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Jets CB Cromartie takes swipe at Steelers WR Ward's hitting

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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One week after he called out Tom Brady, New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie is riled up about Hines Ward.

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During an interview Friday on SportsNet New York, Cromartie said the Pittsburgh Steelers star isn't "man enough to hit you when you're looking at him." Ward is widely considered one of the NFL's most aggressive wide receivers, with some opponents calling him dirty.

Cromartie said he doesn't consider Ward dirty, but "I know for a fact that he will hit you while you're not looking."

The comments came one week after Cromartie stirred things up when he called Brady an expletive leading up to the Jets' 28-21 playoff win at New England.

Cromartie and Jets coach Rex Ryan accused the Patriots' quarterback of showboating and pointing at their sideline after a late touchdown in New York's 45-3 loss to New England in Week 13. When asked Friday if he regretted his comments, a defiant Cromartie said no way.

Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine shared Cromartie's assessment of Ward, telling the The Star-Ledger on Thursday that his players as a group consider the receiver the "toughest player in the league when no one is looking."

Cromartie's comments extended beyond Ward. He acknowledged Mike Wallace's speed but offered a lukewarm review of Steelers wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown entering Sunday night's AFC Championship Game.

"They're young guys, they're still learning how to play at this level," Cromartie said. "A guy like Mike Wallace, he's maybe the best vertical guy that can get up the field. But I mean, the young guys, they do their job, and that's all you can ask for them to do. You've got rookies coming in still learning how to play in the NFL."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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