Chris Cooley was sitting in an office break room in Rockville, a few minutes before the start of his daily radio show on ESPN 980. That morning, the former Redskins tight end had power cleaned 350 pounds inside the Redskins Park weight room — the most he had done since he was in college. After being about 15 pounds over his playing weight in January, he was back down to his normal 250.
“I feel [bleeping] awesome,” he said on a recent afternoon.
NFL assistant coaches who have run into him in recent months have seen what sort of shape he’s in, and asked why he isn’t still playing football. It’s the sort of question that can stick with a just-turned-33-year-old radio host.
Because Cooley never actually retired, not formally, anyhow. He couldn’t imagine playing for a team other than the Redskins, and he didn’t want to play for a bargain rate, so he left the game after the 2012 season and started a media career, just a few hashmarks into his 30s.
The typical sports-radio host, though, has a different health regimen than the typical NFL player. By this January, Cooley didn’t like the way he looked, or the way he felt. So he resumed football-style workouts, running pass routes in the Redskins Park bubble, sprinting 20 or 30 yards while dragging a sled loaded with 45-pound weights, jogging down to the Redskins Park weight room to do a quick set or two during his show’s commercial breaks, benching 315 pounds six times in a row.
Now he’s back in shape, and having non-joking conversations with an out-of-town NFL offensive coordinator about playing in the league. And the 33-year old can’t help but wonder: Could he still do it?
“If I went to camp, I could be anybody’s third tight end, worst case,” he said. “I have no doubt. Any team in the NFL, I could be their third tight end. There’s not a question in my mind.”
But Cooley can see both sides of this column, like any proper radio host should. (Your calls, after the break!) He will tell you that he feels like he can still play, and then without taking a breath he’ll admit that every former player believes that same thing. He will tell you he “absolutely” would listen if a team called, and then acknowledge the idea “seems far-fetched to anybody else.” He will talk about how much fun it would be to get out on that field again, and then explain how much he doesn’t want to tarnish his Redskins legacy.
He will describe his feeling during recent workouts and then admit that “this feeling of greatness can only occur in my life for, what, two more years?” He doesn’t want to beg someone for a chance, but he still imagines “somebody calling me and being like we really, really, REALLY, want you; come play.”
Cooley said he loves his job: breaking down film, calling games from the booth and hosting an afternoon drive show. But there’s a certain thrill that comes with playing football, a jolt of life that apparently does not come with debating it.
In football, “you prepare, and then you achieve something great, and there’s this huge adrenaline rush, this huge excitement,” he said. “And it’s so dumb, because it’s just a game, but there’s a great fulfillment. You finish a radio show, and some days you might think ‘That was an awesome show!’ and then everyone walks out of the studio like ‘All right, see you later.’ … The atmosphere, being a part of a team, trying to achieve something, it’s unattainable outside of professional sports.”
In the meantime, he got engaged, had a daughter, and watched countless hours of football tape for his weekly film breakdowns, which remain among the best segments in local sports radio. That process, he said, increased his love and knowledge of the game. Two seasons in the booth also mostly convinced him that his Redskins legacy wouldn’t be spoiled if he spent time running around in some other color uniform. And so?
“So I’ll just say that I want to” play again, he said on the radio a few weeks back. “There aren’t the competitive challenges and the competitive accomplishments to be achieved in [every] job, the feeling of going crazy because you’ve worked to achieve something. And if you think you only have a couple more [chances], why wouldn’t you do it?”
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Doug Gottlieb On Praise For Pat Beverly: ‘What a Joke!’
“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport.”
Pat Beverley of the Minnesota Timberwolves may have used his appearances this week on ESPN to set up a potential career in media, but some just simply weren’t impressed.
You can count Doug Gottlieb among them. Gottlieb said Wednesday that Beverley’s takes on Suns guard Chris Paul and words for Matt Barnes regarding James Harden’s contract didn’t do him any favors for the future.
“Pat Beverley, if you’re going to die on a hill, James Harden’s hill is not the one to die on,” Gottlieb said. “In a week in which you have a chance to carve out a potential career for yourself which is as good, or greater than your NBA career. What a joke!”
Gottlieb added that Beverley also lost people completely “acting like the arrogant NBA athlete that so many assume that NBA athletes are.”
“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport,” he said. “Congratulations, hell of a week and you’re only in day two.”
While Beverley may not have Gottlieb singing his praises as an analyst, the T-Wolves journeyman did get the attention of Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy. Portnoy said if Beverley wanted to do a podcast for the company, he would give him a blank check and hire him no questions asked.
Mick Hubert to Retire After 33 Years As Voice Of Florida Gators
“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew.”
After more than three decades and more than 2,500 games called in Gainesville, Mick Hubert is retiring as the voice of the Florida Gators.
Hubert, 68, will call it a career after the Florida baseball team concludes its regular season this weekend.
Hubert, who’s called numerous Gators national championships across multiple sports in his tenure, said he had been thinking about retiring but finally had peace about it to make the decision.
“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew,” he said. “I had been considering this for a little while. I just had to do some praying about it and enjoy every game.”
The longtime broadcaster is a 2019 inductee into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Hubert said he poured his heart and soul into broadcasts and that hopefully fans recognized that.
“I hope they heard the enthusiasm, and the credibility is important to me,” he said. “You need to be factual and credible, but you need to be enthusiastic. That’s what I always felt. I always wanted to take my audience on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I also wanted to give them enough information so they could paint that picture in their mind.”
Reporter Tells Kevin & Query About NBA Draft Lottery Security Measures
“By the time you’re watching the production on ESPN for the lottery, we already know.”
The NBA Draft is coming up towards the end of June, and the top half of the draft order was set this week in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The lottery adds a level of excitement to the mix because you never know if the team with the best odds for the number one pick will actually get it.
But it’s a whole process that actually unfolds well before it airs on ESPN. Pacers reporter Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files told Kevin Bowen and Jake Query on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis what it was like to have access to the lottery.
“By the time you’re watching the production on ESPN for the lottery, we already know,” he said. “It’s already happened. But we’re locked down, sequestered in a room, a ballroom, can’t leave.”
What was even more interesting to Agness was the fact that even people representing lottery teams were under an embargo until the results aired on TV.
“We had all that good info, but the person that won the lottery for instance couldn’t call and celebrate with their people,” Agness said. “None of us in the room could tweet it out because none of us had our devices.”
Agness added that the league had contingency plans in case the lottery drum failed, if the same team had its ping pong ball drawn, and just about every other scenario you could think of. He said he was very impressed with how the NBA did things.
“It was kind of cool to see how well-run everything was in the end,” he said.