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Will Cooley Leave DC Radio For NFL?

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Chris Cooley was sitting in an office break room in Rockville, a few minutes before the start of his daily radio show on ESPN 980. That morning, the former Redskins tight end had power cleaned 350 pounds inside the Redskins Park weight room — the most he had done since he was in college. After being about 15 pounds over his playing weight in January, he was back down to his normal 250.

“I feel [bleeping] awesome,” he said on a recent afternoon.

NFL assistant coaches who have run into him in recent months have seen what sort of shape he’s in, and asked why he isn’t still playing football. It’s the sort of question that can stick with a just-turned-33-year-old radio host.

Because Cooley never actually retired, not formally, anyhow. He couldn’t imagine playing for a team other than the Redskins, and he didn’t want to play for a bargain rate, so he left the game after the 2012 season and started a media career, just a few hashmarks into his 30s.

The typical sports-radio host, though, has a different health regimen than the typical NFL player. By this January, Cooley didn’t like the way he looked, or the way he felt. So he resumed football-style workouts, running pass routes in the Redskins Park bubble, sprinting 20 or 30 yards while dragging a sled loaded with 45-pound weights, jogging down to the Redskins Park weight room to do a quick set or two during his show’s commercial breaks, benching 315 pounds six times in a row.

Now he’s back in shape, and having non-joking conversations with an out-of-town NFL offensive coordinator about playing in the league. And the 33-year old can’t help but wonder: Could he still do it?

“If I went to camp, I could be anybody’s third tight end, worst case,” he said. “I have no doubt. Any team in the NFL, I could be their third tight end. There’s not a question in my mind.”

But Cooley can see both sides of this column, like any proper radio host should. (Your calls, after the break!) He will tell you that he feels like he can still play, and then without taking a breath he’ll admit that every former player believes that same thing. He will tell you he “absolutely” would listen if a team called, and then acknowledge the idea “seems far-fetched to anybody else.” He will talk about how much fun it would be to get out on that field again, and then explain how much he doesn’t want to tarnish his Redskins legacy.

He will describe his feeling during recent workouts and then admit that “this feeling of greatness can only occur in my life for, what, two more years?” He doesn’t want to beg someone for a chance, but he still imagines “somebody calling me and being like we really, really, REALLY, want you; come play.”

Cooley said he loves his job: breaking down film, calling games from the booth and hosting an afternoon drive show. But there’s a certain thrill that comes with playing football, a jolt of life that apparently does not come with debating it.

In football, “you prepare, and then you achieve something great, and there’s this huge adrenaline rush, this huge excitement,” he said. “And it’s so dumb, because it’s just a game, but there’s a great fulfillment. You finish a radio show, and some days you might think ‘That was an awesome show!’ and then everyone walks out of the studio like ‘All right, see you later.’ … The atmosphere, being a part of a team, trying to achieve something, it’s unattainable outside of professional sports.”

In the meantime, he got engaged, had a daughter, and watched countless hours of football tape for his weekly film breakdowns, which remain among the best segments in local sports radio. That process, he said, increased his love and knowledge of the game. Two seasons in the booth also mostly convinced him that his Redskins legacy wouldn’t be spoiled if he spent time running around in some other color uniform. And so?

“So I’ll just say that I want to” play again, he said on the radio a few weeks back. “There aren’t the competitive challenges and the competitive accomplishments to be achieved in [every] job, the feeling of going crazy because you’ve worked to achieve something. And if you think you only have a couple more [chances], why wouldn’t you do it?”

To read the rest of this story visit the Washington Post where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte

“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”

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Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.

Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin. 

“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”

Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.

“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.

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Sports Radio News

Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”

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The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Sports Radio News

Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”

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John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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