Quiet confidence isn’t the first attribute that comes to mind when thinking of an NFL wide receiver’s personality — but it is the most accurate way to describe how Jerricho Cotchery carries himself.
Secure in his steps and sapient in his speech, the seven-year veteran rarely hesitates to echo the brazen bravado more characteristic of head coach Rex Ryan. Cotchery is deliberate when he speaks, but always modest; he’s confident without arrogance, proud without sin.
When it was time for Cotchery to make his acting debut last Wednesday in the 12 Angry Mascots’ long-running, sports-themed comedy show, he appeared as comfortable acting as he would catching a pass in traffic on a Sunday afternoon.
In character, Cotchery stormed the stage, took on the character of a diva receiver, promoted a reality show, and launched a rap career within seconds in Chelsea’s Gotham Comedy Club. Kevin Armstrong summed up the sequence nicely on Manish Mehta’s “Jets Stream” blog.
It was all routine — executed as seamlessly as the precise routes he runs. And that’s when the master of ceremonies, Scott Rogowsky, called an audible at the line of scrimmage.
Customary for a 12AM show, Rogowsky sits on stage with the guest and interviews him in a format modeled after late-night television talk shows. He asks sports-related questions without the thorough analysis that intimidates casual fans, and sprinkles some of his well-executed sarcasm across the top.
“You’re the second youngest of 13 children,” Rogowsky began. “What’s it like now being reunited on the same team with your father, Antonio Cromartie?”
And the audience erupted into fits of laughter.
“Man, that’s not cool to rip on Cro!” Cotchery replied, laughing along with the shocked crowd.
Behind the scenes, Rogowsky and Neil Janowitz, fathers of the 12AM show, gave Cotchery glowing reviews. They cited his professionalism and commitment to his performance. It was only Friday when J. Co agreed to do the show, and it was Monday when he arrived to rehearsal with his lines memorized for a Wednesday night performance.
As quickly as Cotchery controlled the stage to the instrumental for M.O.P.’s 2000 single “Ante Up,” No. 89 flipped the script back to football — right on cue. After the show, Cotchery took the time to discuss the upcoming season, bonding with teammates in SUNY Cortland, and the versatility of all the Jets’ offensive weapons.
Angel Navedo: The audience got to see you rap a little bit tonight. Is this something you’ve done before?
Jerricho Cotchery: I’m telling you, man, I did everything I possibly could to get out of, what we call, the hood. I started doing that when I was around 11, just penning my stuff down.
AN: With Darrelle Revis doing his ‘Mr. Manhattan’ thing, what are the conversations like in the locker room? Are there every any battles between guys who are into making music?
JC: None at all. Guys don’t really talk about it. We talk about music and different artists that we like and friends we know who rap. But we don’t talk about it in detail.
AN: The premise in tonight’s skit was about you having your own reality show. Is that something you’d actually do, given the opportunity?
JC: If I do something, as far as a reality show, it’d be something about uplifting families. It’d be a family-oriented show, just showing how my wife and my family operates — our foundation; and that’s God. It’d be something up that alley.
AN: You were on 1050 ESPN Radio earlier in the week discussing wide receivers with Jody McDonald and Brandon Tierney (download), and expressed your faith in some receivers to step up while Santonio Holmes serves his four-game suspension. Care to elaborate?
JC: (Cotchery answered this question before the Jets re-signed Laveranues Coles. -Ed.) We have a number of guys that have been working so hard at developing their games. Everyone knows about David Clowney and his speed. Brad Smith is our all-purpose guy — you never know where you might see him line up. Aundrae Allison got hurt in the last preseason game last year, but he’s come along very well.
And my cousin — no one knows about — Marcus Henry is doing an incredible job learning to play to his size. He’s been able to watch Braylon [Edwards], the way he uses his size and his strength, and he’s been doing some of those same things. He’s always been a great route runner, so he’s trying to add that to his game as well.
AN: Have you, Holmes, and Edwards discussed the different roles you can take on offense?
JC: Our mindset is to go out there and dominate. We have a top-notch receiving corp, so that’s our mission. We see the guy that’s lined up across from us and go to work. That’s going to be our approach. That’s how we’re going to put points on the board.
AN: So there’s no such thing as a No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3?
JC: Nah, nah, nah. And none of us are worried about that. When we step out on the field, it’s about us beating the man across from us. No one is out there thinking, “Okay, the No. 1 guy is out on the field, and the No. 2 guy is on the field.” We’re just going out there, trying to make plays, and put points on the board.
AN: So we might see you in the slot for one set, and then out wide next?
JC: Yeah. That’s the thing with our offense — you have to be versatile and you have to be able to move around. All of our receivers are getting accustomed to doing that. It’s going to keep a lot of defenses off-balance.
AN: I’m sure offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is adding new wrinkles in the playbook to use all of you.
JC: Yeah, I can’t reveal those, but we have a lot of new wrinkles. It’s going to be fun. My man Dustin Keller is going to have a fun year as well.
AN: We all know training camp is tough, but with it right around the corner, what are you looking forward to most in this next month?
JC: I’m looking forward to seeing our team develop. We have a lot of guys coming in this year, so I just want to see us develop as a team, and develop that chemistry the way we did last year around this time. And I’m looking forward to getting to know my teammates really well.