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Cromartie shouldn't apologize for smack

1/15/2011 - NFL New York Jets

The foul language was just the color, the seasoning.

The message, however, was strong, loud and clear -- right on the money.

New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie shouldn't apologize because he won't kiss Tom Brady's ring, er, rings.

Sadly, too many in the NFL can't help but fall over the New England Patriots' star quarterback. But Brady has had his three parades following Super Bowl victories.

That stuff is ancient history in this up-to-the-minute world we live in. It just doesn't matter that he was king of the prom in the here and now.

And let's face it, the last time we looked the Patriots haven't been the last team standing in quite some time.

That's why, if you're a Jets fan, you should have absolutely loved the tongue-lashing Cromartie gave Brady. The best part of that interview coming when he was asked: What kind of guy Brady is? Cromartie said "ass----," according to the New York Daily News' story.

For sure, some cringed and worried that Cromartie made a boo-boo by fueling Brady to beat the Jets even more come this Sunday's AFC playoff game.

Stop it.

There's nothing like some good off-the-field trash-talking, especially when the target is the Patriots' Golden Boy, the same guy who took in a Broadway show rather than watch the Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts.

Plus, it's not like this tirade came out of nowhere. Brady, according to the Jets, pointed and barked at them during a 45-3 butt-whipping in December.

After throwing a TD pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, Brady pointed to the Jets' sideline. The Jets didn't like it then and remembered how he mocked them. That's why they don't have admiration for Brady, who, no doubt, had a dream season as a QB.

Enter Cromartie, sounding more like a sailor than a football player.

Cromartie, though, got support from his teammates and his coach, Rex Ryan.

Ryan also created a buzz earlier this week by saying the game was "personal" between him, Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

We've all heard enough from Ryan, the loudmouth of the NFL. It was finally good to hear a player take on an opponent, someone who can make plays out on the field and win the game.

Cromartie is that guy.

It's one thing when the coach puts the onus on himself and tries to take the pressure off his team. It's even better when a player stands up and says: Yeah, I said it. Here I am. Try to do something about it.

Brady, of course, played off the verbal attack and even joked that he had been called worse.

Come Sunday, though, no one will be joking. It will be serious business, do-or-die stuff, NFL playoff football. There's no do-over or another game in the series if you lose. You simply go home because your season is over.

If the Jets are able to win and move onto the AFC championship game for the second straight year, Cromartie will be a big reason why.

Sure, the Jets will have to play great defense and run the football. That's how they beat the Colts on the road.

Still, in this case, it will come down to stopping Brady, making plays on the ball and receivers he throws to. With Darrelle Revis on the other side, you know the ball will be coming Cromartie's way, that he will be in position to be a game-changer.

What are people so afraid of? Since when is being confident and outspoken a bad thing? It's not. It's exactly what the Jets need in this tight spot.

If Brady needs Cromartie's words to get fired up, he isn't as great as most think he is. Brady needs no motivation other than winning.

Many have not crossed Brady and praised him around the clock, and he still beat them. The Patriots can be beat and Brady can be stopped. Just check out the Baltimore Ravens-Pats playoff game a year ago in Foxborough. It was not a pretty picture.

Neither were Cromartie's words. But that's OK. Going after the enemy, especially one that rubbed their faces in it during the last meeting, is never going to sound smart. It could turn out to be, though.

Rob Parker is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.

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