Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yode's Corner: Wedding dance floor

This article is dedicated to the wedding dance floor. That simple piece of hardwood brings out the passion in all who cross her on that wedding night. For the bride and groom it starts the fire for the first night of their new union. For the older people in the crowd maybe it might rekindle a spark from times past. For all the single people it is their chance to impress someone special leading to a hookup that all weddings are famous for. The mixing of good music with liquid courage brings out the dancer in all of us.

You have to love the guy willing to try to do the worm, or the moon walk, maybe the running man. The dance moves themselves are priceless; Thriller, the Robot, break dancing backspin, the shopping cart, the sprinkler, the lawn mover, M.C. Hammer slide, and the list goes on and on. My personal favorite, which I performed at the wedding after the J.D. kicked in, "the motorcycle pickup". It's an advanced move which requires two people. The first person, aka the rider, must start up his hog and cruise it around the dance floor looking for that special someone, aka the pickup person, who hopefully is a hot lady looking to jump on and cruise around with you. All these moves are classics in the annuls of dance history. But don't overlook that occasional slow dance for that chance to snuggle up tight. For me the night ended great with my beautiful wife extremely impressed by my powers of dance.

I wish all you wedding goers good luck this upcoming wedding season. And a big cheers to the wedding dance floor, you bring everyone together for a night of fun, celebration, and unity that all will cherish for a lifetime.

Todd Yoder will be a guest author on this blog from time to time. We hope you enjoyed his first post.

Monday, May 26, 2008

TC: The Best Man's take on the Cooley wedding

Some wedding week events were: lots of family fun, bachelor/bachelorette parties, golf for the guys (lots of golf ), girl stuff for the girls, the rehearsal dinner, and finally the wedding story blog (we honestly loved that people read the post). With that said, on to the big day.

When a wedding starts at 4 pm, how do you fill the rest of your day? I picture the bride's day like this: wake up, get a manicure and a pedicure, have your hair done, do your makeup, and hide from the groom. I do know that the groom's day went as follows: picked up tuxes, packed for the honeymoon, paced around, watched groomsmen play guitar hero, paced around, backyard football, and finally driving to the place after some pacing around. The rest of the day seemed like an incredible blur of events.

Here are some highlights:

  • The Reverend decided to kick things off a little behind schedule and almost had to meet with some groomsmen in the back room.
  • The wedding planner now needs high blood pressure medication.
  • People took pictures like free ipod nanos.
  • We ate dinner ala banquet style only better food.
  • There was the cake cut, garter pull, best man speech, and dancing til the lights turned on.
  • After party Karaoke (minus newlyweds)

And now, while we all go back to real life, the happy couple is honeymooning their lives away. I want to say contgrats to both of them. I know they will live a wonderful life together. Special thanks to everyone who helped out with the wedding. It was amazing!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Redskins Cheerleader Turns Redskin Wife

This is a post done for Yahoo yesterday. I took a couple pictures this week for fun and thought they turned out great. Obviously I made a great choice.

Christy stepped through my back door three July’s ago. She walked into the house like she had climbed out of a poster in my high-school bedroom. Past fashionably late, she had given me way too much time to sit and drink and I knew it would be hard not to make an ass out of myself. By the time I was face to face with my favorite Redskins Cheerleader all I could muster was a shrugged shoulder handshake.

It was a summer Saturday night and Christy was thinking about me. I would have never known what she had on her mind, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. She confessed that it wasn’t coincidence that brought her to the house and she was prepared. If looks were bait then I was hooked. She dressed to make men panic, but beyond that she was beautiful. Her smile was incredible and she had something terribly contagious in her eyes. Awkward glances and stares filled the room, and before the night ended I knew that I wanted more.

As a couple early on we were controversial, but entirely smooth. Rumors followed everywhere we went. Keeping a secret became hard when there wasn’t a secret to start. It turned out a picture of the two of us had been leaked to the Redskins. Christy was fired from cheerleading two weeksafter we started dating. Since her big paycheck ($75 dollars a game) had come to an end, at least the sneaking around was over.

As we moved through the season I fell in love with her. We went through a lot of weird stuff, but it never fazed either of us. Maybe her dad brainwashed me one of the nights I passed out at her house, because no matter what happened, I was crazy about her. More likely it was her mom, since I was usually trying to impress the old man by drinking him under the table.

