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Redskins release Cooley

The SportsXchange

Tight end Chris Cooley was released after eight seasons with the Redskins.

Cooley announced his own release, telling reporters: "It's been awesome. I've been very fortunate to play for a franchise that has embraced me and for a fan base that has embraced me the way that they have. This organization has changed my life in every way for the better, and I appreciate it. I've loved every minute of playing. It's been a good ride."

Coach Mike Shanahan said the move was made now to give Cooley an opportunity to seek a starting job with another team.

A third-round draft pick in 2004, Cooley is a two-time Pro Bowl player but has missed 20 games over the past three seasons to injuries. He is Washington's all-time leader among tight ends with 428 career receptions for 4,703 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Cooley said Tuesday was his final day with the Redskins "for the time being," and Shanahan left the door open for Cooley to return if Fred Davis or Niles Paul is injured.

"We know how much Chris has meant to this organization as well as this community both on and off the football field," Shanahan said. "Since I've come here, he's a guy that I have leaned on quite often with his expertise in the organization."

Cooley said he will weigh his options before deciding whether to sign with another team.

"It's been awesome. I've been very, very fortunate to play for a franchise that has embraced me and for a fan base that has embraced me the way that they have," he said. "This organization has changed my life, in every way, for the better. I've loved every minute of playing here."
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