Cromartie meets with Ravens

OWINGS MILLS — Count the Baltimore Ravens among the multiple NFL franchises that are curious about the medical progress of Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

Cromartie suffered a major knee injury that sidelined him for the entire 2005 campaign, and his once-depressed draft stock is apparently rising again because of his showings at the scouting combine and the Seminoles' Pro Day.

Projected as a late first- or early second-round draft pick, Cromartie visited the Ravens' training complex for a follow-up medical exam, according to his agent. He was accompanied by former Florida State teammates Brodrick Bunkley and Ernie Sims.

At 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, Cromartie has been clocked at 4.48 and 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash. An all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a sophomore, Cromartie was named to Playboy's preseason All-American team last summer. He left school after his junior year despite the injury.

Cromartie had surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament, lateral collateral ligament and the hamstring tendon in his left knee after being injured during voluntary workouts July 12. His rehabilitation process was initially projected to be nine months.

"His knee is coming along very well and he's at about 90 percent of his normal capacity," said Cromartie's agent, Jason Fletcher. "We're hoping he'll be drafted somewhere between the 12th and 25th picks of the first round. Everything is about a month ahead of schedule with Antonio's knee. He will be 100 percent by football season."

Cromartie is scheduled to visit the Kansas City Chiefs next week with other visits set up with the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

Cromartie has taken 13 visits, racking up frequent-flier miles as teams perform their due diligence to find out if his knee is ready for the rigors of an NFL season.

"I don't think I have to prove too much of anything," Cromartie told reporters at the scouting combine. "I have to prove something to myself. To me I feel like I don't have any pressure on me right now, just go out and do what I've always done and that's just play football."

In 2004, Cromartie tied for the team lead with four interceptions and returned one for a touchdown at Florida State. He could have improved his stock significantly by returning to school for his senior year, but decided to leave for financial and family reasons after growing up in a rough neighborhood in Tallahassee, Fla.

"It was tough for me," Cromartie said. "For me, when I grew up, I was always in the projects. So it was money. It was always a problem for us family-wise. I'm taking on this opportunity now so we won't have any financial problems for the rest of our lives."

NOTES: The Ravens have planned visits for Fresno State cornerback Richard Marshall, Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen and Penn State cornerback Alan Zemaitis. Baltimore had a private workout with Nebraska safety Josh Bullocks. … USC offensive guard Fred Matua said he will visit the Ravens today. "I'm hoping to meet Edwin Mulitalo," the all-conference blocker said in a telephone interview. "I've always looked up to him as a player. I've heard great things about the Ravens' organization and I can't wait to see their facility and meet with the coaches and scouts." … The Ravens attended a private workout out for Arizona defensive end Copeland Bryan.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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