Jerricho Cotchery will watch the Super Bowl on Sunday with his family and enjoy the game.
The former Carolina Panthers receiver will tell a story, or two, to his five children about being in the Super Bowl, and the 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos last February, but there aren’t any regrets.
“That’s what life is about,” Cotchery said. “You can’t act as if it didn’t happen, but you move on.”
After 12 years in the NFL, and record-setting career at N.C. State before that, Cotchery has moved on.
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He and his wife, Mercedes, live outside of Charlotte and have five adopted children between four months and 9 years old. They will share their story at the Methodist Home for Children’s annual “A Winter’s Tale” celebration at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Raleigh Convention Center.
Cotchery caught 524 passes for more than 6,600 yards in the NFL with the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Panthers from 2004 until last season. He still holds the N.C. State career record for receptions (200) and 100-yard games (15). Only Torry Holt has more receiving yards in N.C. State history than Cotchery, who was allegedly too small (6-1, 200 pounds) and too slow to make it in the ACC, let alone the NFL.
Cotchery, 34, looks back at the 2015 season with the Panthers and remembers how much fun the season was, not how painful the ending was.
“You replay certain moments and wonder ‘What could I have done better?’ ” Cotchery said. “But when I look back and pull from the different moments, you can’t let the outcome dictate everything. You have to enjoy the journey.”
And Cotchery, who had 39 catches for 485 yards with three touchdowns with the Panthers in 2015, did just that. He called his last NFL season “an unbelievable ride.”
“We started 14-0, and we were winning games in every kind of way you could imagine,” Cotchery said. “We just had a lot of fun.”
The Super Bowl 50 loss, and a controversial catch/no catch call from the first quarter, didn’t sour Cotchery on the experience.
With the Panthers down 3-0 in the first quarter, Cotchery appeared to make a catch at Carolina’s 38-yard line. The play was ruled incomplete, and then Panthers coach Ron Rivera challenged the call, but it was upheld. Two plays later, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was sacked, and the Broncos turned the fumble into a touchdown.
“You learn how to win but you learn how to lose and how to have the right perspective on losing,” said Cotchery, who caught two passes for 17 yards in the Super Bowl.
That was Cotchery’s last NFL game. He hasn’t officially retired but he says he’s done. He has been busy with Mercedes and his family. The couple, who met at N.C. State and were married in 2004, home-school their three oldest children: Jacey (9), Nicholas (6) and Joshua (5). They also have Journey (3) and Nile (4 months) to keep them on their toes.
“It’s a lot of work but it is also a lot of fun,” Cotchery said.
Cotchery, who took a seminary class at the Reform Theological Seminary school in Charlotte during the fall, said he particularly enjoys teaching his kids about religion and geography.
He is looking forward to Saturday’s program with the Methodist Home for Children because he didn’t know a lot about adoption before he and Mercedes decided to adopt their daughter Jacey.
“I was ignorant about adoption and never took the time to really understand it,” Cotchery said. “This is a chance for us to talk about how to think about adoption and the way God would have us think about adoption.”
Joe Giglio: 919-829-89389, @jwgiglio
To find out more about the Methodist Home for Children’s event at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Raleigh Convention Center, go to www.awinterstale.org.