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Steelers add former Jet Cotchery to mix at receiver

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers announced Thursday that they had agreed to undisclosed terms with wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, a seven-year veteran whom the New York Jets released last week.

Cotchery gives the defending AFC champion Steelers some needed depth at wide receiver behind Mike Wallace and Hines Ward.

Cotchery has 358 career receptions, but his numbers fell considerably last season in New York. He hauled in just 41 passes in 14 games, his lowest reception total since he became a starter in 2006.

The Steelers have been in the market for a bigger receiver since failing to sign Plaxico Burress, who ended up with the Jets. The 6-foot-1 Cotchery will be the tallest proven wideout on the team when he joins the Steelers in training camp Sunday.

Cotchery won't play in the preseason opener Friday night against the Washington Redskins, though his new teammates didn't wait to welcome him aboard.

"We welcome Jericho Cothery (sic)! Any man willing to put his hand in the pile is always welcome!" Steelers safety Ryan Clarkposted on his Twitter page. "Going to be a lot different from the Jets though!"

Cotchery is hoping for a bigger role than the one he filled in New York last season, when he became a second or third option for quarterback Mark Sanchez. Cotchery requested his release earlier this month after the Jets signed Burress and went after another veteran in Derrick Mason.

The Steelers have a young core of receivers led by Wallace, who had 60 receptions for 1,257 yards a year ago. Second-year pros Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders also are expected to contribute this year, though Sanders has been slowed by a foot injury during camp.

There's also some concern about Ward. The "Dancing With the Stars" champion underwent thumb surgery in the offseason and sat out the first week of camp. He will play in the preseason opener.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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