Entirely Different Topic: Sad Goodbye to the Redskins' Chris Cooley

This may be of purely local interest here in DC-sports land, but I find it surprisingly saddening and discouraging to see the way the Shanahans pere et fils have let go one of their two most stalwart, always upbeat, soul-of-the-team players, Chris Cooley. The other, who remains, is of course London Fletcher.

I am not eight years old, but if I were I would probably be reacting like this kid.

Mike Wise of the WaPo did an excellent column on why, even though pro sports is and always has been a ruthless and unsentimental business, this move gives so many people such a bad feeling. Cooley was through recent years a notably likable element of a team and an organization that have offered people very little to like. As Wise put it, Cooley has been

the most responsible player on the roster during an irresponsible decade [the Dan Snyder era] in franchise history.

For every bad move, every moment of utter chaos in Ashburn -- for every Albert Haynesworth, Adam Archuleta and all the other bad actors, for every impulsive free agent buy, draft pick or Jim Zorn hire that Snyder regretted, for every tight end or offensive lineman suspended because of a positive drug test -- Cooley became the one, true thing fans could rely on every Sunday.

Before he broke his foot during a game in 2009, he never missed a practice. Before Fred Davis took his job last season while Cooley was coming back from knee surgery, he started 101 straight games.

On the bright side, this does free up a lot of time for me that I might have frittered this fall listening to sports-talk radio or watching games. A classy goodbye appearance by Cooley himself in announcing the news. Good luck and thanks, Chris Cooley.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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