“He knows the history of the team, and he cares about it,” Moseley says. “He’s just a down-home kid who loves the game and loves Washington. He’s good for the city.”
Last season was frustrating for Cooley. New head coach Jim Zorn came from an offense in Seattle in which tight ends were an afterthought, and Cooley found himself with little to do in the off-season’s practices.
“I had to go in and beg for more plays,” he says.
Cooley and Gibbs had gotten along well. The veteran coach, who owns a race-car team, had flown him on his plane to Charlotte, where Cooley became friends with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
But Cooley says Zorn—whom he calls Z or Z-man—is more approachable. “I don’t think I ever spent more than five minutes in Joe’s office talking to him,” he says. “I can sit for an hour in Zorn’s.”
Still, Zorn has shown little patience for Cooley’s antics to break the routine of practice. The coach took Cooley aside one day when he wore tight retro shorts that looked like hot pants.
“Gibbs did not care what you did, what you wore,” Cooley says. “The goofing around—I don’t even know if he noticed. Z is a fan of team unity and everyone being the same. He does not like short shorts; I was directly made aware of that. But it’s not like he’s a jerk about it. He’ll just talk to you.”
During the season, Cooley caught a team-high 83 passes, which again put him among the elite of league receivers. Yet he caught only one touchdown, often drawing two and three defenders as the Redskins neared the end zone.
This year, he’s counting on the team’s young wide receivers, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, to draw more attention from defenses. The team should also be more comfortable with Zorn’s offense.
“I want to be better,” Cooley says. “I want to have a huge impact on our offense and be the guy who can spark a drive and get us going.”
Christy arrives home carrying groceries, her long blond hair spilling over a green sundress. While a Redskins cheerleader, she posed naked for Maxim magazine with only a strategically placed football. In contrast to the brassy photos, she comes across as sweet and a bit shy.
Christy appears in a lot of photos on the Cooley blog. In most of them, she’s wearing clothes. But before their wedding in 2008, Cooley penned a valentine to her and posted snapshots of her topless at the house—in front of the stone façade, in the wine cellar—arms demurely covering her breasts.
Cooley was married to his high-school sweetheart when he arrived in Washington, but they divorced soon after. They’d gotten engaged on a whim and were never happy, Cooley says.
He met Christy when another Redskinette he was dating brought her along to his house one summer Saturday night. She walked in “like she had climbed out of a poster in my high-school bedroom,” Cooley later wrote on his blog. She was “dressed to make men panic.”
Christy Oglevee was a cheerleader at Loudoun Valley High when, as a senior, she made the Redskins cheerleader squad. At 18, she joined USO shows in Iraq, flying in Black Hawk helicopters and sleeping in Saddam Hussein’s palace.
Because the Redskins don’t allow employees to fraternize with players, Cooley and Christy dated undercover. Their first kiss came after a stroll through Fair Oaks Mall. “It was in the parking lot,” Christy says. “Then I went to practice.”
When the Redskins discovered the romance, Christy was fired from the $75-a-game job. Mike Wise of the Washington Post broke the news of their engagement and told of one prenup family outing—father, daughter, future son-in-law, and others—to a West Virginia strip club.
“Everyone knew who Chris was,” Christy told Wise. “The owner came out, they gave us VIP treatment, and all of a sudden I look up and the strippers are dancing to ‘Hail to the Redskins.’ ”
Christy graduated from Loudoun Valley in 2003 and now works at her father’s hair salon in Chantilly. When he’s not at Redskins Park, Chris often spends time painting in a spare room that’s stacked with canvases, many of them landscapes from Wyoming, where he was born. There’s a pottery wheel in the garage—and a collection of half-finished pots.
“I am really good at throwing pots,” Cooley says. “I’m not very good at finishing them. I’ll throw them, I’ll trim them up, and then they just sit.”
Cooley’s parents divorced when he was in grade school. His mother, Nancy, who moved here from Utah a couple of years ago, lives nearby and teaches business at Briar Woods High School in Ashburn.
Cooley says he and his father, Ken, who owns an auto-body shop in Wyoming, are close but that he wasn’t around when Chris was growing up.
“I’m learning man things now,” Cooley says, including how to be Mr. Fix-It around the house. Replacing a light socket, he grounded the wrong wire and sparked an explosion. “We turned the light on and boom!” he says.