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March 25, 2014

Mike Tomlin praises new Panthers WR Jerricho Cotchery as a player, leader

ORLANDO

There's been a lot of talk about "diva" receivers the past couple of weeks.

Philadelphia is not finding any trade partners for wideout DeSean Jackson, who carries a $10.5 million price tag this year and a reputation of being high-maintenance.

The Panthers were willing to cut ties with Steve Smith, the franchise's all-time receiving leader, in part because general manager Dave Gettleman viewed him as a distraction.

On Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches breakfast at the owners meetings, this was Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin's first response to a question about new Panthers and former Steelers wideout Jerricho Cotchery:

"He's not low-maintenance," Tomlin said. "He's no-maintenance."

Tomlin praised Cotchery, the former N.C. State wideout who signed a two-year deal with the Panthers last week, as "a good football player, but better than that a good man."

At another table 10 yards away in a banquet room at the Ritz-Carlton, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he had no concerns about Smith's attitude after the Ravens signed him to a three-year deal.

"Steve is going to be a leader. I love where he's at. What he was telling me about his plans for enhancing our team and our organization were just exactly the things that I wanted to hear and expected to hear," Harbaugh said.

"He's got a plan. He understands our culture to a degree and I think he sees where he fits in as a veteran coming into the  program, as opposed to the guy that's been there all the years. I'm pretty excited about it."

While Smith's yards-per-catch average fell by nearly 5 yards last season to 11.6 yards per reception, Harbaugh believes the 34-year-old Smith can still get open deep.

"I saw him catch the deep balls. So when he had a chance, when he was running a (go) route or a (post) route, and he was even with the defender, he was leaving (him) still," Harbaugh said. "He was able to accelerate and go make the catch. If he does it, that means he can still do it. And that's all we really needed to see."

Cotchery, 31, developed as Ben Roethlisberger's favorite red-zone target last season when he caught a career-high 10 touchdowns. But Tomlin said Cotchery can fill a number of receiving roles.

"Jerricho's the type of guy that he's going to be what you need him to be," Tomlin said. "He's a pro."

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on March 25, 2014 at 09:50 AM | Permalink

Comments

21 touchdowns? I thought it was 10....

Posted by: ..... | Mar 25, 2014 10:01:59 AM

He caught 72 touchdowns last season.

Posted by: Brandon | Mar 25, 2014 10:06:03 AM

Release the Kraken man!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Mar 25, 2014 10:28:42 AM

31 yrs old, I hope he can jump high and stoop over low to catch the array of passes that Cam throws.

Is Crotch gonna wear #69 ?

Posted by: tony clifton | Mar 25, 2014 10:32:14 AM

21 touchdowns??? I think every play this year should be a fade route to Cotchery.

Posted by: Eric | Mar 25, 2014 10:32:34 AM

Now, we just need Odell Beckham and we will be set.

Posted by: GoRoute | Mar 25, 2014 11:26:49 AM

O-dell! O-dell!! O-dell!!!

Posted by: PostRoute | Mar 25, 2014 11:28:24 AM

Gettleman can eat a bowl of dicks.

Posted by: Rayzor | Mar 25, 2014 11:35:32 AM

10 TDs not 21. That is still better than any receiver we had last season.

Posted by: CLT11 | Mar 25, 2014 1:11:06 PM

I like the Cotchery signing. Panthers should be an attractive spot to veteran WRs who want to show their talent for one year. Hopefully Panthers will sign more veterans with 1 year contracts after the draft. If available WRs like Jacoby Ford. Miles Austin, Alexander, etc. and let them compete.

Posted by: Kelso | Mar 25, 2014 1:37:49 PM

http://espn.go.com/blog/carolina-panthers/post/_/id/5577/fox-wouldnt-call-smith-distraction-under-him?ex_cid=espnapi_public

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 25, 2014 2:16:07 PM

PANTHERS NEED TO LOOK AT JARVIS LANDRY HE A OTHER STEVE SMITH VERY FAST. YOU WOULD LOVE TO HAVE HIM TOP (WR) NO LIE!

Posted by: TONY | Mar 29, 2014 2:20:31 PM

JARVIS LANDRY FOR THE PANTHERS THIS DRAFT IF YOU MISS STEVE SMITH THERE YOU GO CHECK ME OUT PLEASE.

Posted by: TONY | Mar 29, 2014 2:23:53 PM

Brandon Coleman like to see him on the Panthers good player. 6'6 from NJ

Posted by: MIKE | Mar 29, 2014 11:53:47 PM

JCO will do good things with the Panthers. Good signing.

Posted by: José | Apr 1, 2014 6:29:34 PM

NUMBER ONE (WR) FOR THE PANTHERS IS
KELVIN BENJAMIN/BRANDON COOK/ALLEN ROBINSON/BRANDON COLEMAN/JARVIS LANDY THIS YEARS DRARF.2014

Posted by: BIG DADDY | Apr 2, 2014 4:29:45 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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