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Free-agent wide receiver Cotchery will visit Panthers

| Sunday, March 16, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

Taking part in the ‘Steelers Cruise' to the Bahamas for the past week has put Jerricho Cotchery's free agency on hold. That will change this week.

Cotchery will visit wide receiver-needy Carolina on Monday, according to league sources.

Carolina recently released veteran Steve Smith (who signed with Baltimore) and lost Brandon LaFell to the Patriots, Ted Ginn Jr. to the Cardinals and Domenik Hixon to the Bears via free agency. One of the more experienced receivers left on the roster is Valley graduate Toney Clemons, who has three career catches. Clemons was drafted by the Steelers in 2012.

Cotchery went to college at nearby North Carolina State.

The 31-year-old Cotchery had a career-high 10 touchdowns last year for the Steelers.

The Steelers have had preliminary talks with Cotchery, but no deal is imminent. Cotchery said he wanted to return to the Steelers after the season, but he could make a decent salary if he signs with the Panthers.

The Steelers are also lacking experienced receivers. They lost Emmanuel Sanders to Denver on Sunday. It was the second consecutive year the Steelers lost a receiver to free agency: Mike Wallace signed with the Dolphins last year.

Other than Antonio Brown, Steelers' receivers have eight career receptions — six by Markus Wheaton and two by Derek Moye.

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