The former tight end and current radio host regrets speculating about McCloughan. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The firestorm surrounding the absence and eventual firing of former Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan started in part because of speculation from former tight end turned radio host Chris Cooley.

Three weeks ago, Cooley speculated that alcohol abuse could be a reason McCloughan was being kept from the media. The comments created something of a firestorm, and on Friday, Cooley addressed them.

“No one told us to do the [original] segment, told me to do the segment,” Cooley said on ESPN 980, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “Can I be more clear on that? We threw out a lot of possible reasons that he could have been silenced. That was one of them. … I used Scot McCloughan’s name and alcohol in the same sentence, and I was wrong. I regret that. I have regretted that. This blew up to be way bigger than I expected it to be, and by the way, it blew up in a report that was in no way shape or form the context that we had suggested. … I’ve apologized to Scot; I feel very sorry that my name’s associated with this. I feel regret that my name’s associated with this. I’ve apologized to the organization.

“You can call me an idiot, you can call me naive, you can call me ignorant, but I didn’t see this entire firestorm that was created,” he continued. “I didn’t. It happened, though. I shouldn’t have mentioned his name and alcohol in any context, especially not me, because of the perception that I have some special access to this team, which by the way, is entirely overrated. … But accusing me of being told to float something is like telling me I’m a stupid idiot. … I wouldn’t create a sinister plan. I was not part of any of this. I swear on anything you want to swear on.”

Cooley also disputed those who said he was using talking points fed to him from the front office as part of a smear campaign against McCloughan, as the radio station he works for is owned by Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

“No one told me to do this,” Cooley asserted. “You can be mad at anyone you want to be mad at for this happening, but let me be really clear on something: Bruce Allen, Larry Michael, Jay Gruden, anybody involved in this organization that I know, no one came to me and said, ‘Hey Chris, can you float some information out there so three weeks from now we can fire the general manager.’ No. It’s insanity. And if it were the truth, they’re insane, because it’s hurt everybody to have my name associated with this.”

Cooley’s original comments were clearly speculative, but he should have known that they’d spark an uproar given how serious an accusation it was and the position he is in with relation to the team.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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