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Cro article - 7/27-06

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Shamrock, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. Shamrock

    Shamrock Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I can't take time off if I want to be the best corner in the NFL

    Can Antonio Cromartie, the Chargers' No. 1 draft choice, stand the heat? Hey, he wants to turn it up on his workouts

    By Kevin Acee
    July 27, 2006


    When Antonio Cromartie goes go the beach, it isn't to show off. It's to run and cut against the resistance of loose sand.

    A lone man dressed in all black walked to the center of the only expansive open space on Mission Beach one day last week. The sun burned hot, on the ground and even through the sea air.

    The man dropped his shirt to the sand and began his preparation to be everything the Chargers hope he becomes.

    “We had a sand pit at Florida State where I worked out all the time,” Antonio Cromartie said. “I figured here I've got the biggest sand pit around, I might as well get into it.”

    Antonio Cromartie through the years

    2002: USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year in Tallahassee, Fla.
    2004: All-Atlantic Coast Conference for Florida State despite starting just one game
    2005: Tore ACL in his left knee during a voluntary summer workout; had surgery on July 21 and did not play last season for the Seminoles
    2006: Declared for the draft a year early and was the 19th pick of the first round by the Chargers.

    Cromartie arrived in San Diego last week just as a heat wave was starting.

    “I got off the plane and thought, 'I'm in heaven,' ” he recalled.

    San Diego at its most hot and humid is neither of those things to a kid who grew up in northern Florida.

    On Tuesday and Thursday of last week, Cromartie worked out at the beach. On Tuesday, shortly before midnight, he signed his first professional contract. Yesterday, he participated in two practices with his fellow Chargers rookies.

    Much like in minicamp, Cromartie showed his marvelous athleticism even while showing how far he had to go. He had some difficult moments yesterday covering Greg Camarillo, a sturdy little receiver destined for a second season on the practice squad.

    But Camarillo knew that was not going to last.

    “With his size, if he puts his arms up high enough, it's hard enough for a receiver to see the ball,” Camarillo said.

    Camarillo also recounted a running play during team drills in which the receiver is supposed to throw a downfield block.

    “He looked at me and took off like a track meet,” Camarillo said. “There's no catching him once he takes off.”

    The man who has already defied medical wisdom by recovering from major knee surgery (to repair his ACL, LCL and hamstring tendon) in six months is here with another purpose.

    Asked yesterday in a media conference whether he will compete for the starting cornerback job, Cromartie's matter-of-fact answer was: “Yes, I will.”

    Last week, following the beach workout, he was deferential to incumbent Drayton Florence but made it clear he plans to be a starter by September.

    “That's my goal,” he said. “It's been my goal since I was drafted.”

    Cromartie did not take many days off this spring.

    He visited defensive backs coach Brian Stewart at a coaching convention in Tampa shortly after the draft. He was at the team's voluntary coaching sessions and minicamps in May and June. He returned to Tallahassee last month and was running at Doak Campbell Stadium two days later and every day until his return to San Diego last week. In addition to his beach workouts, he was at the team's facility two other days last week running hills and gassers.

    “I can't take time off if I want to be the best corner in the NFL,” he said.

    Cromartie was until the injury considered the top defensive back in the draft, a certain top-10 pick. Even after stunning pre-draft workouts that demonstrated his knee's health, he was considered a risky pick by the Chargers because he did not play his junior season and made just one start at Florida State. But the former USA Today high school Defensive Player of the Year is accustomed to reaching lofty goals.

    “My expectations go up every single day,” he said. “I expect more out of myself every day. By me expecting more out of myself, I'm going to push myself a lot more.”

    At the beach, he worked in the loose sand on cutting, starting and stopping, all position-specific drills designed to increase his explosiveness.

    Despite not having played in a game in 18 months, Cromartie believes it is the mental part of the game more than physical he needs to accelerate.

    “My biggest goal this offseason was just to learn the defense and get comfortable,” he said. “I know I can play at this level. It's just a matter of me getting comfortable. So far my biggest impression (of the NFL) is seeing how everyone knows the game. Everyone takes the time to sit down and watch film.”

    After a season on the sideline, perfecting the art of watching film and the past few months spent in almost constant contact with Stewart, Cromartie is confident. “Coming in as a rookie I have a lot down right now,” he said. “I know the defense, and I'm more comfortable than ever.”
  2. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

    Aug 24, 2005
    Nice read. Thanks for posting it Shamrock!
  3. Kwak

    Kwak ....

    May 25, 2006
    I just love the work ethic of the young guys that have been drafted. Castillo, Igor, Merriman, Cro, Rivers and more I am forgetting.

    All the recent articles have been about how dedicated they are to being the best in the NFL. Love the attitude!!:tup:

    AJ's motto has always been, "We draft football players".
    • Like Like x 1
  4. CrmWestwood

    CrmWestwood BoltTalker

    Mar 21, 2006
    Apparently he targets perfectionists too, I love these young guys' attitudes...reminds me of myself, just with a lot more physical talent:icon_razz:
    • Like Like x 1

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