Veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie announced his retirement from the NFL today.
The 11-year pro with four franchises posted a message on Instagram saying “after 27 years of playing football, today I say farewell.”
An All-Pro with San Diego in 2007, when he led the league with 10 interceptions, Cromartie was one of the NFL’s best cover cornerbacks for much of his career, making four Pro Bowls. He also scored the longest touchdown in league history, returning a missed field goal by Minnesota for a 109-yard score in 2007.
Cromartie, 33, spent his first four seasons with the Chargers, making the playoffs each year. He then joined the Jets and made the AFC championship game with them in 2010, his first of four straight seasons as a starter in Rex Ryan’s defense.
He spent 2014 with Arizona, returned to the Jets in 2015, and finished his career in 2016 with Indianapolis.
Cromartie’s ball skills, size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and speed made him a desirable commodity even though he was an inconsistent tackler and often gambled in coverage. The Chargers selected him 19th overall in the 2006 draft.
“To The San Diego Chargers and the Spanos Family, thank you for believing in me,” Cromartie wrote. “Thank you for taking a chance on a young kid from Tallahassee, Florida who did not play much in college. You believed in my ability and my potential to play at a professional level, and I will forever be grateful.”
With the Jets in 2010, he combined with Darrelle Revis to form one of football’s best cornerback tandems.
“I grew as a player, a man, and as a leader,” he wrote of his time in New York. “The brotherhood I built here was undeniable. My heart will forever embrace the feeling of running through the tunnel and out onto the field with my brothers. My family and I will forever Bleed Green.”