Jets’ Cromartie focused on football, family life
Antonio Cromartie has learned to ignore the jokes about his
All the snide comments about him fathering eight children with
seven women? Say what you want because the New York Jets cornerback
”I don’t care about the public and what people think,”
Cromartie said between practices Friday. ”That doesn’t bother me
at all. I’m a father and a husband at the same time, so I can’t
worry about somebody else’s opinions.”
Recently married to model Terricka Cason, the mother of his
newest child, Cromartie is intent on being a family man and doing
right by all of his kids.
”That’s the only thing that matters to me,” he said. ”My kids
know that. That’s all that matters. I couldn’t care less. I know my
responsibilities and that is to be a father to my kids, first and
foremost, and a husband to my wife. That’s the most important thing
Once considered one of the most promising young players in the
league, Cromartie was traded from San Diego to New York in March.
The Jets advanced him $500,000 of the $1.7 million he was due this
season to help clear up paternity issues.
”We’ve had conversations about it and as much as someone might
say it’s irresponsible, he’s the one who is responsible,”
defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman said. ”As long as he
understands that he’s responsible for taking care of them and their
well-being, that’s all any of us need to be concerned with. We’re
not charged with that.”
What the Jets are charged with is putting Cromartie in position
to succeed on the field. With All-Pro Darrelle Revis holding out in
a contract dispute, coach Rex Ryan has Cromartie playing in Revis’
usual spot at left cornerback. That’s a switch for Cromartie, who
played mostly on the right side in his four previous seasons with
”I’m feeling good,” he said. ”I’m feeling more
He had 12 interceptions in 2007 – including two in the playoffs
– and was selected for the Pro Bowl – and had two more picks there
– in his second season. Cromartie has only five interceptions
since, and his work ethic was questioned, as well as his
willingness to be physical.
The lowest moment might have come in the playoffs against the
Jets last season. Cromartie froze as running back Shonn Greene hit
the hole and scampered for a 53-yard touchdown in New York’s 17-14
win in the AFC divisional round.
”This is a new start,” Cromartie said. ”I feel like a rookie
again being around my teammates and being around this organization.
When you’re having fun, it eliminates a lot of things and you can
go out and play the way you’re capable of playing.”
He was also fined $2,500 by the Chargers in training camp last
summer for tweeting – under the handle crimetime31 – about the
”The food is great here,” he said, laughing. ”Can’t get fined
for that here because the food is good.”
Cromartie said he had no fun in San Diego, except for that 2007
season, because ”everybody” was taking things too seriously. He’s
convinced he’s a better fit in Ryan’s defensive system, and being
physical excites him.
”Rex makes you want to play for him, run into a wall for him,”
Cromartie said. ”That’s something I’ll love to do. I’m going to
pick up my game from a physical standpoint and just go out and play
He has been impressive so far in training camp, making a handful
of flashy plays through the first few days.
”He wants to hear his name mentioned again when you talk about
some of the best corners in the game,” Thurman said. ”With his
enormous talent, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t.”
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who played four seasons with
Cromartie in San Diego, sees a changed man.
”I definitely see a certain focus in Antonio and a
determination,” Tomlinson said. ”He’s back to the player he’s
Thurman said he and Ryan scouted Cromartie when they were
assistants with the Baltimore Ravens and the cornerback was a star
at Florida State.
”He had one of the best pro days we’d ever seen,” Thurman
That’s why the Jets jumped when they had an opportunity to add
him in the offseason – baggage and all.
”He’s got these great long arms and strong hands, let’s use
them,” Ryan said. ”Let’s be more physical at the line. His ball
skills are God-given. I don’t know how to describe him. I’ve never
seen anything like that. Somebody is calling him a spider because
he’s so long, he’s tall, and he’s got those long arms. … He’s a
And, Cromartie is happy to make the most of a chance at
resurrecting his career.
”I would tell you that I have no problem telling you that this
is a better fit,” he said. ”It’s a lot more man-to-man,
get-in-your-face kind of defense that I love. This is something I’m
going to love to do, and I hope it’s for many years to come.”