WASHINGTON — Captain Chaos fought to hold back the tears.
Chris Cooley, the longest-tenured player on the Washington Redskins and easily the team's most colorful character, was saying goodbye.
"I appreciate everything," Cooley said with a sniffle, his voice starting to waver. "I'm sorry. I'm a baby. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. I guess, finally, just to say thank you to our fans. It's been great. Thank you."
The Redskins released their two-time Pro Bowl tight end Tuesday. Cooley is a former Utah State Aggie.
"He helped me get comfortable with this team & this offense. He is a legend in my mind and will be missed. Thank You Chris Cooley," tweeted rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III — and he's only known Cooley a few months.
Coach Mike Shanahan said the decision came down to a matter of playing time. Fred Davis, who had a breakout year in 2011, has emerged as the new starting tight end, relegating Cooley to utility duty as a backup at both fullback and tight end during preseason.
"He wants to start. He wants to play," Shanahan said. "And we'll see if he gets that opportunity."
Cooley, whose Pro Bowl seasons came in 2007 and 2008, was also one of the most expensive players on the team, due $3.8 million in salary this year and $3.85 million in 2013.
"I have every belief that I can play football," he said. "I have every belief that I can be not only a productive player but a starter in this league. I'm very confident in my abilities to continue to play the game. It would be a tough decision for me to put on another jersey. It's something that I really never had to imagine, so for now, I'll take some time and make sure what I do in the future is exactly what I want to do."
WALLACE ARRIVES AT STEELERS FACILITY: With less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Wallace reported to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wallace was at the team facility Tuesday morning. A restricted free agent, he had yet to sign his one-year contract tender worth approximately $2.7 million.
He also will undergo routine medical exams, but will not practice with his teammates until next week.Comment on this story
Last season, Wallace has 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. He has 24 receiving touchdowns in his three-season career.
JETS, RAMS FINALIZE TRADE: The Jets and Rams have completed their swap of struggling right tackles, with New York acquiring Jason Smith from St. Louis for Wayne Hunter.
Both Smith, the No. 2 overall pick by the Rams in the 2009 draft, and Hunter had lost their starting jobs and the trade gives both a chance to rejuvenate their careers elsewhere.
TITANS REMOVE BRITT FROM PUP LIST: The Tennessee Titans have removed receiver Kenny Britt from the physically unable to perform list, though he will not play Thursday night in the team's preseason finale against New Orleans.