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Former Washington Tight End Chris Cooley: “We are Proud to be Redskins”

Former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley joins Jeff Thurn on Tuesday’s Edition of Overtime.

Cooley (@thecooleyzone) played nine years in the NFL, and caught 429 passes for 4,711 yards, and 33 touchdowns. Currently, he works for ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. Hear him discuss Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III, and the Washington Redskins nickname right here:

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Thurn compares Manziel’s young career to Brett Favre’s career in the early 1990′s when he played for the Atlanta Falcons. Cooley says Johnny is just a kid, but has to consider if this behavior is worth it: 

“He might be comparable to a lot of guys like that (Favre). Joe Montana was another guy that lived his life and had a blast. Loved what he did. He would have been scrutinized by the public because he isn’t this formidable figure to the NFL. People forget that he is a kid and is having fun. He loves what he is doing and is enjoying his life. But you also understand as players, there’s a microscope and sometimes it’s not worth it. To the point where what people actually care about and look into makes some of the fun and the antics not worth it. Almost everyone gets to that.”

Phil Simms, Tony Dungy won’t used the word ‘Redskins’ on television this Fall. Jim Nantz said it’s not his job to take a stance. Cooley, as a former player for the Washington Redskins, adds his opinion on the controversial nickname: 

“It’s such an interesting topic. First of all because you realize you are going to offend somebody. People have said they are offended. But I don’t think the research is being done as to who is being offended and how many people are offended. I actually visited six or seven Native American reservations in the last three months. I’ve talked to Native Americans from 15 different tribes. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to over 2,000 people. Not one person has said the name offends them. The team respects it in a positive manner. There is no way the team is going to say it’s a derogatory term and that’s a joke to think that. It’s never been based on that. The team gets created in 1932. We have four Native Americans. We have a Native American coach. We are proud of the heritage we respect. We are proud to be Redskins. As alumni, we are proud to be Redskins. It’s something we are very proud of and something that Native Americans to a major extent are proud of. The thing that I have kind of learned: we have bigger issues. They have health care, drug and alcohol issues…If you want to spend money and create awareness, help them. Helping a culture that is very proud of themselves by changing the name of a football team, I just don’t buy into that. I buy into the fact you spend the time understanding a lot of these people, they are not offended. You do have to take into consideration. People are offended. People are offended by everything in America right now. You can say anything and spin it so someone doesn’t like it. You are getting to the point where you can’t say someone is fat or you are a religion. Everyone get offended at some point and you try to be as respectful as you can and when you understand where you are coming from, it’s not a problem.”

*Thurn is on ESPN 99.1 everyday from 3 to 6 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @jtespn991, and Sam @samtastad.

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