Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Cro to Jets' offense: 'Don't cry, play ball!'
By Ian Begley
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- These guys are teammates, right?
Things got interesting at New York Jets practice Wednesday afternoon when cornerback Antonio Cromartie put a strong hit on receiver Stephen Hill during a two-minute drill.
Quarterback Geno Smith completed a pass to Hill near the goal line and Cromartie immediately put a high hit on Hill, near the helmet.
The hit appeared to come from Cromartie's forearm.
After the collision, there was a mini-skirmish involving members of both the offense and defense. Some players, including center Nick Mangold, appeared to be upset with Cromartie.
At one point, after the skirmish dissipated, Cromartie could be heard yelling, "Don't cry, play ball!"
Hill returned for 7-on-7 drills later in practice.
Coach Rex Ryan addressed the hit later Wednesday, saying he was "disappointed" because the hit was over the top.
"There's 'thud' and then there's like over-the-top 'thud.' I was disappointed because we have to protect each other. Stephen was running full speed and all that. Cro actually came off of his coverage and made the hit. Again, it wasn't ... I don't think he intended to certainly hurt Stephen. But still, you've got to be smarter. You're in great position, just let it go. I think that's what we need to do."
Hill said he had no problem with Cromartie's hard hit. He was surprised by the outsized reaction to the collision.
"That's competition," Hill said. "I expected that. So, I mean, we're out here playing football, that's what it is: It's a collision sport."
Cromartie was involved in another potentially dangerous play in 7-on-7s. He met wideout Michael Campbell in the air and broke up a pass, then Campbell landed awkwardly on his back and stayed on the ground momentarily. Cromartie hung around after the play to make sure Campbell was OK.