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Cornerback Antonio Cromartie: “I’m The Second-Best Receiver On The Jets”

  • Matt Rudnitsky

Please take your eyes off soggy, shirtless Tim Tebow for a moment, New York. Antonio Cromartie has some boasting to do. The world’s most-athletic father of 12 – and the man who ran longer for a touchdown than any man preceding him – thinks he is the Jets’ second-best receiver.

Yes, the Jets’ second-best cornerback thinks he’s also the Jets’ second-best receiver (and no, America, Tim Tebow isn’t their best).

“I think I’d put myself as second,” Cromartie said. “I haven’t really played it in the past four or five years, but I can put myself as the second just with raw ability and talent going out there, I think, me separating and being a more physical guy out there on the outside.”

Well, that sounds kind of… not crazy. And pretty well-thought-out.

This comes in the wake of a report that Cromartie “will be playing receiver in multiple offensive packages.” While this might be the plan now, though, it’s hard to believe the Jets will let an essential part of their defense tire himself out (and risk injury) by playing both ways. There’s a reason (virtually) no one does this.

For all his quirks, coverage gaffes, and tackling timidity, however, Cromartie is one of the best natural athletes in the NFL. If anyone can do this, it’s him.

And his seemingly-ridiculous comment might not be all that ridiculous. The Jets’ depth chart behind Holmes is Chaz Schilens, Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill. Schilens and Kerley have shown good promise, and Hill is an exciting, speedy rookie. But none of them are proven, reliable veterans. Cromartie could very well be right, though he’s probably stretching things.

“Kerley is a more of a slot receiver, he’s a slot guy,” Cromartie said. “Stephen Hill is a younger guy that can get down the field. I think, for me, I can run every single route in the route tree. I’m not going to take anything away from my ability, so when you ask me that question, I’m going to say, yes, I believe I’m one of the best receivers on the football team, next to Santonio Holmes.”

The “I can run every single route in the route tree” comment might be a bit over the top coming from a guy who hasn’t spent his entire life practicing running routes. But his rationality isn’t really the potential problem. It’s the fact that he said anything at all.

If you haven’t heard, the Jets’ struggles last year reportedly had a lot to do with a tense setting in the locker room. And for Cromartie, a veteran team leader, to say he’s better than guys at a position he doesn’t even play is questionable. Sure, it could be a motivational tactic, or just something the players shrug off, but it’s probably not a good idea to say anything.

Is this a big deal? Probably not. Is it crazy? As a Jets fan, I’m sad to say… also, probably not.