With just a couple of weeks left before the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it seems that the New York Jets offensive unit is still a little soft around the edges. Well, Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie is looking to change that.
In Wednesday’s practice, on a two-minute drill, Antonio Cromartie delivered a crushing hit on wide receiver Stephen Hill that leveled the second-year receiver. That aggressive hit irked a few players on the offense and rushed over to yell at Cromartie, but the corner wasn’t having it. After the players walked away from the scuffle, Cromartie yelled out: “Don’t cry, play ball!”
Maybe Cromartie was concerned that Hill still had some cobwebs and was trying to shake them off?
Hill, who trained with the Pro Bowl corner this offseason, said he wasn’t upset by the hit. Cromartie went over to the receiver on the sideline later on and told the Hill he didn’t mean to do it. But Hill understands that it’s part of the game. “Football’s becoming very—I’m not trying to say soft, but you’ve got to hit,” Hill said. “It’s a gladiator sport. This is the stuff that’s supposed to happen.”
Coach Rex Ryan enjoyed the aggressiveness in practice—of course—but at the same time doesn’t want his players getting hurt before the season. The coach may be looking at his last season as the Jets’ head coach if he doesn’t produce a winning season, so he wants his best players healthy for the season.