In 2007, Antonio Cromartie looked like he was going to be the next big-time playmaking cornerback in the NFL as he showed all the ability that made him a first round pick in 2006 out of Florida State. Cromartie had a Pro Bowl season and led the league with ten interceptions. However, following his career year in 2007, Cromartie never returned to his Pro Bowl form in San Diego and his production declined significantly. Cromartie fell out of favor in San Diego, was the target of a lot of criticism, has had some legal troubles, and dealt with a myriad of injuries. The Chargers decided they had enough of the supremely athletic and talented cornerback and dealt him to the Jets right when free agency opened up this offseason.
Now Cromartie gets a fresh start in New York playing for Rex Ryan. There is no question that the talent is there to form the best cornerback tandem in the NFL alongside Darrell Revis, but the question will always remain the same when it comes to Antonio Cromartie. Can he keep his head on straight and live up to his immense talent? If someone is going to be able do it, Rex Ryan seems like the perfect coach for the job.
Antonio Cromartie joined XTRA 1360 in San Diego with Josh and Jeff to talk about getting a fresh start in New York, whether or not he felt like the scapegoat in San Diego, and how much the injury to his hip affected his production.
On how excited he is about a change of scenery:
“I was actually ready for a change. I was looking forward to it and I think it was that time for it.”
On whether or not he felt like a scapegoat in San Diego:
“Did I? Yes. I mean for instance, you can bring up the last play with the touchdown with Shonn Greene. I’m the guy that didn’t go for the tackle, but I’m not also the guy that missed the tackle too. I’m not the only guy on the field. There’s ten other guys besides me that can get to the play.”
On his time in San Diego and whether or not he had some good times:
“I had some great times. I was around great teammates and I mean that’s what you look forward to and that’s what you miss out on. The teammates that you’ve been around and things like that.”
On how it feels to be going to New York and playing with LaDainian Tomlinson:
“Yeah, it feels good. I’m just looking forward to it and me and LT are enjoying every moment of it.”
On how much his hip affected his play the past couple of years:
“The 2008 year it was real bad. I couldn’t plant and I couldn’t do anything at all. That was just something that I had to deal with and I ended up playing with it. I can’t fault anybody because I’m the one who played with it. My biggest thing is to just finish out the year. Then in ’09 I coulda played up there a little bit better, but it was still bothering me. I’m back to full health. I feel good and I’m looking forward to it.”
On what he thinks about Rex Ryan:
“Love him. Love him to death. He’s a great coach and he reminds me a lot of Marty (Schottenheimer). Fiery coach that loves his job and loves what he does.”