Jerricho Cotchery could've returned to Jets but stayed with Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders celebrates with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders celebrates with Jerricho Cotchery during a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. (Aug. 30, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Every NFL player wants to finish his career with the team that drafted him, said Jerricho Cotchery. But ultimately, he couldn't say no to being a Steeler again.

"Once you're a part of this atmosphere, it's hard to go somewhere else," Cotchery, a veteran presence in the Jets' locker room for seven seasons, said of Pittsburgh in a conference call yesterday. "I wanted to come back, and they really wanted me back, so we found a way to get it done."

It'll be "weird" to face his old team Sunday, he said. But Cotchery, who spoke to the Jets during the free-agent signing period, said he has no regrets. "I don't think anyone really knows everything that transpired between myself and the Jets," the wide receiver said, adding that he wasn't "necessarily" close to coming back. "So everything there is just between us."

Coincidentally, Cotchery's last game with the Jets was their 24-19 AFC title game loss in Pittsburgh in January 2011. "That was a tough loss," said Cotchery, who signed a one-year deal with the Steelers after that season. "I thought we would have come out with more emotion and played with a little more sense of urgency . . . It's still something you've just got to live with the rest of your life. The guys over here give me a lot of grief about it. Believe that."

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Jet streams

Jeremy Kerley was named AFC Special Teams player of the week for his 68-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Bills, but the slot receiver woke up with a stiff lower back and did not practice. CB Darrelle Revis (concussion), LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring) and FB John Conner (knee) also did not practice. S Eric Smith (hip/knee), TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), NT Sione Po'uha (back), WR Stephen Hill (calf), CB Isaiah Trufant (ankle) and LB Josh Mauga (rib) were limited.

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