The New York Jets just couldn't help themselves.
WardAfter a week full of mostly warm and fuzzy compliments leading up to Sunday's AFC Championship Game, cornerback Antonio Cromartie and a few Jets teammates turned up the trash-talking dial at the last minute by calling Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward a "dirty" player. This put an end to a cordial week where "mutual respect" and even "love" were the biggest keywords coming from both camps.
This is not a new claim, as Ward is the best blocking receiver in the NFL. He's had devastating hits on numerous defenders, sometimes ending their season. That was the case in 2008 with Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers, who suffered a broken jaw after a big block by Ward.
Jets players told New York reporters that if Ward goes the same route this weekend, there will be some issues.
Cromartie"Just tell [him] if he do it again you're gonna kick his [expletive]," Cromartie said.
"We're going to deal with him early so he knows what type of game it's going to be, and that none of that stuff is being tolerated," Jets safety James Ihedigbo said.
Ward hasn't said anything controversial towards the Jets this week. The only thing that somewhat resembled trash-talking by the Steelers was cornerback Ike Taylor saying he would "lay out" friend and former teammate Santonio Holmes. But even that was tame. So much was the case, the usually riled-up Jets shrugged it off.
But these comments from New York are hard to ignore. It appears Ward could be a target of the Jets, which is nothing new for the 13-year veteran.