Redskins tight end Chris Cooley was released before final roster cuts this preseason, seeking an opportunity to start in the NFL, a role he has enjoyed since Week 1 of his rookie season.
After two months as a free agent, he will finally be granted that wish, re-signing with the team to replace injured starter Fred Davis, who tore his Achilles tendon last week in New York.
"I feel very fortunate," he said after signing. "Fortunate for me that I get to play where I wanted to; fortunate for them that I waited."
Cooley said he ran sprints and lifted weights to stay in shape, fielding offers from other teams.
While he knew he was still capable of playing, Cooley said his ideal situation was here in Washington.
"I thought a lot about playing other places, but I didn't really like the idea of moving, and making that change at this point of my life," Cooley said. "I feel very fortunate that I didn't go play somewhere else, because this is the opportunity that I wanted.
"I'd be kicking myself right now if I was in another city right now and this came up."
Cooley said he was driving when he heard Fred Davis's injury on the radio. While he was disappointed for his friend and former teammate, Cooley said he was excited to be the next man up.
"I was disappointed for Fred [Davis] and the way that that happened, the type of year he was having and the player that he is," he said. "But I'm excited to be a part of this team."
When the team plane touched down at Dulles International Airport, head coach Mike Shanahan gave him a call.
"I trust Chris. We're excited to have him," Shanahan told the media. "I asked him what type of shape he was in. He said he was in pretty good shape. I asked him if he would like to come back. He said he did.
"If he says he's in good shape, he's in good shape. Hopefully he can help us this next week."
The Redskins have had production from the tight end position under Robert Griffin III, who looked to Davis as an outlet in the read option offense.
Going on the road to battle the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, Cooley said he felt confident in his ability to adjust to the new-look offense.
"It's been unreal watching [the Redskins] come together as an offense and not be there," he said. "But it's a good opportunity for me to come in, and I think it'll be a lot of fun for me.
"I'm in good shape, and I'll step right back in and play."