Redskins TE Cooley breaking ground in his blog
ASHBURN, Va. -- On April 15, Captain Chaos' groundbreaking blog got a bit too revealing.
Being tax day, Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley decided to post online the check for about $86,000 he was preparing to send to the government. Naturally, he made sure to edit out his personal details.
"I posted it -- but I posted the pre-edited check," Cooley said. "Thousands of people saw my check, my home address, my account number, my routing number, everything. My brother calls me and says 'What are you doing?'
"I had to cancel my whole account, order new checks, do everything. It's not like you can take it back."
Cooley's banking details would appear to be the only personal information he's tried to keep to himself in a blog that enters new territory for a professional athlete's Web presence. "The Cooley Zone" could be described in many different ways -- refreshing, entertaining, a PG-13 look inside the world of an NFL player -- but two adjectives apply above all others: different and profitable.
How profitable? Cooley's early rough estimate: $250,000 by the end of the year, much of it from sponsorships and memorabilia sales. Not bad for a Web site run entirely by three people -- Cooley, his younger brother and a friend -- and created with the simple goal of making enough money to send the brother to medical school.
"We're going to way over-generate," Cooley said. "Everything that I don't give to my brother and my friend, I will donate to charity. I don't have a foundation. I don't have a cause. I don't have something that I care about enough to spend the rest of my life having a foundation. But I feel strongly about giving back."
And different? Name another professional athlete who will write a vivid account of a poker night at his house. ("Cigars, whiskey, and poker are prerequisites to entering the room.")
Or one who would give quite possibly the most detailed account yet of the uncomfortable process of giving a urine sample for a drug test -- complete with slang terms straight from the locker room. ("Normally I feel embarrassed, but then I put myself in the position of the tester.")
Or one who would take revealing photos of his fiance and post them just before the wedding. Cooley caused quite a stir three years ago when word got out that he was dating Redskins cheerleader Christy Oglevee; she was promptly fired from the squad because such associations aren't allowed. ("... Her big paycheck -- $75 dollars a game -- had come to an end, at least the sneaking around was over.")
Or one who would give such blatant hairstyle opinions ("I can't stand dreadlocks. They're dirty, they stink and I think they look stupid.") or would say exactly what everyone else was thinking when the Redskins selected a punter in the draft. ("A punter? Hopefully he can kick the (heck) out of the ball.")
Or one who isn't afraid to stir debate on a relevant NFL topic. ("Rookies in the NFL make too much money.")
Or one who uses words such as "inattentive," "absent-minded" and "procrastination" when listing his top personality traits. No wonder "Captain Chaos" is Cooley's nickname.
"I try to put my personality into what I'm writing," said Cooley, who turns 26 next month. "I feel like it's pretty close."
The blog could be the wave of the future. Longtime NFL lineman Ray Brown, now an assistant offensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills, recalled discussions he once had with the players' union about the revenue potential from player Web sites. He thinks Cooley has found the right formula, even if it does push the envelope.
"It's a great business concept. I'm sure other guys are going to do it," Brown said. "It caters to the demographic he's trying to target. He's a good-looking guy. He's the sex symbol. It's teenage-level content, for sure."
In an interview with the Associated Press, the 6-foot-3, 249-pound Cooley was as candid as his blog.
On how it came about: "We started looking at player Web sites, and they're pretty generic, pretty boring. ... We said if we want to do it, let's do something creative."
On blogging during the season: "The easiest part. Say we play in New York Thursday night. I can take my camera with me and I can take a little notebook and jot down anything that happens in a hotel, at the team dinner before."
On what he won't put in the blog: "I'm never going to say or do anything to embarrass the Redskins. I'm not going to make predictions. I'm not going to say anyone's terrible."
On his life: "Lucky is a great way to describe it."
Cooley's blog draws inevitable comparisons with the Web postings by Washington Wizards star guard Gilbert Arenas, but Arenas' rambling entries have been known to become bulletin board fodder for opponents or have served as a substitute for talking to the media. Cooley says his blog will do neither.
Cooley painstakingly writes every word himself, re-channeling the energy that got him As on his English papers at Utah State, where he was an art major. He said he is concerned that the content of some of his blogs might not be suitable for younger fans, but he pointed out that his football record is clean. Never misses a game. Never misses a practice. Never been in trouble. He's coming off his first Pro Bowl season.
"No concerns about it," Redskins spokesman Zack Bolno said. "Chris' blog is a forum for him to express and share his thoughts with his fans. It's a blog that's very entertaining and insightful."
In an era when athletes jealously guard their privacy, Cooley isn't concerned that he's bucking the trend by opening up so much of his life to the public.
"I'm comfortable with myself," Cooley said. "I'm comfortable with what anyone thinks about me. I feel good to let people know who I am."
On the Net:
Cooley's blog: http://chriscooley47.blogspot.com/
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index