The image of the selfish athlete in Washington D.C. is quickly going the way of the Dodo bird, dinosaur (sadly), and mullet (thankfully).
With nearly one-third of his teammates in attendance last night, Chris Cooley hosted his most successful “Cooley’s for the Cure” rally last night. It wasn’t a matter of guilt or harassment that caused players and their families to show up, however. They really just wanted to be there for their teammate.
“It really shows you the character of this team,” said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. “We’ve had great character guys each year that I’ve been here, but it just continues to get passed down to each new class or generation that comes through the Redskins.”
This is a process that has taken time to grow and mature in the locker room, but it’s finally taking affect. Now that some of the me-first guys are gone and aren’t the focal point of discussion, the good guys can really shine through.
“Y’know, Chris has been affected by breast cancer personally, with his mother,” Alexander added. “I think that’s awesome how he’s just turned that into something positive. It raises so much money for the cause and helps out a lot of people that otherwise wouldn’t get that help, and it’s great to be out here. He’s a great dude, and he’s my boy.”
Alexander also said that his wife, Manjanique Alexander, will be a Team Captain at today’s 4th Annual Survivor’s Celebration at Redskins Park. Hosted by Chris and Christy Cooley along with Tanya Snyder, this event honors 20 breast cancer survivors (All-Stars) in the DMV region, and puts a face on the push for greater awareness.
Wide receiver Anthony Armstrong was also in attendance last night, and echoed many of Alexander’s sentiments.
“Pretty much everyone knows someone that’s been affected by breast cancer,” he said. “Chris Cooley’s mom is a great lady and Chris is a great teammate, so it’s easy to support this.”
Our conversation was put on pause, as we caught sight of the bottom of the 11th inning in the Rangers-Tigers MLB playoff game. With the bases loaded, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam, much to the excitement of Armstrong, a Texas native.
“A granny! I gotta tweet this,” he said. And he did:
But after updating his Twitterverse, his focus came right back to his teammates. “This is a great event, and I’m just happy to be here in support of Chris.”
Cooley even addressed the topic in his speech, jokingly saying, “A huge, huge thanks to my teammates, who are here tonight eating on my tab.”
There’s a definite looseness in this team, but there’s also a developing bond of loyalty that hasn’t been seen for a long time in Washington. For a team that’s had nearly half of its players turn over in the last year, and nearly all of its players in the last three years, it’s amazing to see the level of camaraderie already on this squad.