NFL > From The Jets To The Steelers, Jerricho Cotchery Says It Was Time To Move On

~ Jerricho Cotchery didn’t see himself fitting into the long-term plans of the New York Jets anymore. He didn’t even see himself fitting into their short-term plans. That’s when Cotchery decided it was time to move on. The Jets former wide receiver signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers looking to find success away from Gang Green.

 “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 was expected to be apart of the wide receiver group that the Jets would put on the field in 2011. However he now becomes the 3rd Jets receiver to move on to another team. Free Agent Brad Smith signed with Buffalo and the Jets basically let Free Agent Braylon Edwards end up in San Francisco without so much of a thank you card for his tenure.

 The Jets went out and signed Plaxico Burress, then they signed Derrick Mason and all of a sudden Cotchery was in a familiar position that he was hoping to break away from, the number 3 or number 4 receiver on the team.

 Cotchery has not really had the chance to prove he is a top receiver or even a really good number 2 over a long peroid of time. He’s also coming off back surgery. He’s had breakout years in 2006 and 2007, however his numbers since were on a decline and that reflects the changes the Jets have made on offense during that time.

 The back surgery took away any leaverage Cotchery may have had as a free agent and he ends up in Pittsburgh as the 3rd receiver behind Hines Ward and Mike Wallace. Right now it’s hard to envision anything more from him than being a good possession receiver who can move the chains.

 Cotchery is going to have to come up big if he wants to get a piece of the spotlight he feels had no room for him in New York.

Osi Umenyiora To Return To Giants … Without New Contract.

 ~ The New York Football Giants could use a dose of good news and maybe Osi Umenyiora deciding that he’s ready to play football is a start. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end let the Associated Press know that he will be returning to the Giants and start practicing without the new contract he has publicly been pursuing.

It’s become a very familiar tune for Giants fans whenever Umemyiora starts letting his feelings become known that he wants a better contract. If it’s about respect, he feels the Giants are not giving it to him. According to Umenyiora, they offered to place incentives in his current deal which would pay him $7.1 million over the next two seasons, which he rejected.

“No deal has been reworked,” Umenyiora told the AP. “What has been offered has been unacceptable and shows they don’t really respect the fact I sacrifice my health for the franchise. I will play under my current deal because I love and respect my coaches, my teammates, the fans, and myself. Not for those incentives.”

The keyword in those comments is respect, Umenyiora feels he has not received any. He’s 29 years old and knows that he needs to secure at least one more big-money deal in his career. However, Umenyiora also has been injury prone and has a knee that is questionable at best currently.

Maybe someone in Umenyiora’s corner finally was able to get through to him and let him know that if he wants teams to show him the money, he’s going to have to get on the field and put up the kind of numbers that will earn him that new deal.

 The Giants clearly showed they are not in a hurry to throw money at Umenyiora. They are still loaded at the defensive end position with Justin Tuck and the emerging Jason Pierre-Paul. Umenyiora perhaps sees the writing on the wall that the kind of money he’s looking for can’t be secured from the sidelines complaining to the anyone that is willing to listen to him.

 One of the main gripes Umenyiora has had with the Giants is that he feels their upper management did not keep their word on reworking his contract. We’ll see if he intends to keep his word and play for his teammates, coaches, and the fans.

NFL > The Buffalo Bills Trade Lee Evans To Baltimore Ravens

 

 

~ Lee Evans is on his way to the Baltimore Ravens and if you ask me, the Buffalo Bills did that man a favor. The Bills have traded Evans to the Ravens for a 2012 4th round draft pick, according to ESPN. The seven-year veteran wide receiver will now get a chance to contribute to a team that has a more realistic chance of making the playoffs than he has ever had while in Buffalo.

 

On the outside looking in this deal looks like a steal for the Ravens. However, the Bills needed to move on in the long run. Buffalo is in a major rebuilding phase (if they know it or not remains to be seen) and moving Evans out of there gives them one less headache to deal with as far their salary cap management.

 

Evans is a talented wide receiver with dangerous deep-threat skills and knows how to help stretch the field. He’s also in the prime of his career and going to Baltimore gives him a chance to play some meaningful games in November and December. He’s coming off of his worst season statistically in the pros. However he was also playing for the Buffalo Bills who have spent the last decade trying to solve the huge question mark they’ve had at quarterback.

 

 The Ravens needed to make this move once they found out Evans was available. They let go Derrick Mason and Todd Heap which left hols in their passing attack. Pairing Evans with Anquan Boldin gives quarterback Joe Flacco some comfort and more options on offense.

 

They also get a well respected player in the locker room which is one reason why some of the Buffalo Bills veterans didn’t respond to the news of the trade so well. The perception is that Buffalo is giving up on their season before it even starts by trading away one of their team leaders and it’s a valid perception to have. However, in the highly competitive AFC East, Buffalo knows they need to start properly preparing for the future because right now it’s hard to envision them seriously keeping pace with the rest of the division.

