t satisfied with the way he has played through the team’s first two games.

Still not quite where I want it to be,” he said of his performance. “Fundamentally, I just have to get back into the sync of things and that’s what practice is for, getting with the coaches and understanding my mistakes that I’ve made.”

Here’s more from around the NFL..

  • The Cowboys have hired former defensive tackle Josh Brent to work for them in the scouting department, as Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram tweets. Brent, 27, returned to the Cowboys in November 2014 after serving a 10-game suspension which stemmed from a car accident that resulted in the death of his teammate Jerry Brown in December of 2012. In May of this year he announced his retirement.
  • The NFL says it would put a full-time franchise in London only once all operational issues are worked out and the league is sure the team would be competitive, as Stephen Wilson of The Associated Press writes. Mark Waller, executive vice president of the NFL’s international division, said there is no time frame for possibly placing a team in London, adding that a decision will come “when we’re ready.” On Wednesday, the mayor of London tweeted that he was optimistic about getting the NFL to the city in the next few years.
  • Tight end Chris Cooley insisted to Jason La Canfora of (on Twitter) that he is still looking to return to football. La Canfora added that Cooley appears to be in good shape.

East Notes: Brady, Cooley, RGIII, Eli, Manuel

Multiple reporters in attendance at Patriots‘ practice today have indicated that Tom Brady is absent, and Tom Pelissero of USA Today offers a likely explanation, tweeting that Brady plans to attend tomorrow’s federal court hearing in New York. The session in Judge Richard M. Berman’s courtroom is optional for Brady and commissioner Roger Goodell, but the fact that the Patriots quarterback will attend in person could score him some points with Judge Berman.

As we wait to see what – if anything – comes of tomorrow’s hearing on the Brady case, let’s check in on several more items from around the NFL’s two East divisions….

  • Former Washington tight end Chris Cooley admits he is “literally begging” to join his old team, explaining that he has offered to play on “the most minimum deal possible” if Washington signs him, per J.J. Regan of Cooley’s proposal to Washington includes no bonuses or incentives, no guaranteed money, and a promise that he’d give $50K of his salary to charity.
  • Robert Griffin III is currently under contract through the 2016 season, but he’d like to remain in Washington beyond that, telling CSNWashington’s Chick Hernandez that he hopes to stay with the club for his “whole career.”
  • Despite John Mara‘s comments about wanting to get Eli Manning locked up to an extension before the season begins, there’s no rush or deadline for the Giants, according to Dan Graziano of, who writes that a new deal will happen sooner or later. We heard yesterday that Manning wants to become the league’s highest-paid player, and while that was met with disbelief by some, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains why it’s not as outrageous as you might think.
  • As he competes for the starting job in Buffalo, quarterback E.J. Manuel acknowledges that his days with the Bills may be numbered if he doesn’t earn that No. 1 role, writes John Wawrow of The Associated Press. Wawrow suggests that Manuel is behind both Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel in the race for the Bills’ starting job, but the former first-round pick remains confident in his NFL future. “At the end of the day, if I play well, it should take care of itself,” Manuel said. “Whether it’s here or whether it’s somewhere else, I don’t know.”

East Notes: Giants, Murray, Petty

One New York-area scribe opined last night that the Giants may be forced to scour the free agent market in an attempt to bolster their injury-ravaged secondary. Today, Jordan Raanan of examined New York’s options in that regard, which are less than inspiring. Cornerbacks Chris Cook and Alfonso Dennard are available, but both come with their fair share of question marks, and the veteran safety options like Thomas DeCoud and Quintin Demps are not much better. Raanan expects the Giants to bring in younger, less familiar players with some upside to fill out their depth chart.

Now let’s have a look at a few more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Rainer Sabin of The Dallas Morning News says the biggest reason the Cowboys were willing to let DeMarco Murray leave in free agency is the talent of its offensive line, which the team believes can pave the way for its current, less expensive crop of running backs. Thus far, the line has picked up right where it left off in 2014.
  • Washington GM Scot McCloughan has made it clear that Chris Cooley is not an option as the team seeks to add depth to its decimated TE corps (Twitter link to Zac Boyer of The Washington Times).
  • Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News believes rookie QB Bryce Petty could be the Jets‘ long-term answer under center, but he will need to be brought along slowly for that to happen.
  • Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert is steadily increasing his workload in training camp, according to Omar Kelly and Chris Perkins of The Sun-Sentinel. Albert is getting closer to his goal of starting Miami’s regular season opener, and may even see some preseason game action.
  • The Bills currently have 11 wide receivers on their roster, and they will have to cut roughly half of them by the time the regular season opens. Per Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News, the team’s coaching staff believes at least one of the players that will be cut will be a significant contributor elsewhere, which speaks to the depth of Buffalo’s receiving corps. It’s a good problem to have, but it will create a number of difficult decisions in the coming weeks.

