I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Jerricho Cotchery for years now. I hate him, not only because he played for the New England Patriots biggest rival, the New York Jets, but because he always seemed to save his best performances for when he played the Patriots.
But just as much as the Patriots fan in me hates him, the football fan in me loves him. I love the way he goes about his business. The way he is a leader and a coach on the field. And most of all, I love the way he’s willing to do whatever the team asks him to do to win.
This was never more evident than when he made a clutch catch in a game against the Cleveland Browns last year—a diving reception that he made after injuring his back earlier in the play.
This kind of toughness, leadership and propensity for making big catches at the biggest moments in games is what has defined Cotchery’s career in New York.
Basically, he was born with Patriots DNA. Now all we have to do is get him in a New England uniform.
Just like they did with Danny Woodhead, the Patriots could strike gold by picking up a player that the Jets decided was expendable.
Cotchery first came onto my football radar on a Sunday afternoon early in the 2006 season.
I was stuck at a hotel in Naples, Florida. I had already missed the first game that year while I was away from New England. On the second weekend of the season, I was given the gift of the local station carrying the Patriots against the Jets. I couldn’t have been more excited that I was finally going to see my team play.
Then came one Jerricho Cotchery to ruin my world. He made big play after big play, finishing with six catches and 121 yards receiving, including a 71-yard touchdown catch where he seemed to run through the whole team twice over.
Ever since that day, Cotchery has been the one player on the Jets that I would have most liked to see playing for the Patriots.
He’s always been the type of player who put the needs of the team before his own, but now that the Jets have shown him the door, Cotchery will be motivated to prove that the Jets were wrong, and he can still get the job done.
What better way for him to stick it to the Jets then to take his talents to New England and break the hearts of the New York fans like he’s been doing to Pats fans for years now?
Cotchery has said that he always envisioned himself finishing his career as a Jet, being a leader to the young players on the team.
He won’t get a chance to be a team leader and mentor to the younger guys in New York, but he would be a needed addition to a Patriots locker room that has lost many of it’s veteran leaders in recent years.
Plus, like other Patriots pickups over the last couple of weeks, Cotchery should come at a low risk cost. He had back surgery this offseason and is unlikely to get a lucrative long-term contract offer from a team.
The Patriots could pick him up for very little, and if he doesn’t have anything left in the tank, he won’t hurt the team in the long run.
But his upside can be really good.
Cotchery’s skill set would fit seamlessly into the Patriots’ offensive system. He can make the tough catches over the middle, run clean precise routes and has made a living at getting those all important extra yards after the catch.
New England has been given a great opportunity to pick up a good, solid veteran player who can help the team win games.
The fact that he’s an ex-Jet would just make it all the better.
New England fans have spent too long cursing the name of Jerricho Cotchery every time he makes a big catch against the Patriots. Instead, now they have the chance to cheer for him when he makes a big catch for them.