It’s amazing that the last three years together have gone by so fast. I’m getting married this Friday evening. I asked Christy to be my wife nine months ago and I’m a lucky man she chose to be with me. I think she has learned being with a football player is harder than it looks. She is looked through countless times by surrounding football fans, and the funny thing is Christy should be getting the attention. Not to mention she has to put up with my terrible attitude five months out of the year. (Football season)

While I can’t wait to put the ring on I’ve had some resoundingly bad conversations over the last couple of months. Golf may have an uncountable list of ethics, though bothering a complete stranger about getting married is not one of them. First of all I’m excited for the big day, so please don’t feel sorry for me because marriage sucks for you. No I’m not nervous, I don’t want any marriage advice, and yes Christy’s mom is still hot.

From the moment Christy said “yes” the plans began. I have to admit I haven’t been the most avid planning participant, but one thing I was put in charge of was the seating. I’ll say this; it should at least be an interesting night. I’ve had calls from numerous wedding guests, most recently Dan Snyder’s assistant asking what table they could find their seats. Obviously my easiest seating solution, anywhere you can find a chair. I’m not trying to stick Dan with my drunken uncle, but drawing up all those name tags was way over my head.

I’m hoping for a huge night on Friday. We’ve paid for two open bars, and invited nothing short of an “animal house” cast of characters. Although I hope Clinton’s friends (Southeast Jerome) don’t crash the party. After our vows the only promise I will make is to not stuff the cake all over Christy’s face. The rest of the reception is free game. It will certainly be a night to remember.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Will owners opt out?

Rumors that NFL owners will choose to opt out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement set in March of 2006 seem to be coming true. That agreement set guidelines so that if either the owners or the players didn't like their position they would have the option of opting out of the contract. Several owners are suggesting their organizations have become "cash strapped" because of the current arrangement.

It is becoming clear that the disagreement has become prevalent within the "small-market" owners in the NFL. These owners have a problem with the current revenue sharing program where 60 percent of total revenue is given to the players. Owners complain that is too “one-sided.” It is boiling down to several owners thinking they deserve the right to all the money made by their team. It’s their investment right? I mean they put in all the money and all the work.

In the current labor agreement teams have a salary cap of 116 million dollars. If the owners do choose to opt out of the current agreement there is a possibility of an uncapped season in 2010 and no draft in 2011. This means that the teams electing to pay players less today are the same teams that wouldn't be able to afford high end free agents in an uncapped market. The funny thing here is, small-market owners are about to opt out of an agreement that would help their teams in the future. How much of a fighting chance do small-market teams have in 2011 of getting either top ranked college prospects with no draft, or legitimate free agents with no money?

It's unfortunate to me that there are owners who choose not to acknowledge why their team makes money. Two reasons: fans and players. Fans want to see great athletes compete. Fans don’t give a shit who is paying for the team, they just want a team. As a kid my idol was John Elway and the Broncos were my team. I watched closely as John led miraculous comebacks week after week. I cried when they won the Super Bowl. I could have rattled off the entire roster in numerical order yet one person that would not have come to mind, the owner. Taking this a step further, as a current NFL player, I couldn't rattle off more than 6 or 7 current owners.

What it all comes down to is money and the NFL is a money making machine. It has quickly become the most watched and talked about professional sport in America. Its popularity keeps fans entertained year round. Free-agency, the Combine, Draft Day, Mini-Camp, and Training Camp have become as exciting for some people as Game day. Fans can't get enough of their team and because of this revenue in the NFL has sky-rocketed. Yet owners don’t get their fair share?


The NFL is still the richest sports league in the world (the average team is worth $957 million, 7% more than last year) as well as the most profitable (mean operating income in 2006 was $17.8 million on $204 million in revenue).

The 2006 season marked the beginning of six-year contract extensions with the three major networks--a $3.7 billion deal with CBS, a $4.3 billion deal with Fox and a $3.6 billion deal with NBC--that award the NFL with an average of $2 billion a year until 2011.

Do the owners realize that in this profession only a very select group of people can do what we do? There are less than 2000 players on NFL rosters every year. This is my fifth year on the job and I can make one easy conclusion. It is extremely difficult to be great in the NFL. Fans pay to come out because they like to watch great players. The NFL is an enormous entertainment industry and the Players Union easily recognizes that. The Union doesn't feel like what we get isn’t fair, but that the money has been earned by the players.

In my personal opinion an owner should be someone who is truly proud of his team. They should be proud of their players. An NFL team should be more than an investment to its owners. Winning and losing should be more about pride than the money. Unfortunately, as we can sadly see by what is happening with this potential opt out is that owners care much more about the money than having a successful team.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Boogaard vs. Slice

I wouldn't pick a fight with either Derek Boogaard or Kimbo Slice. But picture this: Derek (playing tight end) taking a late hit from Kimbo (linebacker) and the retaliation that would follow. Talk about NFL fight of the year. I feel it would be similar to some of the kicking, stomping, and helmet smashing that occurs in the video below.

