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Jets receiver Cotchery gets contract extension

NEW YORK -- Jerricho Cotchery, who had a breakout year with
the New York Jets last season, signed a multiyear contract
extension with the team Thursday.

Cotchery set career highs with 82 catches, 961 yards receiving
and six touchdowns while starting every game for the Jets last
season.

"This was the perfect time to get something done," he said
during a conference call. "I didn't want to try to do anything
during the season where you're thinking about tons of things. It
allows me to continue to just focus on football."

In his third year out of North Carolina State, the athletic
Cotchery combined with Laveranues Coles to form the most productive
receiving tandem in team history. The duo combined for 173 catches
and 12 touchdowns.

"Jerricho Cotchery is the type of player we are looking for
here," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a statement. "He
earned a starting role this year and showed the productivity and
consistency we want at that position."

Terms of the extension were not released by the Jets, and a
message left for his agent, Jack Scharf, wasn't immediately
returned. The 24-year-old Cotchery would have been eligible to
become an unrestricted free agent after next season.

"It was an easy process," Cotchery said. "I wasn't expecting
them to come to me a year early, but they did and it was real easy.
It was a number that I wanted and it had to be fair for both sides,
and it ended up being. I'm thankful we were able to get it done."

Cotchery, drafted in the fourth round in 2004, had 25 receptions
in his first two seasons, playing mostly on special teams --
including returning a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the 2004
regular-season finale at St. Louis. He impressed new head coach
Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in
training camp last summer, and won the job as the team's No. 2
receiver behind Coles.

"I wanted to stay with the Jets the entire time," Cotchery
said. "This is the organization that drafted me and I wanted to be
loyal to them. I wanted to finish my career here because I felt
like the other teams, if they wanted me when I was coming out for
the draft, they would've drafted me. This time around, they won't
have a second chance to get me."

Cotchery was involved in the Jets' two longest plays from
scrimmage last season -- both against New England. He had a 71-yard
touchdown catch-and-run in Week 2, and had a 77-yard touchdown
catch in the playoff loss against the Patriots.

"Jerricho Cotchery exemplifies everything we are looking for in
our players," Mangini said in a statement. "He is smart, tough,
hardworking, selfless, competitive and football is important to
him. During training camp, he took advantage of the opportunity to
compete and became not only a starter but a key contributor to what
the team was able to accomplish in 2006. I am pleased that Jerricho
will remain with the Jets for years to come."

The Jets also officially announced that they released running
back Derrick Blaylock and defensive lineman Bobby Hamilton.