The New York Jets' release of veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery took a unexpected turn late Thursday night. According to head coach Rex Ryan, the decision was made by Cotchery himself, who had grown disenchanted with the franchise.
"It was tough," Ryan said a few hours after the move. "J-Co wanted to ... he asked for a trade or to be released and that's what happened."
After rehabbing from back surgery for the past year, Cotchery entered Jets camp with the hopes of regaining the starting position that was taken from him by Braylon Edwards in 2009. That hope soon crumbled as the Jets' free agency period heated up with the signing of Plaxico Burress and the courting of Derrick Mason.
According to reports, both Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez tried to change the 29-year-old receiver's mind throughout the past few days to no avail. Sanchez in particular hoped they could succeed, explaining, "He's the ultimate teammate and the ultimate competitor. That's why it hurts to see him leave."
As one of the most popular and respected players within the New York locker room, Cotchery was expected by many to remain in New York for the entirety of his NFL career. Now that he is gone, many within the organization are left in a state of disbelief. Regardless, the former-Jet is secure with his decision.
"I've been here a long time and I've seen a lot of things," he said. "I thought Chad Pennington would be a Jet forever, but one night in the preseason, he's gone in the hotel" -- a reference to the August 2008 trade that brought Brett Favre. "I love being a Jet," he continued. "But this happens, man. That's life. I'm ready to move on."
In seven seasons with the New York Jets, Cotchery caught 358 passes for 4,514 yards and 18 touchdowns. He ranks eighth on the franchise's all-time receptions list and ninth in receiving yards
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