Press Release - Detail
or immediate release Friday, June 24, 2016
Roy L. Williams                               
Director of Public Relations                        
Birmingham Public Library                                          
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067                                          
NFL receiver Jerricho Cotchery talks to teens at Five Points West Library about importance of reading
BIRMINGHAM, AL­-Birmingham native Jerricho Cotchery’s 12-year career as an NFL receiver hit the pinnacle this year when his Carolina Panthers team played in the Super Bowl.
Despite his success, the Phillips High graduate-turned-NFL star has not forgotten where he came from, returning home the past few years to support the Birmingham Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, and often hosting football camps in Birmingham through his Cotchery Foundation. Speaking to a group of kids today, June 24, at Five Points West Regional Library, Cotchery, said two issues have kept him grounded and humble: love of reading and faith in God.
Cotchery has a passion for his young fans, and tonight, June 24 at 6:30 p.m., his Cotchery Foundation is hosting a Summer Reading Tailgate Party at the Central Library downtown, 2100 Park Place.
During a 30-minute question and answer session with kids at Five Points West Regional Library, Cotchery talked about a variety of topics from a typical daily schedule for a football player to what inspired him to play football. Much of his speech centered on the importance of reading.
Cotchery said the work schedule for an  NFL player typically starts around 6:30 in the morning and concludes around 6 or 6:30 that evening. Only about two-to three hours are spent on the practice field, the majority of the time players are working out in the gym, watching film and studying plays.
“Even in football, most of the work done is in the classroom,” Cotchery said. “Reading is the foundation; education never ends. You will still be in the classroom learning no matter what career you choose. “
Cotchery said was inspired to play football by falling in love with the game as a young child.
“I realized it was something I loved, “ he said. “My parents encouraged me to pursue that. I believed it would become a reality for me, and worked hard to achieve it.“
 When a teen asked Cotchery what he does besides football, Cotchery talked proudly of being a husband to his wife, Mercedes, and father of their four children. He also talked of being active in their local church in Charlotte.
Added his wife Mercedes: “He (Jerricho) holds us accountable, teaches us the word of the Lord, right from wrong. Football isn’t who he is. It is not what he does all day long.”
Cotchery, who has also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets, said even in high school he “was conditioned to always have a team-first mindset.
“Everything was geared towards a team success,” Cotchery said. “You should always have others in mind in all you do. My goal was always to maximize everything I had and help my team get better. I wasn’t the type to try and gain all of the accolades, I want to help my team in any way I could.”
This past year’s success at Carolina Panthers, with a 15-1 regular season record and runner-up finish in the Super Bowl, showed the importance of teamwork, he said. It began with off-season preparations.

“When you have your teammate in mind in all that you do, it’s easy to develop the chemistry you need.”

“There was a lot of joy in our success. Cotchery said. “Even in the one loss we had in the regular season, we were able to respond in the right way as a team.”
Cotchery was commended for being an athlete who has not gotten in trouble off the field. Cotchery said the grace of God inspired him to remain positive and try to make a difference.
“My faith has guided me. One soul isn’t better than any other. I stay in principle of the gospel, God has placed people in my life to remind me and charge me to take the responsibility God has given me as a man. I have a wonderful wife, great parents. Not saying I am perfect. The reality in scripture is all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Here is a link to a blog listing over 500 programs from free dance lessons to science camps and painting being offered this summer at various libraries across the city of Birmingham:
Last summer, 18,418 BPL patrons attended 558 programs and read more than 52,000 books.  Registration is under way now, with forms available in any of the 19 BPL locations and online at  You can view the entire event calendar at the link below:
For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for 129 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.
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