Antonio Cromartie got his fresh start started this week with a visit to the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
“It’s been great, just getting around and meeting a lot of the guys,” Cromartie told me in an on-camera interview that will be featured on newyorkjets.com. “I got a chance to look at the weightroom and tour the whole facility. My first day here has been great. I had the chance to run into Kris Jenkins and Mark [Sanchez]. I’m looking forward to going against Mark in the spring and going into training camp.”
The 6’2”, 203-pound Cromartie is as lanky as they come and owns a pair of huge hands. Appearing trim in a striped button-down shirt and jeans, he shared with us the conversation he had with Jenkins.
“When it’s time to work, it’s time to work,” said he said of the nose tackle’s remarks. “We joke around a lot and that’s what it’s all about. A person has to be comfortable, have fun and not be too tight. It’s the same game we played when we were 5 years old."
But Cromartie, who will turn just 26 on April 15 and once again will don his customary No. 31, this time as a Jet, plans on being wise off the field at his second professional stop after four seasons in San Diego.
“Being around different teammates and being more of a professional on an off the field and taking care of business when it’s supposed to be taken care of and approaching everything the right way,” he said. “That’s what I mean by a change of scenery and a fresh start. It’s a new Antonio Cromartie and an Antonio Cromartie people can expect to see for years to come.”
A Tallahassee, Fla., native, Cromartie was raised by his mother, Cassandra Gardner, and he still remains very close to her today.
“I grew up in a single-parent home with four kids. I grew up in the projects. It was hard. My mom worked two or three or jobs at a time, so I love her to death for everything she did,” he said. “My biggest thing is trying to help out as much as I can. I try to talk to her every single day, sometimes twice a day, to make sure everything is going all right at home and my brothers and sister are fine.”
But as a highly publicized father of seven children in five different states, Cromartie is handling some child support issues and he intends on becoming a better dad.
“I love my kids to death. I actually just got full custody of one of my oldest kids like two months ago, so he’s staying with me now,” he said. “Seeing him and being around him every day is a great experience.”
Playing opposite the NFL’s best corner in Darrelle Revis, Cromartie figures to get a lot of balls his way next season in a defensive system that features press/man coverage. Having intercepted 10 balls for the Chargers in 2007, Cromartie sounds like a player ready to man up on and off the field.
“I love that. Talking to Coach Ryan and Coach P [Pettine], we just want to come in and play the way we’re supposed to play and have fun with it and enjoy it,” he said. “This is a defense that I’m going to love to come in and be able to play in. I’m just looking forward to helping out the best way I can.”
Comings and Goings
According to published reports, the Jets will play host to former Cleveland S Brodney Pool on Wednesday. The 6’2”, 210-pound Pool was not tendered a contact by the Brownies, so he’s free to sign with any club he chooses without compensation. The 25-year-old Pool had a career-high four interceptions last season and has 11 over the course of five pro seasons.
Indianapolis CB Marlin Jackson is also reported to be visiting the Jets after stopping for visits with Baltimore and Philadelphia.
It also appears that RB Thomas Jones has reached an agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs. Jones had a great three-year run with the Jets, culminating with a career-high 1,402 yards and a career-high 14 rush touchdowns in 2009.
Wallace Wright, an excellent specials teams performer during his Jets tenure, reportedly has inked a deal with the Carolina Panthers. Wright, who was an RFA the Jets didn’t tender, is a Fayetteville, N.C., native and played his college ball with the Tar Heels.
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Brodney Pool, Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Rex Ryan, Thomas Jones, Wallace Wright
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