Free-agent Cotchery heading to Pittsburgh
In this Jan. 16 photo former New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery is pulled down by New England Patriots safety Sergio Brown during a NFL divisional playoff football game in Foxborough, Mass. The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to terms with Cotchery, who was released by the Jets last week. (AP photo)
The seven-year veteran was released by the Jets last week. Cotchery gives the defending AFC champions some needed depth at wide receiver behind Mike Wallace and Hines Ward.
Cotchery has 358 career receptions, but his numbers fell considerably last season in New York. He hauled in just 41 passes in 14 games in 2010, his lowest reception total since he became a starter in 2006.
Pittsburgh has been in the market for a bigger receiver. The team failed to sign Plaxico Burress, who ended up with the Jets. The 6-foot-1 Cotchery will be the tallest proven wide out on the team when he joins the Steelers in training camp on Sunday.
Cotchery won’t play in the preseason opener on Friday night against Washington, though his new teammates didn’t wait to welcome him aboard.
“We welcome Jerricho Cotchery (sic)! Any man willing to put his hand in the pile is always welcome!” safety Ryan Clark posted on his Twitter page. “Going to be a lot different from the Jets though!”
Cotchery is hoping for a bigger role than the one he fulfilled in New York last season, where he became a second or third option for quarterback Mark Sanchez. He requested his release earlier this month after the team signed Burress and went after Derrick Mason.
The Steelers have a young core of receivers led by Wallace, who had 60 receptions for 1,257 yards a year ago. Second-year players Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are also expected to contribute this year, though Sanders has been slowed by a foot injury during camp.
There is also some concern about Ward. The “Dancing With the Stars” champion underwent thumb surgery in the offseason and sat out the first week of camp. He will play vs. Washington.