NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Jerricho Cotchery just didn’t see himself fitting in with the Jets anymore.
So the wide receiver did what he felt he needed to do. Cotchery asked for his release, the Jets obliged — and he went shopping.
Cotchery went through his due diligence, yet there was little doubt where he wanted to be after taking a tour of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp.
“People on the outside looking in might say, well you been (with the Jets) that long, you’re part of the future, but I didn’t really see it that way,” Cotchery said Sunday just before his first practice with his new club. “I think it would have been beneficial for both sides to move on.”
Cotchery caught 353 passes for 4,474 yards and 18 touchdowns in seven seasons with New York, but his role diminished last season. He pulled in just 41 passes in 2010, his lowest total since he became a starter in 2010. He didn’t anticipate more passes would come his way this season, after the Jets signed Plaxico Burress, so he asked to be let go.
“Sometimes, you just realize that it was time, and that’s what it was for me,” Cotchery said. “It was the end of my time with the Jets. It was time to move on, and I really didn’t see myself fitting in there in the future.”
And Jets coach Rex Ryan isn’t the only one eyeing a Super Bowl win.
“I could see myself coming in here and helping them win another Super Bowl,” Cotchery said. “That’s what it’s all about. So, I want to win right now, and the Steelers always have a chance. So, that’s the main reason I signed with the Steelers.”
Cotchery called his contract with the Steelers a “fresh start.”
“After my visit here, I really believed this was the place for me,” Cotchery said. “This was the type of atmosphere that I needed to be in now. Business-wise, you still have to take the visit (to Baltimore), but all along I believed this was the place for me.”
Cotchery agreed to a one-year deal with Pittsburgh last week. The Steelers hope Cotchery’s size (6-foot-1) and versatility will make him an impact player immediately.
“He’s been a good receiver in this league, and hopefully he can bring some of those good times over here with us,” wide receiver Mike Wallace said. “I don’t know if he’s only going to be in the slot, because I think you can put him anywhere.”
He will join a group that includes the blossoming Wallace and gritty veteran Hines Ward, who is coming off thumb surgery. Cotchery could fall anywhere from third to fifth or sixth on the depth chart. He is not concerned as long as he will be given a chance to make a contribution.
Cotchery will likely be thrust into the starting lineup for Thursday’s game against Philadelphia by default. Second-year wideout Emmanuel Sanders continues to recover from a procedure on his foot and isn’t sure when he will return. Throw in concerns about the 35-year-old Ward’s age, and Cotchery is a valuable insurance policy.
“If Hines goes down, you want someone to step in to fill that void and do a very good job at a Hall-of-Fame type level,” Sanders said.
Will Cotchery have the last laugh? Sound off in the comments below…
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