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Jerricho Cotchery released by the Jets

New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (89)

New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (89) runs with the ball during NFL football practice Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Florham Park, N.J. The Jets are scheduled to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game on Sunday, Jan. 23, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans

Jerricho Cotchery seemed resigned to the fact that his days as a Jet are numbered.

Speaking after the Jets’ walkthrough Thursday morning, Cotchery acknowledged that if free agent wide receiver Derrick Mason, who was scheduled to visit the Jets training facility on Thursday, were to pass his physical it would likely mean the end of his seven-year tenure with the only team he has known.

By 4:40 p.m., the Jets had made it official, releasing Cotchery.

“I love being a Jet,” Cotchery said. “The main thing right now is just focusing on moving forward. For me, I’m healthy and I’m ready to play football. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to work out….Everyone wants that dream scenario where they want to play their entire career with one team. But it doesn’t happen that often.”

The 29-year-old Cotchery, who was due a base salary of $1.8 million, had 41 receptions for 433 yards and two touchdowns last season, primarily as the third receiver behind Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards.

With the re-signing of Holmes, the addition of Plaxico Burress and the possible signing of Mason, a 15-year veteran who had 61 receptions for 802 yards and seven touchdowns for Baltimore last season, Cotchery becomes expendable. Much to the dismay of his Jets teammates. 

“J-Co, that’s all he knows is the New York Jets,” Darrelle Revis said. “This is his family, this is where he’s been for his career. To see him go, I know it’s tough for him to leave, I know he doesn’t want to leave.

“He means the world to this organization, from my eyes. For me coming in as a rookie and seeing him and just seeing how he’s improved every year to be one of the top receivers in this league. He doesn’t probably have the numbers as some of the top receivers in the league but he did a lot. He did a lot for this organization. He has a clean record.

"He’s not out here getting in trouble. He’s out here representing himself in the right way. You gotta try to at least reward a guy or keep him on the team as long as you can because those guys, you want to try to replace them but you really can’t, I think.”

As one of the longest-tenured Jets, Cotchery seemed disappointed by the thought of moving on but prepared for the next phase of his career.

“It’s tough when you’ve been with one team for a long time and then you have to move on,” Cotchery said. “Just like you have to make that job change. If you’ve been staying in this one area long, you have to make that job change. It’s a big decision but I’m ready for it.” 

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