Feb. 11, 2009
LOGAN, Utah -
By Raelle Greer, Utah State Athletic Media Relations
Chris Cooley's life has been an adventure many Aggie athletes wish they could pursue, but only few actually achieve.
Cooley went from playing college football at Utah State University to playing in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins. Cooley started playing for USU in 2000 and ended in 2003 by graduating with a degree in art. Captain Chaos, as his teammates call him, was the first Redskins tight end since 2000 to play in the Pro Bowl, when he stared in the 2008 all-star event, and made a repeat appearance in the 2009 Pro Bowl this past weekend. He has also played in every game since the start of his professional career with the Redskins in 2004. Cooley is ranked third in receptions and second in touchdowns for a tight end. Cooley also married Maxim model and former Redskins cheerleader, Christy Ogleeve, in 2008.
Recently, Cooley took some time to talk about life in the NFL.
How long does it take to recover from an NFL game?
Depends on what kind of hits I take in a game. Sometimes I feel pretty good going back to practice by Wednesday and there are other weeks (usually toward the end of the season) that my body doesn't feel ready to play until game day. I've been really lucky with injuries throughout my career, as I've only missed one practice.
How much more physical is the NFL as compared to college?
I wouldn't say the NFL is too much different. The biggest difference is that every player is bigger and faster, so naturally it becomes a little more physical.
How many hours a day do you work out? What do you do?
In the off-season I spend an hour or two almost every day. I usually take the weekends off, maybe just run on the treadmill a little bit, but it's cool because I have a good time working out. During the season it's hard because practice is a workout in itself, but I try to get in the weight room at least a couple days.
Have you ever played against Kevin Curtis? Any other former Aggies?
I play against Kevin twice every year. It's good to see other Aggies doing so well, and Kevin and I always end up talking throughout the game.
Are NFL offenses complex? How so? How many plays do you have to know?
I think football is easy; it's a game! Really learning an offense is comparable to learning a new language. There is lots of crazy terminology, but once you get the base of it down it becomes pretty simple. In our current offense we will go into a game with 20-30 running plays and 40-50 passing plays. Of course every week is a little different, teams have to change up what there doing, but again, once you get the basics it all comes pretty simple.
Your head coach, Jim Zorn, was an assistant at Utah State, do either of you ever talk about Logan and USU?
We have, I went to all the games he coached as a kid. Charlie Weatherbie was the head coach then, and I remember him climbing up the flagpole in the stadium and celebrating with the fans when we scored. There were some great teams when Coach Zorn was in Logan.
How has playing for the NFL affected your life?
Everywhere I go people know me. It's like walking around the Logan Wal-Mart and recognizing everyone from the town and school, except I don't know anyone. I get a lot of smiles though.
How did you get where you are now?
Everyone is given opportunities to succeed, and I feel like I've always worked hard and made the most of mine. Of course not everyone's opportunity is going to be in athletics, but mine was.
What is your favorite part about playing in the NFL?
My favorite part of what I do is the team. Its great to be 26 and still be part of a bunch of guys that want to act 17, we have a lot of fun. The locker room really is like a family and there are just not very many other jobs that have that atmosphere. Scoring touchdowns in FedEx Stadium isn't bad either.
Was it hard to move from Utah to Washington D.C.?
I thought it would be a big change and that I would be moving from Logan into the city. We actually work about 30 miles away from D.C. and so I moved into a small town called Leesburg. It's a pretty laid back area, and the people have been awesome. So the change wasn't a big deal.
What do you miss most about playing college football?
I just miss the school atmosphere. I miss being a student. There isn't much of a younger group of people where I live so I miss being around campus.
What are your plans for the future?
I just bought 400 acres and a new house in Wyoming, so I'm kind of hoping to retire there. I've always wanted to be a coach, so maybe high school, or whatever my kids are involved in. As far as football, I would love to play five or six more years at the level I have been playing. As long as my body stays healthy, I want to keep playing.
What is it like to be married to a former cheerleader and Maxim model Christy Oglevee? Do you plan on having children?
Christy is awesome. Obviously I think she is so beautiful and that is cool, but she is amazing. She is a great friend and is very cool to hang out with. We do everything together which is awesome. She loves football too! We are really excited to have kids. We talked about doing it soon, but the last couple years of doing whatever we want and taking trips when we want have been amazing. So the kids' thing is going on hold for a little while.
What advice would you give to the current USU football players?
First of all, be proud that you're an Aggie and it's time for a winning season! Have fun while you're playing, everyone will tell you it goes fast, but it goes fast. Don't take for granted why you're in school. Get an education. Being a great athlete is one thing, but an education opens up so many more opportunities.
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