NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Antonio Cromartie stepped up for the Jets after Darrelle Revis went down with a torn ACL last season.
It’ll all be on Cro — again — in 2013 and beyond. The Jets shipped Revis off to Tampa Bay on Sunday, meaning No. 1 cornerback is now Cromartie’s permanent assignment.
And he’s not exactly happy about it.
“It’s a disappointment,” Cromartie told the New York Daily News. “You look forward to playing with the best cornerback in the league. When you pair us to together, we felt like we had the best tandem. We had the best tandem. Now, he’s leaving. You just got to roll with the punches.”
Cromartie said he was surprised by the deal and offered up his reaction: “It sucks.”
“Losing a guy like that just sucks,” he told the Daily News. “A leader in the locker room, a leader in the classroom, a leader on the field. A great playmaker on the field. It just sucks losing a guy like that.”
New York, already with the ninth overall selection, landed the No. 13 pick in the upcoming draft from the Buccaneers and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2014. Next year’s pick will become a third-rounder if Revis, still rehabbing from last year’s injury, is on Tampa Bay’s roster on Day 3 of the ’14 league year.
Cromartie said he understood “the business standpoint of it.” The Jets would likely have lost the Revis in free agency after the season. Now they have draft picks, and the cornerback has a new deal in Tampa Bay.
As for the team’s rebuilding process? Cromartie, who earned his second Pro Bowl selection in 2012, refused to go there: “I’m too old to talk about a rebuilding type of season. … I can’t look at it as rebuilding. I’m not looking at anything as being rebuilding.”
“I still think we have a chance to win,” Cromartie said. “It’s just about putting pieces together. And everybody buying into not only the system, but buying into Rex (Ryan), buying into what we’re doing in the weight room. I think over the past few years, we were one of the weakest teams towards the end of the season the past two years. We couldn’t even finish. That’s something that we can’t have.”
Are you with Cro on this? Jets fans, sound off in the comments!