In continuing our trend of checking in to see how Redskins players, past and present, are spending their offseason, we’re going to take a look at free agent tight end Chris Cooley.
Cooley has been a staple of the Redskins organization for just over nine years. He is the Redskins’ all-time leader for receptions by a tight end (428), a fan-favorite among many crowds, a leader in the locker room, a spokesperson in the fight against breast cancer, and an experienced potter. He’s an all-around good football player and good leader; the kind of guy you would want your daughter to date.
Despite being released by the team back in August, Cooley returned to Redskins Park this past October to help host the fifth-annual All-Star Survivors Celebration in conjunction with the Redskins Charitable Foundation, which he started in 2008. Why? Because he loves the fans, he loves the DMV area, he loves the tradition, he loves his teammates and he loves what the Redskins organization represents.
Following his release, Cooley hit the free agent market and had opportunities to play elsewhere but came to grips with the fact that his career may be over. His passion for the sport lay in the palm of the Redskins organization. He quickly realized that football may not be in the cards unless he was strapping on the pads for a Redskins team which he had devoted blood, sweat, and tears to over the years.
Matter of fact, the tight end bleeds burgundy and gold.
That’s why he decided in December 2010 to invest in art and open The Cooley Gallery, located in downtown Leesburg, instead of returning to his hometown of Logan, Utah. Population: 49,010; a far cry from the Nation’s Capital. The tight end made Virginia his home and pursued his career after football.
The Cooley Gallery is a place where Cooley finds solitude off of the gridiron. He’s not in it for the money (even though he does sell some of his work here), but instead it’s a passion for the 30-year-old tight end.
In a recent interview with Redskins.comTV at a school book reading sponsored by the Redskins Charitable Foundation, Cooley said he’s been keeping busy with his pottery gallery and giving back to causes he believes in.
“I’ve been trying to put together three or four community events,” he said. “It’s been really fun.”
One of the events at his gallery is to help benefit Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA). For his part, Cooley is making 400 ceramic dog bowls to be donated to the foundation.
In fact, Cooley has formed a partnership with Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA), a “non-profit, no-kill shelter that focuses on the rescue and placement of homeless dogs and cats in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC area”.
The Cooley Gallery will donate ten dollars from every pet food bowl sold (handcrafted by Cooley, #47, himself) directly to FOHA to help in the placement of these cats and dogs.
If you would like to support or attend, the event will take place this Saturday, April 27 at The Cooley Gallery in Leesburg.
Though his charity work is noble, his love for ceramics extends far beyond any cause or provision of help. Each piece is custom hand-crafted and represents a love for pottery that’s reflected in each porcelain creation on display in his Leesburg shop.
And for all of you artists out there, you can submit your work to be on display at The Cooley Gallery!
So if you’re ever in the Leesburg area, be sure to stop by The Cooley Gallery and check out some of his handcrafted pottery. You may even get to meet the former Redskins tight end!
You can follow Chris Cooley on Twitter (@thecooleyzone). If you want more, check out his blog at http://chriscooley47.blogspot.com/ or for more information about The Cooley Gallery, please visit http://www.thecooleygallery.com/index.html.
Tags: Chris Cooley, NFL, the cooley gallery, tight end, washington redskins
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