Jerricho Cotchery says it was time for him to leave New York

Heads turned when Jerricho Cotchery was cut loose by the New York Jets last week and now the veteran wide receiver says he was ready to split.

Cotchery, speaking about his departure and landing with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first time, called it a relief to be in a new situation. Cotchery makes it clear he wanted out after the team re-signed Santonio Holmes and added Plaxico Burress and before Derrick Mason was added to the mix.

“It was time for a change, time for a change of scenery for myself and the organization as well," Cotchery said in Pittsburgh, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York. "It was time to move on. Future-wise, I didn't really see myself fitting in.

"People on the outside looking in might say, 'Well, you been there that long, you're part of the future,' but I didn't really see it that way. I think it would have been beneficial for both sides to move on."

Coach Rex Ryan told media that Cotchery requested to be traded or released, and the receiver wasn’t thrilled with his role as a No. 3 target. He’ll be the third option for Ben Roethlisberger after Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.

Maybe just getting out of New York will turn out to make him happy. We’ll see.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune