- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery brushed aside recent reports that the team is shopping him on the trade market, and says he’ll be ready by the team’s regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11.
“No doubt at all (I’ll be ready),” said Cotchery, who is currently on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list as he continues to recover from a herniated disk in his back, on Tuesday at the Jets practice facility.
As for the trade rumors, Cotchery said, “That’s not where my focus is. I’m just trying to get back on the field.”
The Jets were reportedly interested in dealing Cotchery to free up cap space, a league source confirmed to ESPN NewYork.com. They recently signed Plaxico Burress to complement No. 1 target Santonio Holmes, leaving Cotchery as their slot receiver and third option. The eight-year veteran is slated to earn $1.8 million in 2011.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum on Monday declined to comment when asked if he was shopping Cotchery, but left open the possibility that the team could bring in another veteran wideout.
“Right now, I think we're good at receiver from the standpoint that there's nothing imminent,” Tannenbaum said. “Could we add another receiver at some point? I wouldn't rule anything out.”
The 29-year-old Cotchery played through the injury last season, appearing in 14 games while catching 41 passes for 433 yards and two touchdowns, by far his lowest statistics since 2005. But Cotchery underwent offseason surgery in February, has been rehabbing ever since and says he feels as good as he has in two years.
“I feel good,” Cotchery said. “I’ve said over the course of the offseason that I’ve gotten better.
“When you’re playing through injuries, you get used to your body not working the right way. But knowing how my body feels right now is a great feeling.”
Cotchery says he’s trying to “build up before I get back on the field” and remains day-to-day.
During the offseason, Cotchery rehabbed by doing several core strengthening exercises.
“When you have surgery you have to get your strength, stabilization and balance back,” Cotchery said. “I spent a lot of time doing that. I’m addicted to it now. I want to get core work in everyday. All of that is good.”
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