Friday, February 21, 2014

Free Agent Breakdown - Defensive Ends/OLB's

The NFL has been redefined by the spread offense and quarterbacks who aren't afraid to put the ball in the air.  To quote G n’ R, throwing for 300 yards is so effing easy.  Because of this, defensive end/outside linebacker has become one of the most important positions in the league.  The Defensive end class of 2014 is one of the deeper position in free agency this season, which is highlighted by a few Super Bowl winners, a couple Pro-Bowlers and some serious young talent.  I evaluated six guys on their potential skillset helping the Washington Redskins vs. how much yellow they will line their pockets with.     

One of the glaring deficiencies in the Redskins defense was their ability to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  Addressing this issue in the right way would be a very bold step in the right direction towards fixing our seemingly unfixable defensive personnel issues.  Though Bruce Allen will be meeting with Brian Orakpo’s agent, it’s no given that’s the direction the team truly want’s to go.  Also, don’t expect the Skins to give the hometown payout.   They will evaluate him for exactly what he is worth.  If Orakpo’s payout number is unreasonable, he won’t be the answer in free agency If we don’t pay 98, a bad ass defensive could work as well or better for the Redskins than an outside linebacker. 

The idea of a 3-4 defense has convinced many ‘Skins fans that we must acquire an outside linebacker to fill the position that Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan play. (OLB)  This is just not the case.  If you were to calculate the percentage that the Redskins had 3-4 personnel on the field you would be amazed; it’s 38%.  The Redskins spent the other 62% of games in nickel or dime personnel groupings,  which means the defense is in a 4-2 front.  This is four down lineman with 2 linebackers behind them. Essentially it’s the offensive personnel that dictates what defense is on the field; just because you run a 3-4 scheme doesn’t mean you line up in it every play. (In the picture below the OLB's on the left would assume the E position on the right.)

Look around the league and you see more and more guys who can make the transition back and forth between rush end and leverage playing 3-4 outside linebacker.  The NFL game is all about comparisons and a great one for this situation would be Demarcus Ware.  Ware came out of Troy St. as a stout, can do it all defensive end.  As a stud athlete it took Ware no time to become one of the most effective OLB’s in the NFL. Ware, at one point was at one point voted the best player in football by his peers.  While it has been nearly impossible for teams to run the ball at his side, 94 established his self as one of the most elite pass rushers of all time playing in the 3-4.  He is a defensive end, playing linebacker. 

The solution to the most important position on the Redskins defense might very well be paying a very good defensive end much less money than Orakpo simply because he is not considered the TOP free agent at his position.  The Skins could also pay a great defensive end close to the same about as they would pay Orakpo and conceivably get better results in the pass rush.
Regardless, it seems to me the more options you have in free agency, the less you bend over negotiating with players.  

Lets get to it! Drumroll..... Here are my top picks.

5. Shaun Phillips 
Denver Broncos #90 
Phillips is 32 year old defensive end who took a contract of a million dollars last year.  He was a one year fix for the Broncos last season and would likely be a one to two year solution somewhere else this year for the same price.  
What I love
- 10 sacks for last year and has multiple ten sack seasons.                                  
-He is versatile and transition easily from 3-4 backer to end.  Thrived        
 3-4 scheme in San Diego. He also plays the run better from the leverage of the 3-4
-He would be cheap and effective.  I'd pay 1 to 2 million a season.
What I hate
-Seems to lack play awareness and gets caught up watching the ball.  Easily misses bootleg looks. 
-He's aging and would by no means create any long term solution.  

4. Michael Johnson
Cincinnati Bengals 93

Johnson is a huge potential guy out of Georgia Tech who underachieved in 2013.  His sack total dropped from 11.5 to 3.5 after being franchise tagged by the Bengals.  This stat alone is going to hurt his top end money in free agency, possibly making him relevent in the Skins search for a pass rusher.  I see Johnson as a consistant double digit sack guy for a long time.  
What I love 
-Super quick burst off the ball 
-Long arms gives him the ability to lock out tackles and tight ends in the run game.  
-Super quick feet combined with a nasty rip move makes him tough to block on the back side of plays.
-Great block shedding ability.  Uses his hands well and rarely ends plays with someone on him. 
-Solid pass rush moves including a double hand swat, a shoulder pulling swim move and a useful speed rush. 
-With his speed and length could easily make the transition to being a top 3-4 backer
What I hate 
-Get's displaced at times on the front side of run plays, especially against double teams. 
-Can give up his chest while trying to work pass rush moves
-Gets himself too far up the field while rushing the passer and takes himself out of a lot of rushes. 