Niles Paul Out For Season With Ankle Injury

10:13pm: Paul fractured and dislocated his ankle, and will be out for the entire 2015 season, Washington head coach Jay Gruden confirmed tonight (Twitter links via Mike Jones of the Washington Post).

8:18pm: Washington tight end Niles Paul dislocated his ankle during the team’s preseason game tonight, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). According to Rapoport, Paul will undergo an MRI to see if the ligaments are still intact.

Paul, who turned 26 on Sunday, had a breakout season for Washington in 2014, catching 39 balls for 507 yards, after having recorded just 14 receptions in his first three seasons. He had appeared poised to play a role in the offense once again this season, but his ankle injury figures to sideline him for at least part of the year.

In 2014, Paul’s teammate Robert Griffin III suffered a dislocated ankle and returned to the field seven weeks later. However, if Paul sustained significant ligament damage in addition to dislocating the ankle, it seems likely that he’d be on the shelf for longer than that.

Paul is the second Washington tight end whose season has been placed in jeopardy this week, as Logan Paulsen may require toe surgery that would sideline him for most or all of the year. Jordan Reed is also nursing a hamstring injury, though it’s not believed to be as serious.

Former Washington tight end Chris Cooley recently expressed interest in rejoining his old team, but John Keim of (Twitter link) says he’s been told a few times that Cooley isn’t an option for the club. Keim wonders if that stance will change at all, given Washington’s injury woes at the position.

FA Notes: Jets, Cooley, Patterson, Shembo

The Jets did their due diligence in reaching out to a number of representatives for available quarterbacks on Tuesday, Josina Anderson of tweets. Still, as we learned late Tuesday night, the Jets don’t have workouts scheduled with Rex Grossman, Tyler Thigpen, or any other quarterback.

According to Adam Schefter of (via Twitter), the Jets are poised to stick with the three quarterbacks they currently have on their roster for now. The team may decide to add a veteran later in the preseason — I expect that decision will rely in part on how the current QBs look in the preseason, and how Smith’s recovery from his jaw injury progresses.

Let’s check in on several more notes related to free agents and the open market…

  • Last we heard, tight end Chris Cooley had generated some interest from the Cardinals, but his old team in Washington hadn’t discussed signing him. While Cooley may still sign with Arizona or another team, it sounds like he really wants to return to D.C. On ESPN 980 today, Cooley said it would “literally be the greatest thing in the world” to play for Washington again, writes Peter Hailey of
  • Former Dolphins and Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who is currently without an NFL home, is facing a felony child abuse charge stemming from an August 1 incident at a South Florida shopping mall, says Rich Cimini of We haven’t heard many rumblings this offseason about Patterson landing with a new team, and his legal trouble will likely further decrease the likelihood of him signing a new NFL contract.
  • Another free agent who was facing felony charges – former Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo – has had those charges dismissed, his agent tells D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Shembo, who was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s dog, pleaded to a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine, per agent Adisa Bakari. “Now that this matter is settled, we are excited to see if he can resume his career in the NFL,” Bakari said of his client.
  • Despite head coach Mike Pettine‘s confirmation that the Browns have discussed Ray Rice, that doesn’t mean the team has interest in signing him, according to Mary Kay Cabot of, who outlines why the Browns aren’t seriously considering Rice, and shouldn’t.
  • After Arian Foster underwent groin surgery, the Texans auditioned several running backs and attempted to sign Pierre Thomas. However, since failing to lock Thomas, the team doesn’t appear to be in the market for a free agent back, writes Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
  • Free agent wideout Gerrard Sheppard, who played his college ball at Towson, worked out for the Patriots today, per Wilson (via Twitter).

Chris Cooley Unlikely To Sign Before Camp

Former Washington tight end Chris Cooley remains realistic about his possible comeback, but he says that he doesn’t anticipate a team signing him before training camp, John Keim of writes.

I’m not holding out hope,” said Cooley, who last played in the 2012 season.

Interestingly, even though he spent his entire nine season career in Washington, he is prohibited by NFL rules from signing with them for the 2015 season. Teams are prohibited from signing a player in the same year that it’s already paying for a different service. In addition to his daily radio show, Cooley serves as an analyst on Washington games. Cooley confirmed that he did have discussions with the Cardinals, but they no longer have a need after they signed Jermaine Gresham.

I will absolutely continue to work out,” Cooley said. “And look towards realistically a later date in someone’s camp after an injury were to occur or even into the season, which I would be fine with. It would probably have to be a team that realistically has a chance of winning this year. Teams that don’t have a chance of winning don’t sign 33-year-old tight ends.”

