Open locker room on “Black Monday” is generally headlined by quiet, somber reflection for the teams and players that don’t make the playoffs.
But for injured players, this is the first time that many of them have been permitted to sit in on team meetings and team functions. Rather than feeling like outsiders looking in, this is an opportunity for these players to stand alongside their teammates and look forward to next season.
“As a player who hasn’t produced for my team for what feels like forever, I’m really excited about starting over and moving forward,” tight end Chris Cooley said. “Today is good for me because it feels like I’m back to the team.”
This was a fairly common sentiment in the locker room today, as injured players like Cooley, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Leonard Hankerson, and Tim Hightower all showed up to meet with coaches and clean out their lockers.
One advantage that the injured players have over their teammates is that they have already reflected on the disappointments of the 2011 season. For Cooley, today was the first day of his preparation for the 2012 season, and it’s something that he was encouraging his teammates to do as well.
“I think a fresh start’s probably good for everyone right now, in terms of record and in terms of what we have going on right now,” he explained. “I don’t think it sounds daunting, we just need to get back to work.”
After a quick shower and change into his sweatpants, he told teammate Logan Paulsen that he was off to go get in a workout. From the sounds of it, we can expect to see Redskins No. 47 back on the field in 2012.