Chris Cooley and Antwaan Randle El: Good Guys

A few people sent me the link to a story in the Frederick News-Post this weekend, about Chris Cooley driving up to Jefferson, MD, (west of Frederick) to visit with Ron Frazier. Frazier is a lifelong Redskins fan who was diagnosed with colon cancer, and a family friend contacted the team to see if they could, according to the article, “give Ron and Kathy one more joyful memory.”

The Redskins asked if it was possible for Ron to visit the team for a practice, but he is no longer able to travel. Instead, Cooley drove to Jefferson from Virginia on Friday after practice to meet the Fraziers. Two dozen friends, family members and neighbors were there. When the neighborhood children heard what was happening, they ran over, too.

Cooley posed for dozens of pictures and autographed everything in sight: footballs; posters; pennants; photos; hats — and, of course, a whole bunch of No. 47 jerseys. He stayed for nearly an hour, answering inside football questions, making small talk and discussing new coach Jim Zorn.

I read the article — it really is a terrific story — and set it aside to include in today’s Redskins links. As I watched the game, though, one particular part of the article came back to me: “Cooley promised to send Ron a keepsake football if he scored a touchdown Sunday.” So that was hanging in the balance, along with the score of the game, as Cooley’s touchdown catch was reviewed.

Then, today, I noticed this in the Washington Times:

Walking out of the Washington Redskins’ locker room after Sunday’s 23-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Chris Cooley clutched the football he caught for his first touchdown of the season, part of a career day for the tight end.

But the game ball wasn’t for him.

Cooley intended to sign the football and award it to receiver Antwaan Randle El, who threw the pass Cooley caught for an 18-yard score.

I found Cooley in Redskins Park today and asked him about it. “I kinda got mixed up, because I told El during the week that I’d give it to him,” he shook his head. “I’m gonna give it to [Frazier]. I’m sure El does not care.”

He also mentioned enjoying the experience as a whole. “It was cool,” he said. “They were saying they have thirteen or fourteen seats in the lower bowl, and they all wear 47 jerseys.”

I asked if he had told El about the mix-up yet; he hadn’t, but I was fortunate enough to be around when he did, and it took Randle El about an eighth of a second to show himself to be every bit as classy as Cooley expected.

“Let me sign it too,” he said, after hearing the story. “That’ll work. That’s real good, actually.”

My recording of the conversation is hard to hear, as I just clicked on my recorder while the two talked, with the microphone not particularly close to either of them, so Cooley’s response is somewhat muddled. “I’ll bring it in this week,” he says, meaning the game ball. Then something muffled about visiting the Fraziers, and then, “He’s a really good guy.” It’s not clear if he’s referring to Frazier or Randle El, and in this case it can probably be safely applied to both of them, and Cooley as well.


15 Responses

  1. Classiest of the class.
    These selfless acts of kindness are pure blessings for all involved.

  2. Truly and amazing and touching story

  3. Awesome story

  4. Absolutely amazing….I love this.

  5. we are lucky to have guys like these on our team…we could have assholes like plaxico burress and t.o.

    good story

  6. thank Joe Gibbs

  7. Character was one attribute that Coach Gibbs always wanted in his players, be draft or trade, he wanted his guys to have it. I think this group of guys have it and then some…

    Thanks for the story Matt, keep up the great work!

  8. I’ve always been a great fan of Chris Cooley, but now I can add Antwaan Randle-El to that list as well. These gentlemen make me even prouder to be a Redskins fan. Hats off to you both!

  9. Cooley and El are perfect examples of what professional atheletes should be. They make me extremely proud to be a Redskins fan and I hope they are both with the team for many years to come.

  10. Proud to be a Chris Cooley fan!

  11. Proud to be a Redskins fan and have such good players!

    Great story Matt and your blog is awsome!!! Much better than any other team´s blog.

  12. In this day of self-centered people let alone NFL types, it is great to see these two players so willing to help someone else. It speaks volumes to who they are as men and people. HIP HIP HOORAY!

  13. I think it is terrific. I have been a fan all of my life-thru good and bad times. I have always had one redskins jersey, 44, John Riggins. I have just bought jersey 47, Chris Cooley, which I promised myself I would get if we beat Dallas!!!!

    How sweet it is

    Best Regards

  14. Are there any Redskins shirts with “HIP HIP HORAY” on them.

  15. Touching story for such a rough sport – Go Redskins!

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