ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Deep down, Antonio Cromartie knows the Jets likely will release him this offseason in hopes of retaining him at a lower price.
But Cromartie's friend and former teammate, Quentin Jammer, believes the Jets have no choice but to keep the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback.
"I think they will,'' Jammer, a cornerback for the Super Bowl-bound Broncos, said after Thursday's practice. "I mean, you don't get rid of a guy like [Darrelle] Revis and then get rid of a guy like Cromartie.''
Cromartie -- who currently is in Hawaii for the 2014 Pro Bowl -- surprisingly was selected as a second alternate in December despite having one of his worst seasons, partially because of a nagging hip injury. On Sunday night, the team announced that Cromartie, 29, would replace injured Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib in the Pro Bowl.
Jammer, who was drafted fifth overall by the Chargers in 2002 and played four seasons with Cromartie, agreed that his friend had an off year in 2013. But Jammer, 34, stressed that Cromartie's injury "played a big part of it . . . it's been a lingering thing for him, so hopefully he can get that thing fixed and come back and have the year he wants to have.''
Jammer said Cromartie has "always been a phenomenal athlete.'' But while he's seen improvement in Cromartie's play since their time together in San Diego, Jammer said he's far more proud of the man Cromartie is off the field than on it.
"I've known Cro since he was young and a little foolish -- he's from Florida, you know . . . Cro was a little crazy,'' said Jammer, who plans to meet up with his former teammate next week when Denver travels to New Jersey for Super Bowl XVLIII. "And now he's a mature family man and I'm real proud of him. And it goes to show kids that you don't have to be stuck in that. You can change and become whatever you want.''