3. Anthony Spencer
Dallas Cowboys #93 
I played against Spencer for a bunch of years and would assure anyone that when healthy, he is the real deal.  He gets the Robin to Batman comparison because he has played next Demarcus Ware in Dallas, but Spencer could kick the shit out of Robin.  Spencer is a true 3-4 OLB and would instantly fit in a Jim Haslett defense
What I love 
-Comes across as a guy that understands the game and what offenses are trying to do to him.  He is as much of a football player as an athlete
-He has a physical, high motor, beat the hell out of guys mentality.  He was much more physical than Demarcus Ware and players had to bring their "big boy pads" when blocking him.  
-Knows how to take on run schemes at the point of attack and is silly, elusive on the backside of plays. 
-Has a great mix of power to speed as a pass rusher and could scare the shit out of tackles when a rusher.  
-Can actually drop into pass coverage on early downs and be effective 
-An IR season usually means his market value drastically drops.  I would pay somewhere around 5 million a year in a two year contract. 
What I hate
-Um... Micro-fracture surgery is a huge deal.  Considered a 50-50 proposition to be truly healthy again.
-Can be predictable as far as his moves.  I remember writing that any time he was on my right side he would attempt to cross my face with a quick up and under.  When on my left side he would never do this, instead try to bull into me, seldom working moves. 
-He's a Cowboy.  Maybe a minus, maybe a plus if we convert him to a 'Skin. 

2. Lamar Houston
Oakland Raider #99
Houston played as a defensive end in Oakland, but very rarely put his hand in the ground.  Seems much more comfortable in a two point stance, which would make for an easy transition to OLB.  He's a 300 pounder that plays with serious quick's, but would be unbelievable as an OLB at 275.  I'd bet he's looking for a contract that he wont get from Oakland and will take around 8 million a year from someone else.  If it's Washington, he would be cheaper that Orakpo and just as much as a player.  Not to shabbies.  
What I love
-Best run stopper available.  Ask Logan Paulson how tough this guy is to block on the front side of plays.  
-Works a ton of moves in the pass game including a Dwight Freeny ninja spin.  Bad ass with a bull rush and plays with hat under hat leverage at all times.  
-Sick up and under move coming off a speed type rush.  He has the ability to stick his foot in the ground and instantly burst.  
-Can move around the line of scrimmage pre snap with ease and could play multiple positions. 
-Great attitude.  Guy who plays like he loves the game.  
What I hate
-Would need to gain a little speed/quickness to become a truly elite pass rusher.  i.e./ Lose a little weight. 
-If I was Oakland I would want this guy back, buy maybe they offer Orakpo more since he just destroys silver and black QB's. 

1. Michael Bennett
Seattle Seahawks #72 

Go get this guy!  Yea, there will be a bunch of teams on the table for him after his post season, but his combination of power to speed is as good as anyone in the league.  He rotated around up front for Seattle this season and didn't play every down, tho when he did he was extremely effective.  As good or better than any player in the league at pressure per attempt according to pro football focus.  
What I love
-Considered one of the best run stoppers in the game coming out of Tampa Bay.  The dude straight get's it done in the run game.  
-Multitude of moves in pass rush with an awesome mix of power and finesse.  
-Played his best games under pressure.  
-Will be the best available talent for the price at this position this offseason.
-Bennett on the home town discount.  "This ins't Costco, this isn't Wal-Mart, this is real life."  Seattle cant pay him and they're going to miss out.  Thing is, Bennett isn't going to get what he is really worth. Look for this 28 year old baller to sign for somewhere around eight million a season.  Less than he is worth for what I fell is a pretty sure bet
What I hate
-Not signing Bennett

Go Nuts Pick up : Greg Hardy 
Carolina Panthers #76
This would be my #1, #1.  He is without question the best player at the position last season. (15 sacks) Not the best free agent DE, the best DE.  The only reason I bring this up is that if the skins want to even consider paying Orakpo upwards of 12 million dollars a season, then just pay the best 15 million a season.  If I were going to spend 80,000 on a Porsche for its performance than why wouldn’t I just spend the extra 20k to get GTS?  The whole Hardy thing is unlikely because the Redskins overspending past, but I ask?  Can you let your fears decide your fate. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Olympic Top 10

I compiled an olympic hotness top ten to talk about on "The Drive" with Al Galdi and Steve Czaban today.  You can check out our show every day on ESPN980.   The list was actually much harder that I expected considering there is an inordinate amount of beauty walking around Sochi right now.  Thank god all the athletes have the website "Tinder" so they can enjoy hooking up with each other for the month.  I am imagining the amount of medals collected will be remembered by some of the athletes about as much as the notches on the belt.   