To read more on the subject check out The Cooley Zone over on Shutdown Corner and tell us what you think.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Poker Night

The personal anticipation of Saturday’s poker night had been building for months. I bought a new house and moved in November. When we decided what rooms would be what and started buying furniture it was made mandatory that a "Man Room" was created. Cigars, whiskey, and poker are prerequisites to entering the room. At least that was my great plan the day I moved in. Well if anyone is ordering furniture please know this. It will take a long damn time for it to get to your house. If you order an entire houseful of furniture it is going to take even longer. If the poker table is supposed to be there in a month just count on 8 to 10 weeks. Anyways, here we are in May and I finally get to host my first poker night. I was excited as hell.

Although I had been counting down the days until the big game I am not the greatest planner. While I knew there was going to be a poker night, no one else did. So there was some slight concerned when I began asking people on Friday afternoon what their plans were for the Saturday. Actually half my invites were made Saturday morning. Thankfully I have great friends and family and we had a full turnout. Actually more players than I expected showed up and we had to create an alternate poker room for the first half of the tournament.

I know the basics of poker; actually think I'm pretty good. Who doesn't? Really, I feel like I can play any card game and I'm upset if I don't win. The problem with coming up with all the rules for my own tournament was that I was completely over my head. Enter Ryan Boschetti. As far as I'm concerned he is the best gambler I know. I’ve never seen anyone win as at a casino as consistently as he does. He could realistically make his living gambling. We spent a weekend in Atlantic City last year and I saw Boss hit six different slot machines, each for thousands of dollars including a slot payout of $13,000 dollars on a penny machine. Not to mention wins at every single table game in the casino. Needless to say he would be my “rules guy” for the tournament.

Twelve players began the tournament on two tables. Unfortunately after drawing names I was deprived of starting in my own poker room and was forced to start at the dining table. Although it was the alternate room, whiskey and cigars were not only permitted, but enforced. Each player started with 2000 in poker chips (imaginary money) for no-limit Hold'em.

My mentality going into the first table was to just make it back into my beautiful new “man room”. I played conservatively knowing at least one or two people would bet themselves out early in the game. It only took 30 minutes until my table had broken down to four players.

I was playing like a champ, strangely staring off with a serene expressing trying to mask all the terrible hands I was getting. Early on it was a lot of two's and sevens, but I was hanging right in the chip count. My big hand finally hit; King/Queen of spades and I doubled the bet. I casually watched another King and two spades come out on the flop. Everyone went out but Tim, and me. Tim being the man I had already considered next to leave our table. As the cards played out, I not only knew Tim didn't have the hand I did, but felt he was bluffing. I offered him an early out telling him not to lie about his two shit cards (probably 9/3 off-suit). "Bluffing isn't lying," Tim chuckled. "I would never lie to you." So I rewarded his bluff with a sideways smile and confidently pushed all my chips into the heart of the table.

Tim's irresponsible play awarded me a spot in the coveted man room. After a brief whisky break, we sat down, raised the blinds, and resumed play. The hands started out very serious and I continued to draw garbage hands. I removed myself from the intensity of the game and sucked down a couple more drinks. Since I couldn't get a hand to stay in the game I had to fill my time some other way. At this point killing a drink wasn't uncommon for anyone left at the table. You would think that anyone who loved liqueur would use it sparingly in times like these. Inebriation takes the best out of any poker player.

My focus on the game began to slip. We now had the stereo out and singing had become a more popular event than poker. There’s no way to get a good read on someone's hand when the entire room is screaming the chorus of "Livin on a Prayer." It was amazing that the final table had wound down to four players and there was more concern for "Shot Through the Heart" than winning the cash.

It was 10 o’clock and I figured it was time to make my move or bounce. I drew my first two cards, a Jack/9. By this point in the night that seamed like the perfect go all-in before seeing anything else hand. I chose to belittle my concern when I found out the rest of the table wasn't scared of a conflict. Shoulda known better, but I was easily bounced from the game when Boschetti posted 3 tens.

At the end of the day 4th place was fine by me. I managed to hang out and watch the rest of the game, which lasted a whole ten minutes. Apparently everyone was ready to win or go home, but all in all the night was a blast.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

In other news

Sorry that this is going to be another quick one. As I mentioned yesterday, I was a guest on Blog Show, enjoy.

