TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State cornerback Antonio
Cromartie will miss the 2005 season after tearing a ligament in his
left knee, the latest setback for a program already hit hard with
illness, academic and legal troubles.
Cromartie tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee
during voluntary workouts Tuesday.
Florida State trainer Randy Oravetz said Cromartie will undergo
surgery next week to repair the knee.
"You just have to believe that things happen for a reason,"
Cromartie said Wednesday. "If I do everything the trainers and
doctors tell me to do, I'll be back ready to go for next season."
Cromartie tied for second last year in the Atlantic Coast
Conference with four interceptions and scored a pair of defensive
touchdowns -- one on an interception and the other on a fumble
"He was right there on the verge of becoming a dominating
player," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "What it does
now is open up an opportunity for one of the other cornerbacks to
become a starter."
Andrews said he'd begin fall practice next month with sophomore
J.R. Bryant in Cromartie's spot at left cornerback opposite senior
In 1993, the Seminoles lost starting defensive backs Corey
Fuller and Steve Gilmer before the season began, but went on to win
a national title with their replacements and quarterback Charlie
Ward, who won the Heisman Trophy.
But this year they'll be going with a brand new quarterback --
either Xavier Lee or Drew Weatherford. Both are redshirt freshmen.
The Seminoles lost junior quarterback Wyatt Sexton for the
season after he was diagnosed last week with Lyme disease. And the
status of linebackers Ernie Sims and A.J. Nicholson, the team's two
leading tacklers a year ago, is also in doubt for the season opener
against Miami on Sept. 5.
Sims was arrested last week following an early morning fight
with his live-in girlfriend outside a university residence hall.
Nicholson had a pair or run-ins with local police, including a
Clifton Dickson, the team's most dominating interior defensive
lineman in the spring, was declared academically ineligible and
must graduate from a community college before he can be readmitted
to the university.