Cooley was just 30 when he decided to walk away from his NFL career and start a new one in sports radio. Cooley was cut by Washington in training camp in 2012 but was brought back during the playoffs when Fred Davis went down with an injury. That offseason, Cooley was leery of playing for anyone but Washington and he intimated that his asking price was higher than the offers he was receiving from other teams.

The tight end wound up signing a radio deal, though the contract included an out in case a football opportunity emerged. Two NFL assistant coaches, including Jay Gruden who was with the Bengals at the time, informed him of their interest only to be told that Cooley was done. Given Gruden’s previous fondness of Cooley and the tight end’s deep connections to Washington, one can’t help but wonder if there could be a connection in D.C.

In nine seasons with Washington, Cooley hauled in a total of 429 receptions – the all-time high for any tight end in franchise history – 4,711 yards, and 33 touchdowns. The veteran made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2007, catching 66 balls for 786 yards and 8 touchdowns. He followed that up in 2008 with another Pro Bowl appearance thanks to his 83 catches, 849 yards, and one touchdown. In both campaigns, Cooley started in all 16 regular season contests.

Cooley will presumably be open to all opportunities but he says that he’s not expecting a call from the Falcons. According to Cooley, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan kept Cooley off the field in 2012 because he believed that he had nothing left in the tank.

East Notes: Brady, Cooley, Washington

As of Thursday, a month will have passed since Tom Brady‘s appeal hearing, and with no timeline in place for a ruling from Roger Goodell, it’s not clear if that announcement will come this week, next week, or sometime after that. According to NFLPA president Eric Winston, it’s “not even worth trying to guess” when Goodell will make his decision. However, Winston hopes Brady is exonerated, adding that if he’s not, the union is prepared to take the next step (Twitter links via Rob Guerrera of NBC Sports Radio).

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to continue fighting the NFL if Brady’s suspension isn’t wiped away will be up to the Patriots quarterback himself, but Winston’s comments confirm that the NFLPA is ready to take the league to court on Brady’s behalf, if necessary.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Chris Cooley spent his first nine NFL seasons in Washington, but the team hasn’t had any discussions about bringing back the tight end, tweets Mike Jones of the Washington Post. The Cardinals are said to be kicking the tires on Cooley, who is contemplating a comeback.
  • Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler of debate whether Brandon Scherff was the right pick for Washington at No. 5 overall in this year’s draft. El-Bashir writes that Scherff fits all of Scot McCloughan’s prerequisites and even though the lineman could have been plucked later in the draft, he doesn’t really find fault with Washington jumping at the chance to get him at No. 5. On the other hand, Tandler isn’t wild about Scherff’s value that high in the draft.
  • After Mike Sando of grouped the NFL’s starting quarterbacks into tiers based on talent, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap examines how each QB’s salary matches up to his placement on Sando’s list. Unsurprisingly, Brady is the major outlier, with Sando placing the Patriots quarterback near the top of his list, despite the fact that he has a fourth-tier salary.
  • Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio (audio link), agent Tom Condon discussed one client who just signed an extension (Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant) and another client who looks like a good bet to sign a new deal in the near future (Giants quarterback Eli Manning).

Cardinals Have Interest In Chris Cooley

Having lost tight ends John Carlson and Rob Housler during the offseason, the Cardinals are in the market for a veteran replacement at the position, and the team appears willing to consider a player who hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since the 2012 season. According to Adam Schefter of, the Cards have spoken to Chris Cooley, and have expressed interest in signing him.

As we learned yesterday, Cooley is contemplating making an NFL comeback after nearly three years away from the game. In nine seasons with Washington from 2004 to 2012, Cooley hauled in a total of 429 receptions – the all-time high for any tight end in franchise history – 4,711 receiving yards, and 33 touchdowns. The former third-round pick made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2007, catching 66 balls for 786 yards and eight touchdowns, and followed that up in 2008 with another Pro Bowl appearance thanks to his 83 catches and 849 yards.

When he suggested he may try to catch on with an NFL team this year, Cooley stated that he “could be anybody’s third tight end,” though it sounds like the Cardinals may be looking for a player capable of moving even higher on the depth chart. With Carlson and Housler no longer in the mix, Troy Niklas, Darren Fells, and Ted Bolser are among the players poised to head into training camp vying for playing time for Arizona.

In addition to having expressed interest in Cooley, the Cardinals also recently hosted former Bengal Jermaine Gresham for a visit. Gresham is coming off back surgery, so it’s not clear if Arizona’s interest in Cooley indicates that the Cards weren’t comfortable with Gresham’s physical, or if they’re simply considering all their options at the position.

Cardinals veterans are scheduled to report to camp on July 31, so I’d expect the club to address its tight end spot at some point before then.