Also, in case you missed the call in on EITM here is the clip. Please check out The Cooley Zone over on Shutdown Corner. I am having a blast writing those posts so I hope you enjoy reading them. We also got some new replithentic jerseys for sale in our store. There are only 50 and I will write anything you want on them.

Be my guest, check out my package

How do I end up in a bathroom stall at the Borgata with my pants around my knees while a man named Bill stares at my penis? Earlier that morning I had made over ten phone calls to three different people before arranging the final details of my afternoon meeting. After meeting up with Bill we wasted no time as we casually strolled through the men's room doors. The two of us quickly snuck passed the corridor of urinals toward the last stall; it was our best bet for going unnoticed. Luckily it was unoccupied and we moved right in.

Not many words were said in the stall. Both of us were completely comfortable with the procedure. Bill took out the package, but I was the one who had to break the seal. I ripped open the plastic container, finally revealing a short plastic cup, the one to capture my random urine sample.

I had known Bill was going to show up around four in the afternoon so I was well prepared. After drinking 5 or 6 cranberry juices I couldn't wait to piss, but I figured that was a good thing. I couldn't risk having stage fright in that type of situation. I mean, what would I have done? Chat it up with Bill over a couple of beers while he stared at my junk.

I had thought I had an original story, but was mistaken. It didn't take many interviews before finding out most players on the team had some kind of crazy urination story. Rock Cartwright was thrown into the same situation as me. "I was standing in the middle of the bathroom in the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas and the dude says ‘Just do it in front of the urinal.’ Forget the stall; I was standing ass out in front of a urinal with some guy peeping around my shoulder," says Rock.

Clinton Portis was called for a test in the middle of a party at his mother's house. Shouldn't have been a big deal to head up to the bathroom and take care of business. The problem started when the side door to the bathroom connected to his mother's bedroom. It must have been so embarrassing to have you mom walk into the bathroom with your pants down and package in hand while another man closely watches.

The procedure for the NFL steroid testing is very exact. Obviously it doesn't discriminate where the test occurs, but more importantly the steps taken to collect the sample. When a player is drawn for a random drug test it must happen within 24 hours. It doesn't matter where that player is the NFL will have someone track you down. If a player cannot give a sample of urine it is counted as an automatic fail, thus the uncomfortable situations.

To begin a test a player must show some form of government issued identification. The I.D. is never taken for granted by the test giver. It doesn't matter how recognizable the player is, they must produce valid identification. In other words, Peyton Manning is going to take out his license before he is granted permission to spill some urine.

After being ID’ed the player is given a line up of identical urine cups. All of the cups are factory sealed in plastic, but it feels like an important choice in life when making the cup selection. "Let’s see what’s inside cup number three Bob. Oh look, we got a winner." After the cups the player gets to continue his selection process with the official anabolic steroid testing paperwork. It's surprising why the cup and paperwork isn't just handed to you.

Once the selection process ends the player must wash his hands before the real fun begins. Who knows what someone could put all over their fingers to tamper with the results? The testee then takes his shirt off and moves into the bathroom stall. At this point the pants must go down below the knees. In my case they usually fall closer to the ankles. I feel like a four-year-old kid standing bare assed in front of the stall while my dad coaches me on, making sure I don't piss all over myself.

Normally I feel embarrassed, but then I put myself in the position of the tester. If someone asks him what he does for a living his only honest j0b description could be "dick watcher." Bill (the tester) has seen an uncanny amount of penises. He must stare closely at all of them making sure there are no “Whizzinators" filling that special little cup. To think, Brett Farve's penis could be the topic of discussion at his dinner table that night, and Bill knows all the details.

On behalf of the NFL and all the drug testers, every test I've ever done has been conducted very professionally and I know most players feel the same way. I am thankful that the NFL is willing to go to such great lengths to collect urine samples from players at anytime. It is ridiculous that players try to sneak in a cycle of steroids in our few months off and with the way the NFL drug tests they make that very difficult for players to do. Sometimes they (tests) just have to occur in uncomfortable situations. Which hopefully I have conveyed in this story, can become quite the tale to tell.

Current Events

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post but with minicamp and OTA’s I haven’t had a lot of time to write. So I guess here are some of the things that have happened lately.

PTI talked about my last Yahoo post and I would like to say thanks for not talking too much shit about me on ESPN. I mean come on Tony, I make it to the pro bowl and the least I can get out of you is “a mid-round pick” with a load of sarcasm. Was that because you “hate” bloggers?

