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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