Chris Cooley’s future cloudy

Veteran tight end under contract through 2013

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Coach Mike Shanahan won’t have to decide anything about Chris Cooley’s future with the Washington Redskins for several months, but he’s optimistic the veteran tight end still has some productive years left in him.

“I’m hoping to have him back playing at a very high level,” Shanahan said.

The Redskins placed Cooley, 29, on the season-ending injured reserve list Tuesday because his surgically repaired left knee continues to be problematic. He had to have fluid drained from it two weeks ago.

The broken left index finger he suffered Oct. 16 was going to keep him out for several weeks, anyway, so he agreed to be shut down for the year and focus on getting his knee healthy.

Renowned orthopedist James Andrews evaluated Cooley’s knee earlier this week.

“He thought it was in the best interest of Chris to go on IR,” Shanahan said. “Give it a little rest, give him a chance to rehab it, not overpush it like he has been doing. Obviously he took the doctor’s advice, and we agreed with it.”

Cooley, an eight-year veteran and fan favorite, is under contract through 2013. The Redskins would save approximately $2 million against the 2012 salary cap by releasing him before June 2, but they would incur approximately $4.2 million in dead money in that scenario.

Second-year tight end Logan Paulsen replaced Cooley as the No. 2 tight end last Sunday against Carolina. His two receptions for 48 yards were his first catches of the season.

“He’s such a good influence on me just in terms of his preparation and his knowledge of the game,” Paulsen said. “Hopefully, I can take some of that information that he’s given me and apply it to this weekend.”

Fletcher’s streak at risk

London Fletcher’s streak of 214 regular-season games is in serious jeopardy this week because of the hamstring injury he suffered in the fourth quarter against Carolina last Sunday. He did not practice Wednesday.

“It’s a long way between now and Sunday,” Fletcher said. “Just continue to try to get better and see how I feel.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber’s 215-game streak is the longest among active players. Tampa Bay has its bye this week, so Fletcher would move back into a tie if he plays.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall (hip), tackle Trent Williams (right ankle) and backup quarterback Rex Grossman (pneumonia) also missed practice. Grossman was released from the hospital yesterday and was expected at Redskins Park on Wednesday evening to watch film, Shanahan said.

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