Antonio Cromartie was justifiably criticized when he didn’t even try to tackle Jets running back Shonn Greene on a touchdown run that helped New York beat Cromartie’s San Diego Chargers in the playoffs.
Cromartie was also justifiably criticized after the season, when reports surfaced that he was behind on child support payments.
In his first meeting with the media since being traded from the Chargers to the Jets, Cromartie addressed both issues.
“I have not been the best tackler at times in my career,” Cromartie said. “That is something I am truly [going to be] working on this off-season.”
Asked specifically about that Greene touchdown, Cromartie acknowledged he messed up.
“My thought on that is it is something I should have made the play on, honestly,” Cromartie said. “I was there to make the tackle for a three or four yard gain and it did not happen. That is something I look back on, but not forget and try to look forward to [improving on] this year with the Jets.”
Cromartie also vowed to make sure his child support was in order.
“I have seven kids that live in five different states,” Cromartie said. “I made some wrong decisions my first two years in the NFL. Now I have to take on the responsibility of being a father to my kids. . . . It won’t impact my focus on the field.”
Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum acknoweged that both issues raise concerns, but he said the team is confident that Cromartie will do the right things on the field and off.
“Obviously, that one play has a tremendous amount of notoriety, but let’s face it, Shonn Greene broke a lot of tackles,” Tannenbaum said.
And Tannenbaum said the Jets think they have the right support system to keep Cromartie in line.
“We looked at that and we understand some of the issues that he has, but we feel really good about the organizational resources we have to help him and give him the best chance to be successful,” Tannenbaum said. “There is going to be some work involved on Antonio’s part and on our part working with him, but we felt the risk was reasonable given the price we had to pay.”