This is my top ten.  I'm sure there will be girls left off.  If you have a problem with the selections let me know.  

Number 10 Torah Bright

Torah Bright is an Aussie snowboarding star who currently lives in Salt Lake City.  Not only is she pretty hot, she is pretty freaking amazing at snowboarding.  Winning a silver medal in the women's half-pipe. Bright, who slightly resembles Ali Larter would definitely fit in a whip cream bikini.

Number 9 Sarah Hendrickson

First female ski jumper in olympic history.  Sarah says she loves the feeling of flying.  Just need more pictures of her clothes flying off to move her up the charts!

Number 8 Hannah Teeter

Teeter's name is synonymous with hot athletes.  She's a baller on a snowboard and she receives outstanding accolades for pictures of ass and snow boots.  Those little red panties, they pass the test.

Number 7 Jackie Chamoun 

Most famous Lebanese skier for a couple of reasons.  First, there are only two Lebanese olympians, second, she took naked pictures and looks unbelievable.  Strategically placed hiding skies are exactly what I want to think about when I turn on NBC to watch the game.  Jackie studied sports event management in switzerland and I definitely capable of managing her body.  

Number 6 Alissa Czisny

American Figure Skater.  Beautiful.  Enough said.  

Number 5 Svetlana Kolmykova

Russian hockey player and a kickstart to the amazingness of the Russian female olympians.  This girl is not only a knockout, she is a badass.   Talk about male hockey players dating celebrity hotties in america, but I say we start up a female NHL and let the Russian girls come over.  This would become a major problem for men in hollywood.  Wood.  

Number 4 Clair Bidez 

Bidez is competing in her first olympics at Sochi.  While she didn't make the cut in 2010 for the USA olympic half-pipe team, she sure as shit made the SI swimsuit calendar.  26 years old, from Vail Colorado, Clair is exactly what you hope to ride up the lift with on a snowy day.  Move her down you list if you like long legs, move her way up your list if you like tight, hot, short girls with mad skills.  

Number 3 Ekaterina Stolyarova

I think there could possibly be 4 girls on this current hottest olympic list that are not only russian, but named Ekaterina.  If I have a daughter I think I will lean more toward the name Ekaterina.  Has a nice ring to it.  This girl is a freestyle skier which means she is awesome at sliding on rails.  I would  watch her go switch onto the rail with a kinked slide mute grab all day long.
Number 2 Silje Norendal

Another drop dead gorgeous snowboarder.  I mean wow.  If I didn't have at least one beautiful blond Norwegian in the top ten I would have been crazy and I feel no remorse putting Silje at number 2.  She may be the prettiest face you see on NBC television this month.
There were a couple of snowboard girls I left out.  Of course Lindsay Vaughn.  She is not hard to look at, but I've done it enough times.    I also left out a couple of russian girls, yea, russians again!  Alena Zavarzina and Alyona Alexhina are standing 9's.  I just got tired of the snowboard girl theme.  

Number 1     The russian curling team (Anna Sidarova, Ekaterina Galinka, Olga Zyablikova, Alexandra Saitova)

This unbelievable bevy of hotness leaves me wondering only one thing?  How the hell do I get a job on the Russian athletic training staff.   There aren't too many injuries in the sport of curling, but I think I could help out with sore muscle issues.  "You have a sore groin? Yea, I can fix that.  You're tight in the glute?  Well pull your pants down around your knees and let me take a look."  This trainer is maybe the luckiest human to spend time in Sochi.  He doesn't give two shits if rats are pissing in his hotel bed, he wakes up, smiles, and goes to work.  Tough days.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reigniting a Rivalry

In my weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan with Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington I made some comments regarding Tony Romo. “It's amazing, amazing to watch him choke like that … there's no way that Detroit is gonna drive on you that many times. The only way you're gonna give up that many points is turnovers, right? It was hilarious to watch him throw pick-sixes, too, back to back. I loved it.” The conversation then turned to a hypothetical cage match between Romo and myself, which I insinuated that I would win because of my wrestling background. And now, a joking, lighthearted situation, which in my opinion, has received 15 times the 15 minutes of fame it deserved, warrants my response.

