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NFL tight ends having big seasons

Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley rides off the field with an injury during Philadelphia Eagles game in Landover, Maryland on October 26, 2009. UPI/ Madeline Marshall
Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley rides off the field with an injury during Philadelphia Eagles game in Landover, Maryland on October 26, 2009. UPI/ Madeline Marshall | License Photo

NEW YORK, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The recent leg injury suffered by Washington's Chris Cooley underscores how important the tight end has become in most NFL offenses.

Cooley, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a primary target for quarterback Jason Campbell, suffered a broken bone in his right leg Oct. 26 during the Redskins' 27-17 loss to Philadelphia.

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He underwent surgery Tuesday but said he hopes to play again this season.

Among other tight ends who are primary receivers are Dallas Clark (Indianapolis), Jeremy Shockey (New Orleans), Heath Miller (Pittsburgh), Todd Heap (Baltimore) and Antonio Gates (San Diego).

Through last Sunday, tight ends have 11,280 receiving yards on 1,018 receptions with 87 touchdowns, a record pace through eight weeks.

"They're 6-4, weigh 260-270 pounds and can run," said Baltimore General Manager Ozzie Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end in an outstanding 13-year playing career with the Cleveland Browns. "They can line up tight and block, and you can split them out as a big receiver -- and they do all of it well."

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