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Cromartie gets a lesson or two in first day in Chargers' camp

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/chargers/20060726-1704-fbn-chargers-cromartie.html">Associated Press</a>

    By Bernie Wilson

    SAN DIEGO – Antonio Cromartie spent a portion of his first training camp practice getting schooled by a wide receiver who had a whopping three catches last year.

    Cromartie's body, including his knee, is fine. It's his head that's got to catch up.

    "Right now I think I'm in good shape," the Chargers' rookie cornerback said Wednesday. "The physical part of it right now isn't the biggest thing. It's the mental thing."

    The first-round draft pick was at practice a day after agreeing to a five-year contract that could be worth $12.75 million. The deal contains guarantees of $7.35 million.

    Cromartie missed both practices Tuesday, the opening day for rookies and selected veterans.

    "We're delighted he was able to get in," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "He's got a lot of work in front of him, and the best place to do it is here."

    Cromartie is in an NFL camp just more than a year after tearing up his left knee in a voluntary workout at Florida State. He missed his entire junior season, then turned pro.

    "I feel pretty good," he said. "The biggest problem was just to get in and get back in the groove and don't miss out on anything that's coming up in the next couple of weeks.

    "If I missed a day when the veterans came in, it would be like missing a week," he said. "When they come in, everything's going to move a little faster."

    Veterans report Friday and the first full-squad practice is Saturday morning.

    Veterans who had any kind of medical issue at the end of last season are already in camp. One of then, receiver Vincent Jackson, got the best of Cromartie a handful of times in Wednesday's first practice. Jackson had three catches as a rookie last year.

    "I think he did reasonably well," Schottenheimer said of Cromartie. "He's got fresh legs, as they say, but he did very well. He's a bright young man and very diligent worker. He needs a lot of work, but he is a hard worker."

    Although Cromartie started only one game in his college career, the Chargers took a chance on him with the 19th pick because they liked his work ethic and potential. Plus, Schottenheimer has always liked big defensive backs, and Cromartie is 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds.

    Cromartie became the third cornerback drafted in the first round by the Chargers in the last five years. The others were Quentin Jammer in 2002 and Sammy Davis in 2003. Davis was sent to San Francisco for receiver Rashaun Woods in a swap of former first-round busts.

    Cromartie will compete with Drayton Florence for the starting job opposite Jammer in the Chargers' interception-challenged secondary. Chargers cornerbacks accounted for only three pickoffs last year, and the team's total was just 10. Jammer had one pick last year and has two in his last 36 games.

    San Diego's pass defense was ranked No. 28.

    Cromartie had five interceptions in 25 games at Florida State.

    The Chargers will be trying to reach the playoffs for just the second time in 11 seasons. A December collapse left them 9-7 and in third place in the AFC West.
     

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