Former New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, commenting for the first time since his surprising release last week, confirmed Sunday that he wanted out because he didn't see himself in the team's plans.
"It was time for a change, time for a change of scenery for myself and the organization as well," Cotchery told the Pittsburgh media. "It was time to move on. Future-wise, I didn't really see myself fitting in.
"People on the outside looking in might say, 'Well, you been there that long, you're part of the future,' but I didn't really see it that way. I think it would have been beneficial for both sides to move on."
Cotchery, 29, was released Aug. 4 after seven seasons with the Jets, and eventually landed with the Steelers. Initially, there was speculation that the Jets cut ties with him because they were pursuing former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason, whom they eventually signed. But coach Rex Ryan claimed that Cotchery had requested to be traded or released.
Once the Jets signed Plaxico Burress, the Jets granted Cotchery's agent permission to seek a trade. There were no takers, in part, because of his surgically repaired back. Cotchery underwent surgery in February to repair a herniated disc, and still hadn't been cleared to practice.
Cotchery, a former 1,000-yard receiver, apparently was unhappy with his role as the No. 3 receiver, behind Burress and Santonio Holmes. He felt a backup role again would hinder his ability to land a contract extension; he was due to make $1.8 million this season from the Jets.
Ryan said Cotchery was in the team's plans and would've made the roster.
There wasn't a big market for Cotchery, who settled for a backup role with the Steelers. He will be the third receiver, behind Hines Ward and Mike Wallace. He could drop to fourth when Emmanuel Sanders returns from a foot injury.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.