In a league full of glad-handing and ass slapping between competing teams, I actually care about the organization and fan base that has supported me throughout my 8-year career. While I feel an honest respect for all NFL players, I show no remorse in cheering against another team, especially the Cowboys. If it sounded like I was delighted by Tony Romo’s failure last week, I was. Though I have no personal vendetta toward Romo, my feelings for him had nothing to do with me reveling in a divisional foe blowing the biggest 2nd half lead in the history of its proud franchise. Now before the rivalry-igniting defense of my comments, I would like to state a couple of facts:

In a new age where professional athletes can “engage” with their fans like never before, it has become evident that the NFL is an entertainment-based business. Though players earn their worth on the football field, there’s not a player in the league unfamiliar with the media. And as a player who has decided to share my real personality with the fan base, I make a clear choice with expressing my political incorrectness as an entertaining attempt to engage as a real person. I will not apologize if my sense of humor and hint of sarcasm is difficult to ascertain by the more serious NFL supporters. I will never make an apology to any offended Dallas fans and I expect every Redskin fan to cheer at the folly of a Cowboy.

That said, after seeing the frenzy of peevish Cowboy fan banter over the past 24 hours I have to say that the peculiar defense of “America's quarterback” has completely blown me away. From genius talking heads like Skip Bayless and former Maryland great Norman Esiason to the bible thumping twitter bullies, it's very clear that a cult like group of Dallas supporters has emerged to stand in defense of the epic Tony Romo. To them, my tongue-and-cheek opinions scream sacrilege and idiocy. It’s a funny thing, the way simple lighthearted banter can change gears so quickly, but that’s part of the amazing world of sports fanatics. You don’t want me to be boring, but as soon as I’m entertaining I’m crossing a line. You can’t have it both ways.

Finally, those of you that responded on Twitter, you made this easy. Your clumsy charm and the outpouring of the appalling tweets has inspired me to feed the fire of an NFL rivalry that seems in need the more flame. Thank you for caring so much. I genuinely appreciate you making me the number 1 Google search yesterday. I’d like to give a special thanks to those fans who want to choke me out, burn my house down and not only see me endure career ending injury, but break my neck and die. Clearly football is important to you, you are the people who make the NFL what it is!

I’m aware at this point, that I could choose the high road, but a little pettiness makes for much more fun. Plus, I’m assuming if you tweeted you wouldn’t mind a response. I would have loved to spend more time with more responses because it really was fun, but I just picked a couple. Oh and Skip Bayless, I didn’t forget you. I just haven’t decided if I should hoot and holler on air or take the time to write something nice for you. If you have an opinion either way let me know.

