Chuck Pagano Believes Antonio Cromartie Is "Perfect" Fit In Colts Defense

Intro: On Tuesday afternoon, following a full-padded practice, new cornerback Antonio Cromartie met the media. What did the four-time Pro Bowl corner have to say in his first media session with the Colts?


INDIANAPOLIS –The smile on Andrew Luck's face would not go away on Tuesday during the media availability inside the Colts' locker room.

Luck was grinning, watching the media surround the newly used corner locker, a few cubbies down from the franchise quarterback.

"CROMARTIE 34" was the nameplate above the locker with cameras and microphones hovering around it.

In front of the locker was newly signed Antonio Cromartie, a man who has picked off Luck before.

That's not the first time Cromartie has had the Colts' number in his 10 NFL seasons.

Now, after nine years of playing elsewhere in the AFC, Cromartie is on the home sideline in Indianapolis.

"I'm excited," the 32-year-old Cromartie said after his first practice with the Colts on Tuesday afternoon. "I'm looking forward to the season and I hope everyone else is."

Count Chuck Pagano as someone who is looking forward to seeing how Cromartie can turn the recent fortune at the cornerback position.

Following a Monday workout of Cromartie (who also worked out for the Bears last week), the Colts deemed him healthy.

Cromartie assured to the media on Tuesday that health isn't a concern for him.

Pagano often gravitates towards the secondary room and sees the traits he loves in a cornerback from Cromartie.

"Long, athletic, fast. Ball skills, intelligent, smart, knows the game as well as anybody I've been around," Pagano said of Cromartie, calling the fit a "perfect" one for what the Colts desire in a cornerback.

If the physical boxes are checked for Cromartie, the mental hurdle appears to be hardly anything at all.

Cromartie feels very comfortable with the system/terminology in Indianapolis. Past stops with the Jets and Chargers have Cromartie nodding his head at Pagano's assessment of the match here in Indy.

"I would agree that it's a perfect fit," Cromartie, who has missed just two NFL games in 10 years, says.

The Colts could very well be asking a lot of Cromartie, as early as Week One.

If Vontae Davis does indeed miss time, Cromartie would be a likely option tasked to replace one of the most indispensable players on the roster.

It's been a quiet offseason for Cromartie.

After the Jets parted ways with him in February, Cromartie has had to listen to reports about him possibly storing the cleats away for good.

That thought, he says, never crept into his head.

"That's just all rumor. That was just something people were spreading," Cromartie said on Tuesday.

"I wasn't looking forward to retiring because I felt like I had a lot more left."

We will find out how much the four-time Pro Bowler has left with a team he's made so many plays on from San Diego to New York.

Cromartie will be eased into practice, as this is his first football related activity since the end of 2015. It remains to be seen whether Cromartie will play in one of the final two preseason games.

Come Week One, the Colts have a player who isn't viewing this as a second chance.

It's an opportunity to show that his play can still be near the peak of the NFL.

"Last year I didn't feel that I had a great season," Cromartie says. "Most of it was due to (a groin) injury."

"So for me, it was good to get back healthy and playing football. (It's) an opportunity to prove myself that I know I can play and I can still play at a high level and come in and help this team out."

The Colts agreed to terms with free agent cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

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