Former Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson, one of the most outspoken athletes of his or any era, has one message for the Jets in advance of Sunday's game against the Patriots: Shut up and play.
In an interview with Michael Kay today on ESPN 1050 AM in New York, Jackson unloaded on cornerback Antonio Cromartie for publicly criticizing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
"If someone would have called me an ---," Jackson said, "I would think, 'What's he thinking about? What's on your mind? The history I've had in postseason, and here we are in the playoffs, and you're making comments? My friend, you need to figure out how to cover No. 83 (Wes Welker) this weekend."
Jackson added: "Antonio Cromartie. I don’t even know his name. I think I know him because he’s been taking care of all his children," Jackson said, referring to Cromartie's seven children with five different women. "That's what I know of him ... What are you talking about? What are you doing? Shut up. Play football. Spend your time looking at film, knocking down a pass. You're not affecting Brady. You're wasting time."
Jackson said other players far more well regarded than Cromartie weren't known for their big talk. "[Tiger] Woods, [Jack] Nicklaus, Jimmy Brown, Johnny Unitas, [Joe] Montana. They don't run their mouths," Jackson said. "The wannabes, the imitations do."
"Look at the [Super Bowl] hardware," Jackson said of Cromartie. "You don’t have anything close to that. Shut up, you might learn something. Watch film, you might get educated. You’ve got a chance to be embarrassed Sunday. I hope you don’t, because I’m a fan. But what are you doing?"
Jackson was asked if Cromartie's comments might elevate Brady's play.
"You don’t affect him," Jackson said of Brady. "You don’t heighten his senses. His focus will be beating the Jets. Oh, by the way, No. 31 is going to be on the other side, [but] that's not his focus. He's not worried about what you say. I don't think it's going to affect Brady one bit."