For those of you opposed to profanity, I suggest stopping here:
@Krimm9 Chris Cooley is an absolute joke. He is the most overrated player at his position in FB. He should laugh at his career stats, that is funny!
Yea I’m laughing. 427 catches, 4,704 yards, and 33 touchdowns. I’m on my hands and knees.
@kreutzbag303 @thecooleyzone what have you ever done in your career that gives you the right to talk shit to Romo. You're a bum. Fred Davis owns you.
Google me bitch. Also, Fred Davis owns many nice things, but I am not one of them.
@youngnandobaby @thecooleyzone you talk so much shit yet you're garbage now. 2nd string TE struggling to get play time on a struggling offense. #JustRetire
“Shut your mouth. Sh-sh-shut your mouth. You’re just coming off stupid.” I simply referenced my happiness for the outcome of a game. That isn’t “talking shit.”
@thetrovester who TF is chris cooley to rip on anyone? how many rings does he have again? Asshole
Hypocritical statement, but I will flip it just for fun. @thetrovester Who TF are you and how many rings do you have? Genius…
@AhadSRaza I hope you shatter your patella doing ballet with Colt Brennan.
Ahad, I’m extremely concerned with how much my comments bothered you. This definitely wasn’t you most offensive comment and by no means your most idiotic, but I didn’t want to waste more time for the people reading this. Thanks to you I punched the code on my home security system for first time in a long time.
@courtneymahia I want to punch Chris Cooley in his face for slandering Romo like that.
Definition of slander: A malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report. I’m pretty sure slander wasn’t quite the route I choose but I like your fight. If you’re gonna be dumb, ya gotta be tough.
@zachbarton Have lost all my respect for Washington tight end @thecooleyzone. If you talk like a high school nothing that’s all you still are.
Zach, I’m guessing you got picked on a little bit in school. It’s ok, I’m sure you’re a real all-star now. Keep kickin’ ass buddy.
@chestos06 @thecooleyzone and if u are a real man, why challenge someone u out weigh by 40lbs. Be a man and go after Witten or DWare...chump!
Since your twitter picture is of a dog, I’m sure you’re not the worst person in the world. As far as the challenge, I currently weigh 232. The dude weighs 4 pounds less than me, Romo is listed at 228. The challenge seems fair to me. But in the world hypothetical cage matches, if I were “a real man” it probably wouldn’t be Witten I’d challenge; it’d be Brock Lesner.
@brad_hankins @thecooleyzone aka Chris Cooley is a little bitch. I’d fight that goofy dick sucker right now if I saw him
Seriously Brad, I guarantee you wouldn’t. I literally lock down a guarantee. You sounded tough for your friends though. So that’s cool.
@mitchinwitchita if u spent more time practicing than runnin' ur mouth, maybe u wouldn't be on the bench. #66yds #washedup#loser
Not quite sure if you’ve watched any games, but I’m not quite on the bench. I may be on your fantasy bench and that does break my heart a little bit, although it makes me smile that you care enough about me to look up my stats and respond to me.
@yimdawg chris cooley is an asshole.
Simple and to the point, I like it. Many of my friends concur with this.
@srobinson3708 @thecooleyzone what? Are you crying again coozie?
Pretty sure I wasn’t crying. Did you hear what I said or did you just jump at the chance to throw “coozie,” around all willy-nilly on twitter? And I know you’re not looking for any advice, but Penthouse Forum isn’t a solid substitute for a good old thesaurus.
Wow! I thought “coozie” was getting thrown around willy-nilly.
@everlastingxxx You are not worthy to swallow Wittens jizz.
I’m not quite sure what qualifications you need to become worthy? Explain what you had to do to acquire your status?

Ok, so you get it. The responses are getting more and more offensive and I will stop here. If you did send something I ensure you that I saw it. Thanks again and tomorrow should be fun Skippy.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

We Rally for Hope

We have all been touched by cancer in some way ... and we all have the power to make a difference. That's why I have chosen to fight back right here in my own community. The 3rd Annual Cooley’s for the Cure will be held on Monday, October 10. The event will be at Clyde’s in Ashburn. This year proceeds will go to two different organizations:

The IIIb’s - This is a local organization that does amazing things to support women going through cancer treatments.

The Virginia Hospital Center – Reinsch Pierce Family Center for Breast Health. (The video on this website says it all – Tanner and I are guests at the press conference) Amazing, amazing place. They are responsible for saving my life.

Over the past three years, my motto has become “Hope!” We all need to have hope. Live life to the fullest and take advantage of every day. I feel fortunate that I always felt like I had hope. Everyone should be able to have hope.

I hope that you will be able to join me and my family and friends for this wonderful, fun event. Last year it was such a huge success! We had guests including Colt Brennen, Mike Sellers, Reed Doughty, Danny Smith, and more. It’s a great time to hang out, get autographs, purchase items, and win drawings. If you can’t join us, but would still like to donate, just click on the donate link.

Thank you in advance for your support. Together, we will celebrate, remember, and fight back. Nancy Cooley – Cancer Survivor – three years!

This is my story: This year, hundreds of thousands of people will hear the words "You have cancer". On May 16, 2008, I was one of them. On a Friday while driving to work, I received a call from my doctor telling me that I had breast cancer. It was one week before Chris and Christy’s wedding. I had many relatives coming to town that weekend and the next week. Instead of being able to focus on seeing everyone and celebrating Chris and Christy’s wedding, the only thoughts in my head were “I have cancer”. Starting on Monday of the wedding week, my days were as follows: Monday – meeting a breast surgeon and being told that my cancer was Stage 3. Tuesday – meeting a plastic surgeon describing how he could rebuild my body after having the surgery that I would need. Wednesday – having an MRI and PET scan. Thursday – meeting an oncologist telling me about the chemotherapy that I would need to undergo. Friday – the wedding. On Tuesday of the next week, I had an ECHO, heart check, to see if I was strong enough to tolerate the chemotherapy. On Wednesday – I had a small surgery and had a port inserted into my chest for the chemotherapy. On Thursday – I had chemotherapy counseling. On Friday, I had my first chemotherapy treatment, beginning the long process in my journey to treat and beat the evil, fast growing cancer.

