Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Updated: January 13, 3:23 AM ET
Antonio Cromartie blasts Tom Brady
ESPN.com news services
It didn't take long for Round 3 of Jets-Patriots to escalate. And this time it wasn't Rex Ryan doing the talking.
No, it was Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who called Patriots quarterback Tom Brady an "ass----," according to the New York Daily News.
Cromartie was asked about Brady pointing to the Jets' sideline after throwing a touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, which gave New England a 38-3 lead in its eventual 45-3 win on Dec. 6.
"We see that a lot. He does it a lot," Cromartie told the Daily News. "That's the kind of guy he is. We really don't give a damn, to tell you the truth."
Asked what kind of guy Brady is, Cromartie said "ass----," according to the Daily News.
"That's what I think about him. I don't really give a damn about him," he said, according to the report. "I don't have to play against him. I play against the receivers."
In the locker room Wednesday in Foxborough, Mass., Brady said: "I've been called worse. I'm sure there is a long list of people that feel that way.
Trust me, they're saying a lot worse about me and others here, maybe it just wasn't printed.
-- Rex Ryan on Cromartie's comments
"But he's a good player. [Darrelle] Revis is a great player. They have a great secondary. They're one of the best defenses we've faced. We spend a lot of time preparing for them, and what they're capable of doing over there. To shut down the Colts' offense like they did is pretty impressive, because we know how good that offense is. We're going to be ready to play."
Asked about his on-field demeanor Dec. 6 that rubbed the Jets the wrong way, Brady said he didn't think the Jets' take on it was completely accurate.
"I don't think I've ever pointed at anybody," he said."That's really not my style. I think there's definitely an emotional aspect to the game, sure. I'm excited. Certainly when we score touchdowns. They're a very good defense and I'm excited when we can score against a very good defense."
He added: "I don't remember pointing. I'm sure there's 50,000 cameras on the game. If I was doing that, they would show that. But I have a lot of respect for those players."
Cromartie didn't back off his statements later Wednesday.
"I've said what I had to say. My opinion is never going to change about Brady," he said. "At the end of the day, it's going to be what it's going to be. I hate him, he hates me, he hates the Jets, who cares?"
Does Cromartie hope that Brady goes after him on the field?
"I hope so, I really do. I hope he throws the ball 10 times my way -- more chances to make him pay," Cromartie said.
Brady says he isn't targeting any one Jet.
"More so than anything that's my job as the quarterback is to find the most open guy," he said. "I don't think it's 'Man I'm not gonna throw at this guy, I'm not gonna throw at this guy.' I've never played that way."
Cromartie's not worried about supplying bulletin board material for the Pats.
"They can have all the material they want to," he said. "It's about what you do between the white lines. They don't care what we say."
And his feelings won't change.
"It's ongoing. It's been since 2006," Cromartie said. "As long as I'm in the NFL and as long as he's in the NFL there's going to be that hatred."
During a conference call, Ryan said he was unfamiliar with Cromartie's comments and asked media members to fill him in.
"First off, in this country, you're allowed to have opinions, and all that kind of stuff," he responded when told of the remarks. "Obviously, as an organization, we respect Tom Brady, there is no question about it. But hey, is there dislike between us and Brady, and Brady against the Jets? Of course there is.
"Am I going to punish Cromartie for saying something, or whatever? No. I know one thing, we respect New England, but we don't fear them. A comment like that, it's just the fact they're the enemy, as we look at them this week."
Ryan was then asked if he believed those remarks crossed the line from fun trash talk to something else.
"Realistically, I'm sure that's basically what it was, just a comment that he made," Ryan said. "Trust me, they're saying a lot worse about me and others here, maybe it just wasn't printed."
While watching Patriots game film, Cromartie said the Jets have noticed Brady's penchant for pointing.
"He's doing the pointing at our defensive line and stuff like that," Cromartie said, according to the report. "That's the kind of a guy he is. He's a competitor, he loves what he's doing. He's going to compete. When you're competing, you are not worrying about anything else, about what anybody else is doing. You're just worried about what you have to do."
The Jets' Shaun Ellis also said he saw Brady pointing during the Dec. 6 rout, according to the New York Post.
"When they scored, he'd look over to our sideline and do a little body language and all that," Ellis said, according to the Post. "He was fired up for that game. We're going to get the same thing this week. It's for us as a defense to go out there and shut him down."
Cromartie's comments follow Ryan's assertion that Sunday's AFC playoff game is "personal" among him, Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick replied that it won't be him or Ryan trying to make plays on the field.
But Ryan did indirectly knock Brady last week during the Jets' preparations for the Indianapolis Colts, saying Brady didn't study game film as much as Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
"Nobody studies like [Manning]. I know Brady thinks he does and all that stuff," Ryan said. "I think there's probably a little more help from Belichick with Brady than there is with Peyton Manning."
"I get a ton of help from our coaches," he said during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "Of course we do. I think we have the best coach in the history of football. We have a great offensive staff, a great defensive staff that get all the players prepared."
Cromartie isn't the first player to drag the notion of "hate" into the Jets-Patriots rivalry. During the preseason, Brady said he wasn't watching HBO's "Hard Knocks" because he hated the Jets.
"Honestly, I haven't turned it on. I hate the Jets, so I refuse to support that show," Brady said.
On Wednesday, a reporter asked Ryan if he believed players followed his lead and that he incites such remarks. Ryan laughed.
"Yeah, of course," he said. "Maybe they do follow my lead in the fact that in that we can say what's on our mind or whatever. I don't say, 'Whatever we do, don't say this, or don't say that.' We're a transparent organization. We let our guys speak and don't try to tell them what to say or what not to say."
Ryan then was asked if there was a risk in making such remarks, because it could make the Jets look bad if they don't win.
"We're going to be watching somebody else play, so it really doesn't matter. You either win or you don't. In this league, if you don't win, it's over. Your season's over," he said. "To think that a comment here or there is going to incite them to play at a greater level or something like that, I don't believe that's true. ... It doesn't matter what would come out of New England's locker room or anybody else's locker room, because you can't be more motivated than we are, and you can't be more motivated than New England is."
A reporter then asked Ryan if Cromartie's comments are the type that show respect to Brady.
"Again, we're not apologizing for anything," he responded. "Did we vote him to be the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl? Yes, we did. Did we vote him to win the NFL Player of the Year? Yeah, we did. So there is plenty of respect, but we don't have to be all 'lovey-dovey' and say he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. We have a right to our opinion. A comment like that is no big deal. A guy makes a comment. Big deal."
Brady said he'd stand on his record when it comes to getting ready to play.
"Look, we try to win games, you know?" he said. "You look at what we've accomplished over 10 years, I think that speaks to the preparation of our team. That's why we play, to win games, more than anything else."
Brady said he's not really concerned about all the talk coming from the Jets.
"We're spending our time getting ready to play," he said. "I don't think we're spending our time figuring out what we can do to combat what people may say about us. Not everybody has great things to say about our team or organization, or certain players. That's kind of the way it's always been. We're just going to do our talking on the field. That's the way we've always chosen to do."
When asked if what another team says can have an effect on the outcome of a game, Brady said: "We'll see Sunday at 7:30."
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss, ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini and Mike Mazzeo and The Associated Press was used in this report.
Not everybody has great things to say about our team or organization, or certain players. That's kind of the way it's always been. We're just going to do our talking on the field. That's the way we've always chosen to do.
-- Tom Brady