Man, I hate these things. Speaking at someone’s wake … er … wedding is never pleasant. Okay, where should I begin?
It’s easy to see why Chris Cooley is one of the most popular athletes in town. For starters, he might be legally insane. Doubters need only talk to the folks at Cooley’s banking institution of choice in Leesburg, Virginia, where they’re still trying to recover from the time he went to the drive-through window to deposit a check. Not just any check, mind you. No, this particular check on that fateful day was a multi-million-dollar signing bonus with his name already signed on the back. Apparently walking in the building with his biggest paycheck in his young career wasn’t an option, but putting the check into the little thermos-like-contraption and sending the golden ticket to a Pacman Jones’ “Makin’ it Rain” party through the tube was a better idea. Just another day in the life of a semi-mormon tight end.
One of my first chances to talk with Cooley was after a 2005 preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Regardless of how he played in that game, I knew I needed to corner him a get some answers to the hard-hitting type of questions people have come to expect from me — like, “What’s up with the mullet?”
Cooley laughed, caught slightly off-guard. Even though there were dozens of media members in the post-game locker room, it seems I was the only one in the room who noticed the always fashionable hairstyle. He explained that teammates persuaded the second-year tight end to shave his hair into a mullet before the game, and to take it to the next level, Cooley had taken a magic marker and drawn a big, curly mustache on his face just for kicks. When I asked him about it, he kind of shrugged his shoulders and explain that training camp gets old really quick and he wanted to lighten up the mood in the locker room. Mission accomplished.
That was the 2005 Chris Cooley, only embarking on his second season of professional football. The following season, now feeling completely at home, he decided to sport an afro – again, just for the hell of it – that I was fortunate enough to capture in all it’s glory and can be seen at the top of this entry.
Other highlights with our wacky Pro Bowler include Cooley hitting the field for training camp dressed like one of those pricey role-playing hookers only disgraced politicians and Eddie Murphy really get to encounter.
Or arriving to camp with a spiffy buzz-cut look, severely limiting the options when planning on any shenanigans, so to make it up to everyone, he grew a pornstache, for no apparent reason.
And that, my friends, is just the tip.
Cooley was the first NFL player to talk openly about being involved in fantasy football. In fact, he’s on the record for costing himself a fantasy football playoff game because he scored three touchdowns against the hated Dallas Cowboys, only to discover his opponent that week had “Fantasy Cooley,” who scored him more than enough points to send the tight end home empty handed.
And we can’t forget the birth of Captain Chaos. Former teammate/fellow metalhead Brian Kozlowski bet Cooley $100 he wouldn’t introduce himself as Captain Chaos to the St. Louis Rams’ captains before a game. “There were five captains,” Cooley said. “I looked every one in the face and said: ‘I’m Captain Chaos. Nice to meet you.'” Reebok made a T-shirt, and the name stuck. No word on if Koz ever paid up though.
These days, with a firm grasp on the potential gold mind here, Cooley has started his very own Outside Football blog. If you ever wanted to know Chris’ thoughts on a possible jell-o wrestling match involving Cooley and his fiance’ Christy taking on Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson, it’s only a click away.
In fact, his blog is so open and honest that within the last week, Cooley has posted about his pending wedding to the former First Lady of Football set for this Friday and wrote a very well thought out entry on the owner’s decision to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement. He’s enjoying doing it, and more importantly, he’s good at blogging. I had a few moments to catch up with Chris and to ask him about his new roll as a tight end/h-back/blogger. Click here to listen to the full interview.
So now, let’s wrap this thing up with a toast to the man of the hour – everyone please raise your glasses.
“To lesbians and virgins – thanks for nothing.”