Jerricho Cotchery's Story Is One We Should Listen to

Brian FitzsimmonsContributor IMay 29, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Jerricho Cotchery #89 of the New York Jets runs a reverse against the Buffalo Bills on November 2, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. New York 26-17. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Though we’re subjected to many stories pertaining to sports stars these days, Jerricho Cotchery’s is one we should truly listen to.


Growing up as the second-youngest of 13 children in a poor family, the New York Jets wide receiver learned the hard way to work toward achieving his goals.


Things wouldn’t get any easier as he grew up. As a matter of fact, he suffered through the most trying time of his life in 1998, while he was in high school.


One night after competing in basketball practice, a 16-year-old Cotchery and his best friend, Brian Talley, got into an automobile accident. Talley was thrown from the car and died moments after the crash.


Cotchery lost a lot of blood through several cuts on his arms, hands, and head. To this day, he still has scars caused by the remnants of shattered glass.


Perhaps becoming the Jets’ top receiver for the upcoming season doesn’t seem so daunting after all.


If given the chance to learn more about Cotchery’s psyche and professional aspirations, no amount of questions would suffice. However, these came to mind:


1. Looking back on blossoming into a man who achieved his goals, did your difficult experiences as a child help you learn to deal with trials and tribulations on the football field?


2. Witnessing the tragic passing of a dear friend, did that event change your mindset regarding work ethic and the fact that just waking up everyday is a blessing in life?


3. On a similar note, do those experiences remind you that a bad game or dropped pass isn’t life-or-death as some prognosticators sometimes make them out to be?


4. As a former member of the North Carolina State Wolfpack, does it mean a lot to you to have broken several collegiate receiving records previously held by current NFL star Torry Holt?


5. Considering you were a prized star in college, was it humbling to be selected after 107 players in the 2004 NFL draft?


6. You recorded 311 yards and 25 receptions in your first two professional seasons combined. In your third campaign, you registered 961 yards and 82 catches. What helped you take the next step toward stardom?


7. For five seasons with the Jets, you’ve been labeled as a solid secondary receiver. With veteran Laveranues Coles out the picture, do you feel ready to become a top option in the NFL?


8. Having made the playoffs just twice in your five seasons with New York, do you feel you have a good grasp on what it takes to win at a high level in this league?


9. It’s been said a strong defense serves as the best offense. With that in mind, how will new head coach and defensive-whiz Rex Ryan help the Jets take a step in the right direction?


10. Sit back and think about this one for a second. What does Jerricho Cotchery look like as a No. 1 receiver?