By Peter Schwartz
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When you cover an NFL team, just about anything can happen on any day at training camp. Teams are always bringing guys in, cutting players, and repeating the process.
But on Thursday, the day that the new CBA was ratified and the NFL year officially began, the Jets had one busy day at Florham Park and that included saying goodbye to a good soldier.
Drafted in the 4th round back in 2004, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery spent 7 productive seasons with Gang Green but that era came to an end on Thursday when he was released.
“Guys don’t get to finish their careers here,” said Cotchery. “I thought that Chad Pennington would have been here forever, but one night in the pre-season, he’s gone in the hotel.”
That’s something that comes with the territory in the NFL.
“That’s the way it works,” said Cotchery. “Right now my focus is that I’m ready to play football and that I’m healthy.”
Cotchery was jettisoned amid rumors that the team was about to sign veteran free agent wide receiver Derrick Mason. Entering his 15th NFL season, Mason knows Jets head coach Rex Ryan very well as he spent six seasons in Baltimore, four of them when Ryan was a Ravens assistant coach.
“Derrick is a tremendous competitor,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve seen him launch his helmet in offense versus defense type deals. He’s a super intense guy and I know he wants to win more than anything.”
With the CBA ratified, all free agent signings and all players with new contracts were finally able to hit the practice field on Thursday.
However, as of the start of practice at 4 p.m., the CBA wasn’t ratified so those players with new deals still had to wait. At about 5:05 p.m., Mark Brunell was the first Jets player with a new deal to hit the field. He would throw a deep to pass to wide receiver Logan Payne that Kyle Wilson made a nice play on to deflect away.
The scheduled training camp debut of Jets free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress is on hold. Burress injured his left ankle on Wednesday when he was running routes with Santonio Holmes.
“I was running routes and trying to stay sharp,” said Burress. “I kind of rolled it a little bit. I can go but they’re pulling my back a little bit and telling me to take it easy.”
The Jets want to give Burress and extra day or two of rest so that the swelling can go down.
The injury is not believed to be serious.
LISTEN: Plaxico Burress’ press conference
Thursday’s practice wasn’t just the first one with those players who were finally eligible, but it was the first one that was allowed to include pads.
It was finally business as usual. Almost.
“Training camp the first couple of days has been great,” said cornerback Darrelle Revis. “Guys are just getting back into it, trying to dust the cobwebs off. You have to think, we haven’t played. The last game we played together was the AFC Championship Game so everybody is just trying run through the plays and have good practices.”
Now they just need Burress on the field.
And you can add safety Brodney Pool to that list. He turned down more money from another team to re-sign with the Jets.
Some other notes from practice….
Mark Sanchez threw a 45 yard touchdown pass to his buddy and 7th round pick Scotty McKnight.
In watching the defensive line drills, I was impressed with 1st round pick Muhammad Wilkerson and 3rd round pick Kenrick Ellis. They are powerful and fast. We’ll see!
That’s all for now. Check back soon for more!
Jets fans: how disappointed are you by the release of Cotchery? Let Schwartz know below…