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Thanks for the memories, Captain Chaos

Head coaches and general managers, when working in sync, are like chefs in a kitchen: if you expect them to cook you a meal (aka build a team), they’re going to do so with their own groceries (credit: Bill Parcells).

The Redskins released Chris Cooley, one of the most beloved Redskins over the last decade, this afternoon. Cooley was the was the hand-picked H-Back for the Joe Gibbs offense — as critical a position as any for the Hall of Fame coach — taken instead of Kellen Winslow Jr. in the 2004 draft. Gibbs hitched his Redskins future, at least in the beginning, to Clinton Portis, Mark Brunell, Sean Taylor, and Cooley. So, again, it’s no secret that three of those four guys are still among the most beloved players in DC since the guys Gibbs coached his first time around.

But Gibbs is gone now, and Cooley wasn’t Shanahan’s guy. It’s nothing against Cooley, and it’s nothing against Shanahan; Shanahan is cooking one way, and his ingredient list didn’t necessarily include Cooley.

And Cooley, as much as everyone wants to think otherwise, is just not the same player that he was from 2004 to 2008, or even in 2010. He’s played in a grand total of 21 games, and scored a grand total of three touchdowns, since Shanahan has coached the Redskins. He was coming off a season where he played in only five games, and really wasn’t himself in any of those five.

There have been plenty of insiders that have said that Cooley might look like the same guy from afar, but when the practice action starts flying, it was clear that he was a shell of himself.

A coach like Shanahan doesn’t hitch is replacement wagon on a guy who failed a drug test last season, or a converted receiver/tight end hybrid, if he’s fully confident in the incumbent. So, all the talk about Fred Davis and Niles Paul should have said just as much (and inevitably did) about Cooley’s future here as that of the other two.

Like many Redskins fans, i’m sad to see Chris Cooley go, but it’s not because we released someone who still could’ve contributed to this team. I’m sad because I know how much I, and the fellow Redskins faithful, loved him, and how much he loved them back.

But the realist in me says that nostalgia doesn’t count for anything on the scoreboard, and doesn’t grant you any salary cap exemptions. So like any relationship that’s officially run it’s course, it’s time to move on, and remember all the good times you’ve had with that person, without viewing it through the prism of the ending.

So long, farewell, godspeed, and thanks for everything, Captain Chaos.

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