- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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.

Extra points

• Rookie receiver Leonard Hankerson is eager to move forward from the mess that followed his first NFL play last week. John Beck threw an interception after expecting Hankerson to run a different route than he actually did. Things unraveled afterward when Hankerson engaged critical fans on Twitter.

“I shouldn’t have even tried to entertain the fans by talking [on Twitter] about that play,” he said. “It wasn’t no fun.”

• The Redskins did not promote sixth-round rookie running back Evan Royster from the practice squad to fill the roster spot vacated by injured starter Tim Hightower. Instead, they signed interior offensive lineman Jonathan Compas and tight end Dominique Byrd to the 53-man roster.

“It’s not frustrating,” Royster said. “I’m just going about it like I go about every week. Every week I’ve been ready to play. That’s not saying I’m going to, but I’m still ready to. That’s kind of what being in this position kind of holds for you.”

• The Redskins signed running back Tristan Davis to the practice squad and released practice squad guard John Malecki.

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