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Cromartie sounds ready to leave Chargers amid trade rumors

Antonio Cromartie could be the next high-profile player to leave the San Diego Chargers. At least he's talking like he has one foot out the door.

The former Pro Bowl cornerback told SIRIUS NFL Radio hosts Bryan McGovern and Jim Miller on Monday night that he wasn't thrilled with the way that the Chargers play defense and it could be time for a change.

"It may be time to move on," Cromartie said. "I have complained to the coaches about certain stuff, about the way we play, and they know that. But if it's time to part ways and that's in the Lord's will, then that's what's got to happen. But I would love to continue to finish out either my contract or my career in San Diego."

Cromartie's biggest complaint is that the Chargers just aren't aggressive enough, relying too much on zone defense. Cromartie said the team was much more aggressive under coordinators Wade Phillips and Ted Cottrell.

The Chargers led the NFL with 30 interceptions in 2007, but they recorded just 29 in the last two seasons combined, failing to crack the top 10 each year.

"To me, I felt like we played too much zone," Cromartie said. "As we would say, we felt like we had two of the best corners in the NFL, me and (Quentin) Jammer, and we played too much zone coverage, rather than man.

"I'd just like to play in a defense that's aggressive, period, to the point of, let us use our strengths and use our abilities. Ever since I came out, my first two years, it was like that."

Cromartie was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2007 season, when he registered an NFL-high 10 interceptions despite not becoming a starter until midseason. The highlight for Cromartie that season was intercepting three Peyton Manning passes during a Week 10 victory and following it up with another pickoff against the Colts' quarterback during the Chargers' playoff win.


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But it started going downhill from there for Cromartie.

Cromartie boasted of breaking Dick "Night Train" Lane's single-season record of 14 interceptions the following season. However, Cromartie finished with just two interceptions (both in the third game) and later claimed that he played the entire season with a broken hip.

Cromartie also has been hampered by paternity suits, after having seven children living in five states. Cromartie has been named in five paternity suits in the last two years.

Cromartie dedicated himself to football in 2009, but he again fell short of expectations, finishing with just three interceptions. The Chargers' season ended in disappointing fashion, with a divisional-round playoff loss to the New York Jets.

Now rumors are swirling that Cromartie might have played his last game in San Diego. Cromartie said he hasn't talked to Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, and he leaves that stuff to his agent, Gary Wichard. Cromartie said he wouldn't be surprised if he's traded because he understands the business side of football.

If traded, Cromartie would join running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who was released Monday, in leaving San Diego.

"I think they're going to make moves this year, especially for guys that are going to be expecting big contracts and things like that coming up," Cromartie said. "If that's what they want to do, especially with the trade rumors that I'm hearing, that's part of the business, that's how it goes. If I'm there next year, I'm going to play to the best of my ability. If I'm not, I got to play somewhere else and help that organization out the best way I can."

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