Cotchery with the Steelers in 2013.
|No. 82 — Carolina Panthers|
|Date of birth:||June 16, 1982|
|Place of birth:||Birmingham, Alabama|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school:||Birmingham (AL) Phillips|
|NFL draft:||2004 – 4th round – 108th pick|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2014|
|Stats at NFL.com|
High school career
Cotchery graduated from Phillips High School in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a four-year letter winner in football, where he played as receiver and defensive back. Cotchery was named to the All-State team after both his junior and senior years of high school.
Along with his football career, Cotchery lettered all four years of high school in basketball as a shooting guard.
Cotchery played 49 games at North Carolina State. In 2002 and 2003, he was selected to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team. His 200 career receptions, and 15 career games with more than 100 receiving yards broke the school records previously held by Torry Holt. Cotchery is second to Holt at NC State with 3,119 receiving yards and 21 touchdown catches over the course of his career. He and Holt are the only two receivers in NC State football history to have two seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards. During his career, Cotchery tied the school record for most consecutive games with at least one reception in 39 straight games.
Cotchery's 15 career games of more than 100 receiving yards each, ties him for second place in Atlantic Coast Conference history. He also ranks fourth in career receptions and career receiving yards. Cotchery is one of only two receivers in ACC history with 200+ career receptions and 3,000+ career receiving yards (the other is Florida State's Peter Warrick). His 3,319 receiving yards ranks him 33rd in NCAA history and his 200 career receptions tie him for 42nd in NCAA history.
2004 NFL Draft
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 0⅜ in||212 lb||4.54 s||1.59 s||2.68 s||3.92 s||6.95 s||36 in||10 ft 1 in|
|All values from NFL Combine|
New York Jets
In 2004, Cotchery caught six passes for 60 yards in 12 games (with no starts) as the team's 5th receiver. As a kick returner, he had 13 returns for 362 yards (27.8 yard average) and one touchdown.
In 2005, Cotchery entered the season as the fourth string wide receiver, but following an injury to Wayne Chrebet, he moved up the depth chart to third string. In 16 games (with one start), he caught 19 passes for 251 yards with no touchdowns. He returned four kicks for 105 yards (26.3 yard average) and 23 punts for 182 yards (7.9 yard average).
New Jets head coach Eric Mangini promoted Cotchery to be the second starting receiver opposite Laveranues Coles, calling him the "most outstanding player in our offseason program."  Cotchery started for the Jets in week 1 against the Tennessee Titans. He had six catches for 65 yards, and had his first NFL touchdown from quarterback Chad Pennington. During the next week against the New England Patriots, Cotchery had six catches for 121 yards and a touchdown, which included a career-long 71-yard catch, in a 17-24 loss. In week 4, Cotchery had another touchdown catch in a 28-31 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. In week 10 the Jets beat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium 17-14, as Cotchery had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown, moving the Jets to only one game behind the Patriots for first place. In week 12 Cotchery had seven catches with 110 yards in a Jets win over the Houston Texans 26-11. In the following week he had nine catches for 99 yards and a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau field in a Jets win 38-10. The Jets were 7-6 after week 14, but they got hot and won their last three games to make the playoffs as a wildcard team. The Jets' final record was 10-6. Cotchery ended the regular season with 82 catches (tied for 16th in the NFL) and 961 yards (22nd). Cotchery had 100 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Jets' wildcard weekend loss to the New England Patriots.
Cotchery signed a multi-year extension with the Jets on March 1, 2007. The Jets opened the 2007 season against the team that had kicked them out of the playoffs, the New England Patriots. Cotchery had 6 catches for 57 yards in a 14-38 Jets loss. After the game, closer looks at the game found that the Patriots were videotaping New York Jets' defensive coaches' signals during the game. Later it was called Spygate. In week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens, Cotchery had 7 catches and set a new career high of 165 reception yards in a 13-17 loss. On September 30, 2007, Cotchery had eight catches for 107 yards in a Jets loss to the Buffalo Bills. In week 7, The Jets were playing the Cincinnati Bengals when Cotchery caught his first touchdown reception of the year. He had six catches for 60 yards in the game. At the half of the Jets season, the team was 1-7 and were going through a quarterback controversy between Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens. In week 11 the Jets got a win over playoffs contender Pittsburgh Steelers. It was the biggest win of the season for the Jets, however Cotchery only contributed with 1 catch for 5 yards. Now, The Jets record was 2-8. On Monday, November 26, 2007, Cotchery injured his right index finger during practice, requiring surgery, but managed to only miss one game.