Media > Jerry Rice To Join ESPN As TV Analyst

 

~ Adding the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game to it’s coverage of the NFL is a pretty good idea. Jerry Rice will be joining ESPN as an analyst and will be featured on NFL Live, SportsCenter, and their Audibles show as reported by Sports Illustrated.

Rice has been fine tuning his tv skills by doing analyst work for the BBC television’s coverage of the NFL and also co-hosted Sports Sunday on NBC Bay Area after San Francisco 49ers games during the 2010 season.

It remains to be seen how Rice will do on the national stage as an analyst. I suppose Rice can’t do any worst than Emmitt Smith did when he was at ESPN. While Smith was a great running back, his time as an analyst though … not so much. It’s not for everyone.

Rice isn’t the only new face that will be on ESPN for the upcoming 2011 season. Ex-players Hugh Douglas, Damien Woody, and former Browns and Jets coach Eric Mangini have also been added to the mix.

NFL > Deion Sanders Inducted Into NFL Hall of Fame (Video)

 

~  Deion Sanders can now add hall of famer to his list of nicknames. In a fashion that was only fitting for someone nicknamed “Prime Time”, Sanders was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. The induction speech that Sanders gave was electric and provided a new insight into why he played the way he did.

When I first saw Deion Sanders on my television, he was making his major league baseball debut for the New York Yankees. The Yankees were not pretty good back then and Sanders provided a reason to at least watch them that night. Sanders ended up having a pretty decent baseball career. He was flamboyant, brought a swagger to the teams that he played for, and even though the numbers did not reflect it, he had no problem with believing he was the best on the field. However I never would have thought he’d end up a hall of famer. Sanders would go on to make the Hall of Fame … as a football player.

Sanders provided the template to what a “shutdown” cornerback is in the NFL glossary. If Sanders came away with an interception, all eyes were on the television to see if he would return it for a touchdown. He made the Atlanta Falcons entertaining to watch and then brought that style and swagger to San Francisco and then Dallas which is where he solidified his status as an all-time great cornerback. He was simply put … that good.

 

Because of his confidence and arrogant style of play, Sanders drew his fair share of critics. His induction speech is sure to draw a few critics as well. However, that’s not going to bother Sanders one bit. If that speech showed me anything it’s that no matter what the world had to say about Sanders, he never let it effect his goals to provide for his family and uphold the promises he made to them.

 

To this day Sanders continues to do his way and in typical prime time style.

 

 

Images:  Ben Liebenberg/NFL

 

Video: / YouTube

 

NFL > Giants Lose Another One, Kevin Boss To Oakland Raiders

~ It has not been a camp to remember for the New York Giants. It has not been one to remember for their fans either. Big Blue took another hit to their team’s 2011 outlook when they lost their starting tight end Kevin Boss to the Oakland Raiders. The hits just keep on coming.

Now why would Boss want to use his free agency to end up signing with Oakland of all places? How about $16 million over four years? Thats the reported deal that the Raiders put on the table for Boss to grab.Oakland needed to replace their big-time tight end Zach Miller and Boss was the next best available option. It leaves the Giants without a starting tight end and quarterback Eli Manning without his favorite target.

The Giants are strapped for cash and clearly everyone knows it. However they have to find a way to bring some peace of mind back to their fanbase. They not only didn’t get Plaxico Burress to come back, they end up losing him to the New York Jets of all teams. The Osi Umenyiora contract situation continues to be a headache for them.

Boss leaving may prove to be a huge loss for a team that is going to need as many weapons as they can get to line up against the Eagles. Losing Boss also hurts the Giants on the offensive line, he’s a great blocker. The Giants already have huge question marks on that line following the cuts to Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert.

NFL > Former NY Jet Shaun Ellis Signs w/ New England

~ The border wars over the years between the Patriots and Jets have produced some pretty good headlines The border wars may not have the steam they had in previous years, however the rivalry between the two teams is as strong as ever. Long-time New York Jet Shaun Ellis knows about the border wars and that’s what makes him signing with New England all the more interesting.

According to reports, Ellis and the Patriots agreed to a one-year deal that left Jets head coach Rex Ryan to respond in typical Rex Ryan fashion …

“The fact that he chose them … there’s no way I’m going to wish him well. There’s no chance of that.” … Rex Ryan

Ryan wasn’t completely serious about that, he did wish Ellis to have a healthy season. However, the Jets-Patriots has no love-lost to it at all. Once you crossover to the other side, you’re offically the enemy.

 The Jets are going to miss what Ellis brought to the table on defense. He was well respected on the team. Ellis is 34 years old and the Jets recently drafted Muhammad Wilkerson as his potential replacement. Wilkerson is reportedly having a pretty good camp and is expected to be the starter at defensive end.

 The Patriots were thin at the defensive end position and Ellis could be a great short-term fit for them.

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