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Rex makes you want to play for him, run into a wall for him,” Cromartie said. “That’s something I’ll love to do. I’m going to pick up my game from a physical standpoint and just go out and play football.”

He has been impressive so far in training camp, making a handful of flashy plays through the first few days.

“He wants to hear his name mentioned again when you talk about some of the best corners in the game,” Thurman said. “With his enormous talent, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t.”

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who played four seasons with Cromartie in San Diego, sees a changed man.

“I definitely see a certain focus in Antonio and a determination,” Tomlinson said. “He’s back to the player he’s always been.”

Thurman said he and Ryan scouted Cromartie when they were assistants with the Baltimore Ravens and the cornerback was a star at Florida State.

“He had one of the best pro days we’d ever seen,” Thurman said.

That’s why the Jets jumped when they had an opportunity to add him in the offseason _ baggage and all.

“He’s got these great long arms and strong hands, let’s use them,” Ryan said. “Let’s be more physical at the line. His ball skills are God-given. I don’t know how to describe him. I’ve never seen anything like that. Somebody is calling him a spider because he’s so long, he’s tall, and he’s got those long arms. … He’s a rare guy.”

And, Cromartie is happy to make the most of a chance at resurrecting his career.

“I would tell you that I have no problem telling you that this is a better fit,” he said. “It’s a lot more man-to-man, get-in-your-face kind of defense that I love. This is something I’m going to love to do, and I hope it’s for many years to come.”