The Washington Times - February 18, 2009, 01:53PM

I’m just back from Chris Cooley‘s scholarship announcement at Blair High School in Silver Spring. Asked by a member of the wildly enthusiastic senior class (one of whom will win a $25,000 scholarship thanks to the Redskins’ standout) if he was better than Dallas’ Jason Witten, his fellow NFC Pro Bowl tight end the past two years.

Cooley hesitated, smiled and said, “I think I’m better. … He doesn’t run after the catch very well.”


In response to another question, Cooley said he didn’t think the Redskins should trade inconsistent quarterback Jason Campbell, who’s heading into his third full season as their starter.

Cooley said he had no advance warning that Rennie Simmons was going to retire when he decided to take his position coach to this month’s Pro Bowl.

“I was glad to spend the time with him,” Cooley said. “We played golf together. It was a good time.”

Cooley, of course, is also excited that Simmons’ replacement, Scott Wachenheim, coached at Utah State where the tight end played from 2000-03.

“It’s pretty cool,” Cooley said. “Anyone he mentions from Utah State, I know. I grew up there [in Logan, Utah]. I watched the games he coached. He seems like a great guy. He’s super-ambitious. I think he’ll be a hard worker and really be prepared for what we’re going to do.”

Other than the Pro Bowl and some vacation time in Hawaii and Las Vegas, Cooley said he has spent part of the offseason creating the paintings (shown here on his Web site) that will be among more than 20 of his works of art that will be auctioned in May. That auction will raise the $200,000 needed to provide the scholarships for a Blair student as well as a senior at each of seven other area high schools.

- David Elfin