Antonio Cromartie was an often overlooked superstar during his first stint with the Jets. He came to New York in 2010 with a truckload of baggage, maybe more so then anyone the Jets have signed in the last ten years except Michael Vick. A head coaches obsession and an owners desire to win combined to give Antonio the tools he needed to turn his life around. When the Jets traded a third round pick for Cromartie in 2010, they got a great athlete who had a reputation of living a troubled life, and let distractions keep him from reaching his potential. He would become A Robin to Darrelle Revis’ Batman during his fun run in NY.
Owner Woody Johnson, making a bold move, immediately authorized an up front payment of $500,000 of his 1.7m dollar contract to pay up his back child support. The Jets would go on to sign Cromartie to a 32m dollars over four years in 2011. Cromartie would pay back the trust the organization had in him, as the Jets would reach back to back AFC Championship games with Cromartie playing a huge role.
The Jets would experience down years in 2012 losing Darrelle Revis for the season due to injury. Cromartie was a vocal locker room leader and elected to the Pro Bowl for his play. In 2013 Revis was traded to Tampa Bay, and Cromartie played the season on a bad hamstring. As part of an undermanned secondary Cromartie was often forced to cover receivers one on one on a bad wheel all season long, it was a down year for him. Dispite his lobbying to return, Cromartie was cast aside by the Jets after the season. Then GM John Idzik did not reward his bravery, but instead gave up on such a crutal component in the best two year run in Jets history thinking he has nothing left in the tank. Cromartie signed a one year contract in Arizona, returning to his Pro Bowl form in 2014, and Idzik is no longer a GM in the NFL. Arizona lost in the first round of the playoffs to Carolina last year, but Cromartie had a huge game changing interception, in the game returning it 50 yards to the 17 yard line and putting Arizona ahead in the second quarter. An exclamation point on an already terrific season. Arizona wanted him back, but Antonio was already made his intentions known to the world. He wanted to return to NY. The City he loved.
Their were little signs of the troubled life Antonio Cromartie was know for during his first stint in New York. Antonio married Terricka Cason 2010, a reality TV star and the two have been together ever sense. She did once call 911 after believing he was out with another woman. His wife threatened the dispatcher with suicide she was so distraught during the call. The incident was explained and quickly forgotten. Who could blame a woman mistrusting a man who has 12 kids with eight women (despite having a vasectomy in 2011 after the 10th). Removing himself from social media for a while in 2011 after telling Matt Hasselback via twitter he would smash his face in. Matt Hasselback did take an uncalled for shot at Cromartie, and Cromartie responded in a way to let Matt know he had crossed the line. Besides these two minor incidents, Cromartie was able to keep his head on strait. By the end of his tenure Jets fans were upset at GM and owner alike for letting him go to Arizona for very little money. He had grown to become a team ambassador. A fan favorite. The move depleting an already depleted secondary further. Woody must have heard fans loud and clear.