My doctors are truly angels! Miracle workers I call them. I want to thank them for the work that they do. They are Dr. Stephanie Akbari, Dr. Steven Davison, Dr. Mary Wilkinson, Dr. Jeffery Moulds, and Dr. Keith Belote. I couldn’t have asked for a more caring team of physicians to help me fight this horrible disease.

I also want to thank my amazing niece, Brooke Brandt, who you all know as the infamous “Beandip”. She gave up four months of her life to take care of me during the chemo and to nurse me back to health after the surgery. She never left my side during this time. She is also an angel on earth!

My good friend, Martha Belote, is also an angel here. She has been with me since day one. Taking me to doctor appointments, sitting at the hospital for hours while I had surgery – up to six now (over 30 hours), taking me to chemo and radiation treatments, covering me at work, but most importantly always being there with good wine and great food.

Thank you to my sons, Chris and Tanner, who are my whole life and the reason that I have the strength to fight this disease. I am so proud of both of them. They are outstanding young men. I want to be around to see my grandchildren and to be a part of their lives. There are many more family, friends, and students that have helped me to have the strength and courage to make it through each day. Thanks to all of you!

I went through four months of chemotherapy, surgeries – six now, and 28 radiation treatments over the past three years. Reconstruction has been ongoing to try to rebuild my broken body. I know that these treatments would not be available without the help of the money raised for research of this horrible disease.

During the past three years, I have met many women who are battling cancer – Kathy, Noel, Regina, Karin, Della, and Kim. These are six women who reached out to me after learning that they had breast cancer. They are all mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives. I’m so grateful that they too have successfully battled cancer so far. There are so many more people, not just women that are battling cancer. We need an end to this madness!!

On Monday, October 10th at Clyde's in Ashburn we are hosting the 3rd annual Cooley's for the Cure event. Even though the last two years were a great time and big success, Events in the City is helping this year, so plan on it being the best yet.

Tickets are $65 dollars and that covers your food, beer, wine, and soft drinks. Doors open at 7 and the event ends at 10. We should have a few players hanging out and some big auction items for purchase. Please use the paypal button to purchase your ticket. After you buy your ticket, print off your receipt and bring it with you to the event. You will get a wrist band at the door. You can purchase your ticket or donate using the buttons below. Thanks for your support!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rally for the Cure 2011

On Monday, October 10th at Clyde's in Ashburn we are hosting the 3rd annual Cooley's for the Cure event. Even though the last two years were a great time and big success, Events in the City is helping this year, so plan on it being the best yet.

Tickets are $65 dollars and that covers your food, beer, wine, and soft drinks. Doors open at 7 and the event ends at 10. We should have a few players hanging out and some big auction items for purchase. Please use the paypal button to purchase your ticket. After you buy your ticket, print off your receipt and bring it with you to the event. You will get a wrist band at the door.

Thank you in advance for your support. Together, we will celebrate, remember, and fight back.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Road Trip to Wyoming

Set off 4 days ago to Wyoming from Virginia. Below, in order, is what we managed to capture. I've been posting on SportsBUZZ, and finally made it to a computer so I could post them here. Now off to do some pheasant hunting.

9:20 am: It's the beginning of a 30 hour journey to Wyoming and its going to have to start with a thumbs up. Ryan will be joining me on this trip and he's already bitching.

9:30 am: First stop 711 to fill up on breakfast.

11:23 am: Made it to Pennsylvania

1:01 pm: Lunch time!

2:29 pm: Made it to Ohio

5:42 pm Indiana!

6:56 pm - Up time!

7:02 pm - thinking about just staying in Chicago tonight and hanging with my buddy Ray

Stopped for dinner last night at the Stone Castle Eagle Tavern in Rockford, IL. Best burger ever!

Day 2 2:47 pm - Driving gloves

Passing the Mississippi River...

