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Cooley wants full-time role H-Back has slimmed up for new year page 2
Cooley ready to run

 Redskins H-Back Chris Cooley caught six touchdowns and became a favorite target for QB Patrick Ramsey last season.
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Date published: 8/11/2005

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Over the first nine games of the season--all of which Brunell started--Cooley caught 11 passes for 96 yards. With Ramsey at the helm through the final seven games, Cooley grabbed 26 passes for 218 yards.

"Chris feels what I feel. I think [our chemistry] came as as much of a surprise to me as it did anyone," Ramsey said. "His hands are as good as anyone's. He can really catch it in traffic."

Cooley finished the year with six touchdowns and showed an uncanny ability to find mousehole-sized gaps in opposing zone defenses.

"I don't think a lot of people were really looking forward to him doing what he did," left tackle Chris Samuels said. "But we all knew what we had back there."

Now the rest of the league knows, too, and Cooley figures to be more than a blip on opponents' scouting reports. That's fine with him.

He's far more comfortable today than he was as a wide-eyed training camp rookie a year ago. He doesn't have to worry about singing in front of the team, getting thrown into ice baths or other rookie hazing rituals. He can focus on football and finding a way to squeeze through defenses on first-and-10 and third-and-long.

He's got a year--and less belly--under his belt, and he's ready to shine.

"The biggest thing for me is I fit in and know my place," Cooley said. "Now I just want to become a major contributor on this team."

To reach ADAM HIMMELSBACH: 540/374-5442ahimmelsbach@freelancestar.com


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