Chris Cooley Spends Tuesday Being A Tour Guide

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I wasn’t sure if there would be a player’s day off this week. I’ve written before about the way the workweek can get reset here — “there’s a Monday night game, so Saturday is Friday” and that kind of thing — and, to account for the long trip westward, Coach Zorn has moved travel day to Friday. So for all I knew, Tuesday would transform into Wednesday to adjust.

Not the case, though. It’s the players’ day off as usual, and Chris Cooley spent a huge chunk of it leading tours through Redskins Park. The tours were just a small part of an event Cooley organized for women battling breast cancer.


The day started with a catered luncheon — pink tablecloths looking unusual on the tables in Redskins park — and then quickly split the women into groups, where they cycled through a variety of stations. Cooley’s tour was one stop. Another was a makeup station, where the women were given a free makeup kit and makeover instruction from volunteers from the American Cancer Society’s Look Good … Feel Better program.

There was a station where the women were fitted for new wigs, and were also given headscarves and turbans.

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And there were also new jeans — nothing to do with fighting cancer, but just because if you’re helping people look good, everyone likes new jeans.

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All the women also received giftbags from the Redskins — including practice-used footballs that Cooley sat there and autographed — and the Lansdowne Resort & Spa donated one-hour treatment gift certificates that were raffled off.

tuesday-giftbags

“We started the website, and part of it was that we really wanted to do something as far as charity goes. Lots of guys have a ‘foundation’ and I guess we could have a general foundation, but we wanted to do cool charitable stuff that we were interested in,” Cooley told me. (He has a gift for making air-quotes audible without having to do the annoying hand gesture.) “And this was definitely something we were interested in.” Just seeing him lead the tours, I believe him. I went into this event as I tend to go into things like this, half-cynical, but it was visibly obvious that this is something Cooley takes very seriously, even as he attempted to downplay his involvement.

“We said we’ll donate the money, and I’ll definitely donate the time,” he said, “and then I have to give so much credit to everyone that works in our Redskins Charitable Foundation and Community Relations department, because the Redskins really set everything up. They contacted everyone and did an excellent job, so that’s a cool partnership that I have as far as doing anything like this. They’re willing to work with me and make it ‘Chris Cooley’s Event’ and do everything for me.”

Jordana Taylor, Programs Manager for both the Foundation and the CR department, tells a different story. “This was one hundred percent Chris,” she says. “He described his idea, what he wanted to do, and funded the entire event.”

It wasn’t just Cooley. As the various tours wound their way through Redskins Park, they ran into Marcus Washington, Antwaan Randle El, Shaun Alexander, and Coach Zorn, and everyone stopped, greeted the women, posed for pictures, and did all that stuff. Coach Zorn even took his time, talked to them, gave them some encouragement, and spoke about friends of his family who had battled the disease.

tuesday-zorn

The woman in the white knit cap in that picture is Jan Eula Burt, one of Cooley’s guests at the event, and she got a particular kick out of talking to Coach Zorn. “Coach was wonderful,” she told me. “I’m a big football fan, so I remember him when he used to play. It was nice that he took time and stopped to talk to us when he’s got a lot on his mind with the game coming up this weekend.”

She also blasted away any lingering shreds of cynicism I had about the whole thing when I asked her what she thought of the day.

“This is my first time going to an event like this, but this is really nice,” she said. “Today is a day, for me, that it was really hard to get out, because it’s a period in my chemo where I’m really low on everything. Now this is my energy. Yesterday I was laying on the couch, just couldn’t move, and this has really been an energy supplement.”

Cooley was characteristically enthusiastic about the day. “Everyone had an awesome time, everyone was really excited to be here,” he said. “I was actually a little nervous last night, but I think it turned out really good. It’s definitely something I would want to do again.”

(UPDATE: A Redskins staffer told me yesterday after this was posted that he had never seen a player as involved with an event, from conception to execution, as Cooley was with this one. On his blog, Chris offers his take on the event, and speaks candidly about what inspired him to create it.)

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23 Responses

  1. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!!

  2. Very nice event. Oh and also, i want that jacket that chris is wearing its bad ass….

  3. That’s a great cause and event to be take part in Mr. Cooley–and thats why my son wears your jersey….not just b/c you’re a great player, but b/c you’re a good person –which is what life is all about–God Bless

  4. My son wears his jersey because he showed his wang on the internet and is married to a hot cheerleader. Go Cooley!!!

  5. great post! thanks!

  6. Good post. GoCooley stay classy!

  7. I love me some Cooley.

  8. Having genuine compassion for fellow human beings and giving of your time and resources is what makes a person human and will attract blessings forever. Hail, Cooley!

  9. What an awesome person you are Chris Cooley! You and the Redskins forever lifted the spirits of those who attended the event! What a wonderful day they must have had thanks to the Redskins!!!

  10. aww wow Cooley is such a great guy! What a nice thing to do. I love how they had free jeans… b/c everyone loves jeans. SO true.

  11. This is so wonderful! Thanks for during this! My prayers are with your Mom and all the ladies that have cancer!

    Your heart is so wonderful keep up the wonderful kind work!

    Melissa

  12. You Rock Chris!!! I too am a breast cancer survivor!

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  13. Your a damn good man Chris , you Make redskins fans all over the world proud .

    Your a hero in my Eyes man

    Go # 47

  14. Just another reason to love Chris Cooley!!!!
    Great job Chris!!!

  15. Chris,

    You are the best, it is so nice to see someone like you do this for someone who feels so alone and scared of what their outcome may be. You made their day, that is for sure.

  16. How awesome of you, Chris! It takes a special guy with a lot of heart to do what you have done for these women. You ROCK!

  17. Sounds like this was a great success! That probably made their day! My mom also had breast cancer so I know that the surgeries, chemo and radiation can be really tough! I admire you for taking the time to bring some joy to these womens’ lives! :0)

    Hail to the Redskins!!

  18. NICK, Agreed! Where can one purchase that track jacket????????

  19. Thank you Chris Cooley and Redskins for hosting such a fun event, for woman have endured so much! I’m sure it was very exciting for them. You really seem to have an idea of what is important in life.

  20. Hey Chris

    As an active Team In Training Member for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (trying to help raise money for blood cancer research), I know the importance of helping make a difference.

    What you did Tuesday for those women is inspiring!

    Thank you for helping make a difference and giving back to our community. Keep up the great work!

    PS- My three little girls are your biggest fans:-))))

  21. yo where can I find that jacket Cooley were rocking at this event??? I actually saw it this morning on Redskins Gameday and started looking for it online. Ended up having to google “chris cooley redskins jacket gameday” and ended up on this blog. Haven’t seen it anywhere else.

  22. not a Redskins fan at all.. but Cooley is a class act, and any team would be lucky to have a player like that — both on and off the field.

  23. I have THAT JACKET and HAT!!!! Yes! Chris Cooley swaaaagggg!!!!

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