Speaking of blogger hating, I finally watched the Buzz blow up. Buzz, great job showing that you aren’t easily intimidated by us bloggers. If you don’t want the shit pissed out of you anymore, you better check out my writing. I wouldn’t want to “dumb down America” with any of my posts.

Also, I will be a guest on Blog Show tomorrow. Make sure to check it out. And finally, get ready for some good stuff over at Shutdown Corner this Wednesday morning. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Draft Day Q and A

Thanks again for all the great questions. I think I have more fun reading what everyone has to ask me than anyone else does reading my responses. It was pretty hard, but I picked ten of the questions to answer. I tried to stick with the draft type of questions.

1. Who was the first Redskin that befriended me after I was drafted and where did we have a beer at?
The first player I was really friends with was Brian Kozlowski and I guess he was as new to the team as me. We actually became great friends and drank at a lot of bars together. A couple of the first guys that had previously been on the Redskins to talk to me were LaVar Arrington and Patrick Ramsey. After my first day of practice Lavar came up to me and told me I was going to be a great football player. Obviously I was excited.

2. A new draftee just signed their first check. Where do they go?
I think the first thing most guys buy is a new car. It's amazing to me how much young players will spend on automobiles. Bling is another popular item. I bought a Volvo. I guess my check first wasn't that bad ass. Something no one understands about the NFL is that if a players signs a 10 million dollar deal the most he could hope to see is half of that. Teams pay out the money in portions. Say a player's signing bonus is 5 million. It will take at least three years for him to collect that money. It's guaranteed, but it's never all at once. Speaking for myself, taxes take close to 50 percent of my gross salary. Pretty shitty huh?

3. Fred Davis?
I think no more be said in the question. I was as surprised as anyone that the Redskins drafted a tight end this year. We saw Fred Davis as a first round player that had fallen way down into the second round. The Redskins felt like it was way to much value to pass on. As a player I feel like you can never discount having the best 11 guys on the field, so if two tight ends makes up the best 11 guys I'm all for it. I will do everything I can to help Fred become the best football player for the Redskins and I think he will do a great job. All that being said, I feel like the next five years should be Pro Bowl years for me and I would be extremely surprised if my production on the field goes down at all.

4. The Redskins obviously neglected the offensive and defensive line issues. Who will protect Jason Campbell?
It's really hard to expect anything going into a draft. Obviously we needed to add some depth to the lines and we are starting to do that. We did draft a guard who we feel can make an impact for us. We were looking at a defensive lineman in the first round, but didn't feel his value was high enough at the 21st spot. If you need a lineman but no one you like is close to your pick for that value, than you have to take someone else. As far as protecting Jason we have a couple guys coming back healthy (Jon Janson and Randy Thomas). I'm well aware that both have had injury issues, but you never assume great players on your team are going to be injured. We will keep adding depth, but we will be fine.

5. If I was to build my own draft guru what would his or her characteristics be?
I would take Mel Kiper's arrogant, know it all personality and put it into some really hot chick. The girl from the movie Transformers would be great. I would watch the draft all day. Really though, I think it would be hard to imagine any other draft guru besides Kiper.

6. A Punter?
I know really. A punter? Hopefully he can kick the shit out of the ball. I mean he did win the Ray Guy award.

7. Do I have any chance to voice my opinions in the draft?
Players are completely left in the dark when it comes to the draft. Other than showing up for practice and playing we have no voice in the organization. What do teams really care though? We could be gone in a day.

8. What is the weirdest thing you have read about yourself in draft profiles?
The funniest thing I think about the draft profiles is how much people actually make stuff up. When I was a rookie people said that I would be a good blocker and possession type receiver. That my downfall is I could never stretch the field. My current profile says that I'm a bad blocker, but I can catch the ball down field. No one knows what type of player someone can really become.

9. What was the funniest thing I have seen done to a rookie?
My first year in the NFL I watched some of the offensive lineman get a guy really good. First of all, it was a real fight for this to ever happen and if I was ever getting hazed I would just go with it. That said, it's a lot more fun for the "hazers" if they know the person getting hazed hates it. They taped up another rookie and rubbed Icy Hot all over his body. Someone even got a glove and rubbed it in his crack. After the Icy Hot they threw him in the ice tub. One of our trainers got him out after about 20 minutes. That would have really sucked.

10. What is more likely, Chris Cooley getting dreadlocks or Colt Brennon getting a fro.
I didn't know Colt Brennon had dreadlocks, but I can't stand dreadlocks. They're dirty, they stink and I think they look stupid. I thought the white man afro was awesome. I wish my hair would grow faster so I could have it back. I would recommend that look to anyone.