Chris Cooley wonders, out loud on-air, if Redskins GM is dealing with drinking problems again

By Jesse Reed

Something strange is going on with the Washington Redskins and general manager Scot McCloughan, who has been effectively banned from speaking to the media in recent months. Speculating on this issue, former Redskins tight end and current employee of the team as a color analyst Chris Cooley wondered out loud if McCloughan is being banned because he’s struggling with alcoholism again.

“You start to wonder, what the hell is going on here?” Cooley asked, speaking on ESPN 980’s morning drive program (h/t Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post). “And I start to look at this and say, ‘Do we not trust what Scot McCloughan is going to say to the media, and is that why he’s not allowed to talk to the media?’ And if we don’t trust what he’s going to say to the media, why don’t we trust what he’s going to say to the media? Now, if you look at the history of Scot McCloughan, I think the one thing that you’d immediately start to flush out as to why we don’t trust what he’s going to say is that he’s had a drinking problem over his entire career. And so you ask right away, is he drinking?”

Cooley quickly made it clear he was only speculating, noting how hard the team’s scouting department has been working and saying perhaps McCloughan is just too busy to speak to the media, per Steinberg. He also made it clear nobody has told him specifically that McCloughan is being forced to stay quiet.

But then he followed up with all that by continuing to wonder if McCloughan, who admitted in 2014 that he has a drinking problem, is back to his old ways. Because in the past, McCoughan has freely spoken to media.

“Yeah, if he didn’t speak previously, we wouldn’t care whatsoever,” Cooley agreed. “But because of the ban on talking to the media, something’s going on.”

“Yeah, something’s going on,” co-host Kevin Sheehan said.

“And no one wants anyone to know about it,” Cooley continued. “Because normally if there’s something going on, I hear about it. There’s a rumbling, there’s a rumor, there’s something. There’s nothing from Redskins Park on this. Nothing. This is mum, silenced. It is like you do not mention this. No one will talk about this. And I’m not asking about it. I’m sure [other reporters] are, right now. … I’m sure they’re digging and digging and digging and digging. So I don’t want to dig.

“And if you want to keep something a complete secret in the sports and entertainment world, then you have to be ready to have people speculate on it,” Cooley said. “And that’s the position that we’re in, so that’s what we’re going to do. … I say number one, we’ve got to be concerned that he’s in the right state of mind all the time. That he’s not having a couple pops. Have to. He got fired from San Francisco; he got fired from Seattle, both places, because he was drinking.”

Cooley is known for saying outlandish things (like this), so nobody should jump to conclusions here.

If anything, this latest bit of speculation simply amplifies the already very loud orchestra of dysfunction in Washington. Either he’s right, and the Redskins have a general manager who needs help, or he’s wrong and is just stirring the pot to get ratings.

It is awfully strange that McCloughan hasn’t spoken with the media in months, however. And when there’s this much smoke about a situation, there is some sort of fire brewing. Whether it’s related to alcohol remains to be seen, but something is rotten in the state of Denmark, to be sure.