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After two months away, Chris Cooley reports for work

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After two months away, Chris Cooley reports for work

Although Chris Cooley signed a contract 48 hours ago, his return to the NFL became official Wednesday at Redskins Park.

Cooley moved back into his old locker at the team's Ashburn practice facility. He attended position meetings and, as he said, took notes like a "high schooler". He pulled on his cleats, buckled his helmet and walked down to the practice field. 

“It’s great to be back,” he said. “It’s exciting for me. I woke up like a little kid. It’s a normal day of work.”

After eight years of going through the rigors of professional football, Cooley said he enjoyed his brief time away from the game. But he also hinted that he was hoping for another shot, particularly since things didn’t end on his terms when he was released in August.

“I didn’t want to be done when I was done. It wasn’t my choice,” he said. “The time [away] definitely wasn’t a bad time. It was time for me to do whatever I wanted. It was a good break. But at the same time, this is the way I hoped things would have played out for my career. So I’m thrilled to be here.”

Cooley also said the one thing the hiatus made him realize is how popular he remains among among fans. 

“I’ve had unbelievable support from not only our fan base, but our staff, players and everyone in my life," he said. "It’s been pretty unbelievable the way people feel about me and the way people feel about me playing. I can say that the Redskins have made my cellphone very, very popular this year.”

Cooley reiterated that he’s kept himself in good shape. But the 30-year-old also acknowledged that Wednesday's practice will be telling.

“I feel great physically,” he said. “I’m excited to get out on a field and run around and actually play football. You never really know until you start running. Football is a different world than your usual workout. But I think it will be a quick transition.” 

As of Wednesday morning, Cooley said he still hadn’t been told by the coaching staff how exactly he’ll be utilized Sunday in Pittsburgh. But does know this much: he needs to brush up on his terminology in the coming days.

“The verbiage is there for me, and everything that we’ve always done is there,” Cooley said. “But some of our run plays have the longest play calls in the world. So it’s just learning how to pick up all the terms and put yourself where you need to be.”

Cooley said he has quickly settled right back into his old routine. But, he joked, it’s going to take some of his teammates a little time to get used to seeing him around again.

“I think half of them thought I was just here to do my Larry Michael show on Wednesdays,” he said, smiling. “It was like, ‘Hey, you didn’t dress up today.’”

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Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

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Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

RICHMOND - Jordan Reed will start Redskins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

The team's PR informed the media that Reed is experiencing pain and soreness in one of his big toes. The move to PUP was characterized as precautionary and they want to ensure that issues don't linger into the regular season. 

DeAngelo Hall, Houston Bates, and practice squadder Kendal Thompson will join Reed on the PUP list. 

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER

For Reed, an integral part of the Redskins offense, there is a long history of injuries. In 2016, he missed time with a separated shoulder and a concussion.

Before Redskins fans freak out, remember Reed took part in minicamp and looked dominant. The PUP list also allows the Redskins to activate Reed once he's capable of practicing. 

Reed did not take part in voluntary OTAs with the Redskins in May, but was a full participant with the team at June's minicamp. 

Asked about injured players taking part in practice during Wednesday's press conference, head coach Jay Gruden opened up:

I think the injured guys are injured guys. We’re never going to change how we treat them. It’s the trainers’ job to tell us when they can go. I’m not going to keep a guy out of practice just because I think he might be injured. It’s up to the trainers and up to that player to let me know whether they can go or not. But like you said, we do have a luxury of having 88 or 87 healthy bodies where we can practice and function without somebody who is injured. That’s the trainers’ job​.

Expect much more on this development.

UPDATE:

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Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

RICHMOND - Jay Gruden expects the same effort and production from Kirk Cousins, regardless of the now two-year long contract saga between the quarterback and the Redskins.

"The thing about Kirk is you’re never worried about his preparation. It’s not going to vary from day in to day out," the coach said. "He’s not going to come in and be a different guy every day. He’s the same guy every day. [He’s] a great competitor, wants to get better."

Talks between Cousins' represenatives and the Redskins seemed more congenial this offseason, though the result remained the same. Cousins will be paid $24 million this year on the franchise tag, after making $20 million in 2016 on the same tag. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Redskins team president Bruce Allen explained in a statment that his organization made an offer to Cousins that included $53 million guaranteed. Considering the funny money nature of NFL deals, the offer really only guaranteed another season at about $28 million for Cousins before a series of advantageous terms for the franchise. The deal had no chance of completion considering Cousins' leverage.

Still, Gruden thinks his quarterback will deliver. 

"He has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to be coached and it’s fun to coach him."

If Gruden sounds confident in Cousins' ability to compartmentalize, he should. The quarterback did just that last season, passing for nearly 5,000 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

The Redskins, and Cousins, struggled in the red zone in 2016, and that's something Gruden wants to see improved. 

"The contract status will take care of itself eventually, hopefully, but right now it is what it is and we’re happy to have him for 2017."

Long-term deal, or not, it's time for Gruden to coach and Cousins to quarterback.

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