In his first game back after his surgery, Cotchery had six catches for 119 yards as the Jets lost to the Cleveland Browns 24-18. In a week 16 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Cotchery had eight catches for 152 yards with a touchdown, the lone score for the Jets that day. In the final game of the season, which resulted in an overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs, Cotchery had eight receptions for 76 yards. Cotchery had his best season yet, although the Jets' record was a mediocre 4-12 and they were last in the AFC East. Cotchery finished the season with 82 receptions, 1,130 yards, two touchdowns and had a 13.8 yards-per-catch average; all team highs. Former Jets head coach Herm Edwards said he regretted not playing Cotchery more while he was coaching the Jets.
In August 2008, the Jets traded for former Packer and Viking quarterback Brett Favre. In Favre's first start for the Jets against the Miami Dolphins, Favre threw his first touchdown as a Jet to Cotchery, who finished the day with three receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown in a 20-14 Jets win. In a week 4 win over the Arizona Cardinals, Favre threw for 6 touchdowns, including two to Cotchery, who had four catches for 67 yards. In week 11, Cotchery caught five passes for 87 yards in a win over division rivals the New England Patriots moving the Jets past the Patriots for first place in the AFC East. The following week, the Jets beat the undefeated Tennessee Titans 10-0, with Cotchery catching 6 passes and improving the Jets record to 8-3. In week 15, Cotchery had a touchdown catch in a win against the Buffalo Bills snapping the Jets two-game losing streak. The Jets were 8-3 and in first place in the AFC East. The Jets lost four out of their next five games and finished 9-7, missing the playoffs for the second straight year. Cotchery ended the season with 71 receptions for 858 yards, with a 12.1 yards per catch average and five touchdowns. Cotchery played and started in all 16 games.
After the departure of Laveranues Coles to the Cincinnati Bengals, Cotchery became the Jets' primary receiver. In Week 1, Cotchery had six catches for 90 yards in the Jets win over the Houston Texans. In week 3, Cotchery had eight receptions for 108 yards, as well as his first touchdown reception of the season in a win over the Tennessee Titans. Cotchery finished the year with 57 catches for 821 yards in 2009. The Jets finished the regular season with a 9-7 record and made the playoffs as a wildcard. The Jets defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the wildcard round, with Cotchery catching 6 passes for 67 yards. The following week, the Jets beat the San Diego Chargers to reach the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, where the Jets lost 30-17, with Cotchery catching 5 passes for 100 yards.
On April 11, 2010, the New York Jets traded for wide receiver Santonio Holmes and in exchange gave up a 5th round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, pushing Cotchery down to the third-choice wide receiver, behind Holmes and Braylon Edwards. On November 14, 2010, Cotchery had three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown in a 26-20 overtime win over the Cleveland Browns. Cotchery hurt his groin that week and missed the following two games. Cotchery finished the 2010 season with 41 catches for 433 yards with two touchdowns while playing in 14 games. He started five games, the lowest number since the 2005 season. Cotchery was released by the Jets on August 4, 2011.
Cotchery agreed to a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 11, 2011, after he had met with the team at training camp the previous week. On April 12, 2012, he was reported to have re-signed with the Steelers for two more years, agreeing to a deal worth around $3 million.
Between 2011 and 2013, Cotchery appeared in 43 games for the Steelers. He recorded 79 receptions for 1,044 yards and 12 touchdowns.
On March 20, 2014, Cotchery agreed to a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. Cotchery missed week three vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers because of a hamstring injury that he suffered during a practice on September 18.
Through the first four weeks of the 2014 season, Cotchery was the only receiver in the NFL with double digit targets to have a perfect catch rate, recording receptions on all 13 targets thrown in his direction.
Cotchery is the second youngest of 13 children. On May 30, 1998, Cotchery was in a severe car accident and still has scars on his wrists and hands. As of 2008, shards of glass continued to work their way up and out of his skin. Cotchery was born with six fingers on his left hand.
Cotchery married his wife, Mercedes, a month after being selected by the Jets in 2004. The couple adopted their daughter, Jacey, in 2007. and have two sons, Joshua and Nicholas. In the past year the couple adopted another girl, a one-year-old named Journey.
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