Day 2 2:54 pm - Minnesota

Day 2 4:12 pm - Oldest working gas pump in America

Day 2 5:06 pm - Girls gone wild South Dakota.

Day 2 7:13 pm

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fan Mail

I want to start out by thanking anyone who has ever spent the time to send fan mail my way. I now want to apologize to the fans who sent in mail between 2008 and now because you haven't gotten shit back. Luckily the mail is not lost and in a turn of great fortune, I found over 1000 letters packed into a box in my basement today! It takes a long ass time to read 1000 letters, but once I began there was no stopping. I swear I personally read every letter, signed every card and photo. I'm sure a bunch of people are going to be pretty damn surprised to get their letters back in the the mail.

Please consider if you've sent mail and moved in the last three years, I hope you left a return address. Also taken into consideration was the cost of stamps. When received in 2008, the price of mailing a regular letter was .42 cents, which has now went up .02 cents, but no worries, I have covered all return costs. I'm sure the postal employees will enjoy selling me thousands of 2 cent stamps.

Now I would love to share some of the ups, downs, insanity, genius, lunacy, happiness and fanatical excitement that I enjoyed for most of my day.

Again, thanks to everyone for sending me such kind and thoughtful packages. I swear after sorting through every letter there was not one serious negative message. Keep in mind that the mail was no more recent than 2009 so I may get murdered in the next batch.

- If there are any Costanza envelopes I'm going to be f@%ing pissed. Probably shouldn't have, but I licked about 300 return envelopes. I made it through the day so I think I'm good. The peel and stick envelopes are much better. Buy those.

- Quick apology to all the school extra credit letters. I should have written back to you guys. It's awesome that you choose me for a school project and really cool that you wrote to me. I'm sure a ton of time went into that. I'm also sure that I'm gonna miss the semester deadline on return.

- To Austins Big and Tall. Quit sending me 20% off cards. I don't shop there. I'm sure you have good stuff, but fortunately I fit into the last size in all department stores. 38/34 and XL usually works out just fine in Nordstroms.

- To all Real Estate agents. First of all I have an agent, she's awesome. I also have about four houses in the area. No chance am I going to buy the 7.5 million dollar house in your brochure, or any house for that matter. Real estate goes straight into the trash - I'm pretty sure and by pretty sure I mean 99.9% that no house will be sold through a mail in brochure to Redskins Park.

- Katie, would have loved to attend the princess party on 10/24/09.

- Huge thanks to Karen for the $25.00 check to my scholarship fund. I'm sorry I never got that cashed, but don't you worry any longer, I'll void it for you and make sure I donate $25.00 more this year. So thoughtful.

- Emmitt, I will call or at least text Jason Campbell and Santana tomorrow and tell them what's up for you. It's been a long time coming.

- All the thank you letters to me for our breast cancer charities were very nice. So amazing to hear all the stories of these women. Breast cancer is shit. Keep fighting.

- Inmate mail is almost always a first read. I don't know why I'm fascinated by inmate mail, but I think a lot of the guys are. I had a few of those letters and was a little surprised by the text being quite short. Thought they had more time on their hands.

- To all financial advisers. I am well aware the average career of a NFL player is 3.5 years. I'm also certain that I need to continue to save for my future. I've actually formulated a pretty solid financial plan so I won't be needing any more solicitation via my Redskins fan mail box.

- Miranda - Tell your dad what's up for me. It's awesome that he's been a fan for 20 years. Well, 22 years now.

-I would prefer not to receive religious materials. No bibles, no bible DVD's and for the love of god, no Book of Mormons! I have made a very informed decision on my beliefs and am comfortable with my style of life. I don't go throwing "Religulous" DVD's in your front door because you've been saved, so I would just expect the same.

- Received at less than 10 Flat Stanley cutouts. Pretty wild. Sorry guys, Stanley is a home body. He didn't get out for many pictures.

- I should have counted the football cards I signed. No less that 500. If you want cards signed don't send really cool ones. It's hard for me to part with the awesome cards.

- If you want blue sharpie on your autograph please send blue sharpie in the package. If I grab a black one and sit down with a couple hundred letters, I'm not getting up because Steve's collection requires blue. Just the facts.

