Joe Cocozzo

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Joe Cocozzo
No. 68 (Michigan), 63 (NFL)
Position: Offensive guard
Personal information
Date of birth: (1970-08-07) August 7, 1970 (age 44)
Place of birth: Mechanicville, New York
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 300 lb (136 kg)
Career information
High school: Mechanicville (NY)
College: Michigan (1988-1992)
NFL draft: 1993 / Round: 3 / Pick: 84
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 77
Games started: 48
Stats at NFL.com

Joe Cocozzo (born August 7, 1970) is a former American football player. He played professional football as an offensive guard in the National Football League (NFL) for the San Diego Chargers from 1993 to 1997. He also played college football as an offensive guard at the University of Michigan from 1989 to 1992. He was selected as a first-team All-American in 1992.

Early years[edit]

Cocozzo was born in Mechanicville, New York, in 1970. He attended Mechanicville High School.[1] He was a star football player for the Mechanicville Red Raiders.[2] His high school honored him at a 2013 ceremony in which his jersey (#77) was put on permanent display.[3]

University of Michigan[edit]

Cocozzo enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1988 and played college football for the Michigan Wolverines football teams as an offensive tackle in 1989 and as an offensive guard from 1990 to 1992.[4] He started 32 games at right guard -- eight in 1990,[5] 12 in 1991,[6] and 12 in 1992.[7] Cocozzo played for the undefeated 1992 Michigan team that compiled a 9-0-3 record, won the Big Ten championship, and defeated Washington in the 1993 Rose Bowl.[7] At the end of the 1992 season, he was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten player and a first-team All-American.[7][8] He also played in the 1993 Senior Bowl.[9]

Professional football[edit]

Cocozzo was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the third round (64th overall pick) of the 1993 NFL Draft.[1] In July 1993, he signed a three-year contract with the Chargers.[10] He played five seasons for the Chargers from 1993 to 1997. He appeared in 77 NFL games, including 48 games as a starter.[1] He started 13 regular season games at left guard for the 1994 San Diego Chargers that won the AFC Championship Game, but lost Super Bowl XXIX to the San Francisco 49ers.[1][2]

He signed with the Washington Redskins as a free agent in June 1998.[11] He injured his elbow during training camp and was cut with an injury settlement. After rehabilitating for a year, he went to training camp with the New Orleans Saints in 1999. He broke ribs on the first day of training camp when he was hit by a running back. He announced his official retirement before the 2000 season.[12]

Later years[edit]

Cocozzo retired from football after suffering injuries, ultimately undergoing three operations on his left shoulder. When his playing career was over, he returned to Mechanicville and purchased 300 acres adjacent to the Saratoga Battlefield.[12] He later opened a physical therapy business with his wife, Amanda. He and his wife have two sons, Anthony and James.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Joe Cocozzo". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Chargers lose, but Mechanicville wins". The Sunday Gazette. January 30, 1995. p. A1. 
  3. ^ a b Mike MacAdam (November 30, 2013). "Cocozzo will always be 'Just Joe'". The Daily Gazette. 
  4. ^ "Michigan Football Roster Database". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ "1990 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ "1991 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "1992 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  8. ^ "University of Michigan Football All-American: Joe Cocozzo". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Cocozzo: The ex-Michigan star discusses his collegiate and professional career". The Michigan Daily. September 19, 1994. p. 3. 
  10. ^ "Cocozzo, Chargers sign a deal". The Daily Gazette. July 15, 1993. p. C1. 
  11. ^ "Redskins sign Cocozzo". The Daily Gazette. June 2, 1998. p. C3. 
  12. ^ a b Mike McAdam (January 28, 2001). "Cocozzo knows what players are going through". The Daily Gazette. pp. F1, F7.