Cotchery settles in at camp
The way Jerricho Cotchery tells it, he should have no trouble meshing with teammates who share a blue-collar sensibility.
"My game is not pretty; it's not cute. My game is to get the job done," Cotchery, the Steelers' latest addition, said Sunday at St. Vincent College. "Whatever I have to do to help this team win the Super Bowl, I'm all for it."
It is fitting that Cotchery plans to take a Hines Ward approach at his second NFL stop. The Steelers signed Cotchery to a one-year contract to provide experience at wide receiver along with Ward, their most tenured player.
Cotchery, who was released by the New York Jets earlier this month, is also something of an insurance policy.
The Steelers shut down Emmanuel Sanders early in training camp so he could fully from offseason surgery on his left foot. Following a recent minor surgical procedure done to expedite the healing process, Sanders had said he hoped to play in the Steelers' final two preseason games.
Yesterday, the second-year receiver said he hopes to return for the Steelers' preseason finale Sept. 1 in Carolina.
"The worst thing I can do in this situation is go and rush it and re-break my foot, and then it being a lingering injury during the season," said Sanders, who had surgery during the offseason to correct a stress fracture in his left foot. "The X-rays are showing that the bone is starting to fill in, so I can't wish for anything better."
Cotchery, who is heading into his eighth NFL season, said pretty much the same thing about the Steelers.
The 6-foot, 203-pounder visited St. Vincent last Sunday. By the time he left, Cotchery knew he wanted to join the Steelers even though he is assured of nothing beyond a spot in the wide receivers rotation.
Cotchery said he visited the Ravens only as a formality, and he arrived in Latrobe on Saturday after agreeing to terms with the Steelers last Thursday.
"I was talking to (free safety) Ryan Clark how I used to watch the interviews and I used to hear guys talk about, 'We do things a certain way over here.' And I always wondered what they were talking about," Cotchery said before his first practice with the Steelers. "And I came here on my visit, and I got it. Everyone's close here, and it's easy to work in and you're going to get better."
Cotchery has 353 career receptions -- 210 more than Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Sanders combined. That total doesn't include the 4-yard touchdown catch Cotchery made against the Steelers in last season's AFC Championship Game.
His signing has been heartily endorsed by the Steelers' wide receivers, even though it may create a bit of a logjam when everyone is healthy.
"The more competition, the better," Wallace said. "He's a versatile guy; I think you can put him anywhere."
Cotchery had surgery during the offseason to correct a herniated disc. He said he has made a full recovery and that he's been running at full speed since last month.
Cotchery said the opportunity to play for a perennial Super Bowl contender drew him to the Steelers. He had been with a team that is on the cusp of reaching the Super Bowl, but Cotchery requested his release after the Jets signed Plaxico Burress.
"Future-wise, I didn't really see myself fitting in (with the Jets)," Cotchery said.
The Steelers had also courted Burress, and Cotchery is hoping to show them that he is anything but a consolation prize after they couldn't land him.
"This atmosphere is what I need right now," Cotchery said. "Nothing is given to you over here. You've got to come in, work your tail off and earn your stripes."
Note: To make room for Cotchery, the Steelers placed defensive end Sunny Harris on the waived/injured list. Harris hurt his foot in the Steelers' 16-7 loss to the Washington Redskins on Friday night. Harris' foot is in a protective boot and he is on crutches.
Inside the ropes
• Beleaguered lineman Tony Hills will start at right guard Thursday when the Steelers play Philadelphia at Heinz Field. Hills (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) practiced with the first team at right guard Sunday and said afterward that he will start against the Eagles. 'I am open to the challenge,' Hills said. 'It's a great opportunity and a great challenge against a good pass-rush and penetrating team.' Hills, the Steelers' fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Texas, has played in only four games in three years, most of which came at tackle.
• Left tackle Jonathan Scott and rookie first-round pick Cameron Heyward got into a scuffle during practice and had to be separated by teammates, including Maurkice Pouncey and Casey Hampton. 'It's part of the game,' Heyward said. '... it's all in fun and we still love each other off the field.'
• Undrafted rookie free agent Miguel Chavis was moved from defensive end to tight end for yesterday's practice. The Steelers have been looking for an end-of-the-line blocking tight end since the departure of Matt Spaeth to Chicago. Chavis (6-5, 280) took part in individual drills, but no team drills.
• Punter Daniel Sepulveda picked up where he left off in Friday's preseason game by unleashing several booming punts during special teams practice. Sepulveda, who is coming off a right ACL injury, kicked approximately 20 balls, with a number of them traveling longer than 50 yards. Sepulveda averaged 51 yards on four kicks against the Redskins on Friday.
• Not practicing Sunday were kicker Shaun Suisham (illness), DE Brett Keisel (ankle), WR Arnaz Battle (knee), DE Aaron Smith (knee), CB Ike Taylor (thumb), WR Wes Lyons (concussion) and CB Crezdon Butler (leg).
• Mark Kaboly