- I literally could have attended 25 weddings across the country. Congrats to all the brides and grooms circa 2008. It's almost a certainty I would drank too much and embarrassed your family at the wedding. Everyone has seen the picks from my wedding, so it's probably for the best I didn't come. Although I probably won't attend, if you're having a wedding soon, please keep in mind that an invite is in my top 5 favorite fan mail items. I'll leave the address at the bottom. Wes, your football ticket invites were awesome, but tell your wife she looks like a slut in that Cowboys jersey.

- Listened to the CD from the band "Shitt." Not a huge fan of death metal so I can't give a formal opinion either way. Gotta say though, I was pretty pumped to open this package.

- There is no way so many fans have followed my career since I was at Utah State. It's a nice gesture, but lets be honest here, Utah State football isn't a huge draw for the vast majority of NFL fans.

- Professional football players getting naked photos in the mail is a myth. I could have sworn when I started receiving fan mail that I was going to be getting all kinds of nasty shit. Have never seen them. Not just in my box, I have never seen one lude photo. Ever.... Lame.

- William - It's awesome being a pro football player. I always dreamed of playing the game I love as a career and the benefits that go with it are unreal. I love playing for the Redskins.

- Jake - The last fish I caught was a trout. I have a boat and go out on the Potomac a ton, but am the most terrible bass fisherman of all time. I also have the worst fishing luck ever. Now I know everyone who has ever caught a fish is saying that they could take me to their special place and dominate fish, but don't buy into it. If you take me fishing we will catch less fish than you have ever before. Proven with more than 20 excellent fisherman. If you know anyone who has ever fished with me they will verify.

- Please write legibly. It's cute if I can tell you less than ten years old, but if you have such shitty hand-writing that you can't even read it yourself, then just type the letter. It's actually faster. And has spell check. (Which I usually don't use.)

- Thanks for all the Birthday and Holiday cards. My birthday is July 11. Feel free to send me a B-day card anytime. I also love the holiday cards. Nice of people. Family photos are a plus.

- Anyways, it was a ton of fun sharing just a couple of the fan mail topics that I find interesting back to all the fans. There is a ton more, so maybe I'll have to do this again in a couple weeks when I continue to get up to date on the rest of the letter. Thanks again to all the people who took the time to write. I know I'm a little sarcastic about some of the stuff, but it's an honor and a privilege to receive all the wonderful mail.

Finally I would like to end with a couple tips to fan mailing.

1. If you want an autograph it would be best to first include the item you want signed.

2. Include a stamped envelope. - And if you really know me include the extra couple cents, cause it may be that long before I get to it. I will never get an envelope, address and stamp it before sending it on its way home. I guess I'm a jerk.

3. I love receiving fan mail, but you gotta make it look different. I definitely go through the strangest looking letters first.

4. Mail to Chris Cooley at 21300 Redskin Park Drive Ashburn Va 20147.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Cooley Gallery

I have to preface here by saying the blog is going back into full force. I know this is a bit understated, but it's the f-ing truth. I've been inspired to get my shit back together online and start putting some good work back on the market. Well, probably not good work, but at least whatever nonsense I have going on, or whatever weirdo shit I think is funny will be back in action. Also, I know what's below is about pottery, which seems pretty consuming to my resume right now, but it wont all be about making pots. Promise. Some though. A little. Not all.

It's amazing to me that amidst the middle of the offseason I have 3 million things going on. I guess thank god I have some plans when the owners lock us out next week. I knew I went to school for something! Didn't think I would be using what little of an education I received in the exact way I've began, but whatever the hell works I guess. Can't be a meathead football player forever anyways.

Now without sounding like the lamest pottery nerd of all time - which I'm becoming. Making pottery has transformed in to one of the most fulfilling parts of my life. I'm living for this shit right now! Of course it's no 90000 fans at FedEx field, but I may as well name my wheel Chasey Lain cause I'm ridding her pretty hard right now. And for that matter, I guess I'll call the Kiln Jenna.

Oh! And for anyone less informed, I also opened "The Cooley Gallery" in Leesburg Va. this last December. Yea, my own store. "Look at me, I can make money off football too!" No, I actually liked the idea of opening the store so people/fans would be able to see the work I was making. Seriously. Well now seeing converted directly into buying and I have started making pots at an exponential rate. I'm actually pleased the demand has been as high as it has because it's making me into a much better potter. Not to say the early pots weren't ok, but I'm getting pretty damn good.

More catching up soon. Again, I promise not just pottery. Real blog stuff. Whatever that means. But here's a few of the last pieces.

P.S. Expect typos.