One couldn’t finish the season because of health; the other because of drugs. So both Chris Cooley (knee) and Fred Davis (suspension) have something to prove at tight end for the Redskins.
For Davis, he needs to stay clean. The NFL suspended him for the final four games of 2011 after multiple drug tests.
“Lesson definitely learned,” Davis said. “It’s definitely a good feeling to be back out here after missing those games and not being able to help my team. It’s one of those things that shouldn’t happen and definitely won’t happen again in my career.”
Davis said he’s altered his lifestyle since the suspension (something left tackle Trent Williams, also suspended, said he did not do).
“Just not being around it,” Davis said. “It’s not that hard. You choose to be around it. It’s like anything you just have to make sure you make the right choices. This game doesn’t last long and missing four games, it could have been your last four games. So I think of it as that and it’s something I’ll never do again.”
As for Cooley, he understands the situation. He’s 29 years old and coming off an injury-plagued season because of his left knee. And he’s playing alongside a guy in Davis who had a breakout season (59 catches for 796 yards).
“It’s very apparent Fred Davis had a great year,” Cooley said, “and for me to contribute the way I would like to contribute I have a big challenge ahead of me in proving that I’m still the player I think I can be and I’m still the player that I was. That’s something I’m honestly excited about.”
While this offense works well with two pass-receiving threats at tight end, Cooley’s knee and salary cap number for 2012 ($6.2 million) called his future into question and still might. But Cooley said his knee feels good. He also weighs 237 pounds, the lightest of his career.
“I feel the best I’ve felt,” he said. “It’s to the point that I trust I’m healthy. It’s tough to know but I’ve worked hard enough and ran hard enough and I’ve had no swelling.”
According to a team source, the Redskins haven’t approached Cooley about restructuring his contract either. Earlier this offseason one league source said it would be difficult to pay a No. 2 tight end $6.2 million. Also, the Redskins could have a logjam at the position with Niles Paul and third-year Logan Paulsen.
“Any move that’s ever made you wonder what it means for your status,” Cooley said of Paul’s switch from receiver. “What I want to do is show up and play the best I can and show them I’m as good as I can be and go from there. I’ve always felt confident when it comes to playing football.”
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