Bears

Ex-NFL Pro Bowler: Chuck Pagano cut me 'because I took a knee'

Ex-NFL Pro Bowler: Chuck Pagano cut me 'because I took a knee'

Ex-NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie is making headlines on Wednesday after talking to Bleacher Report about the end of his time with the Indianapolis Colts. 

Speaking with B/R's Master Tesfatsion for a segment titled 'B/R Untold Stories,' Cromartie said that he believes that Chuck Pagano – who was the Colts' head coach at the time – cut Cromartie for taking a knee during the National Anthem. 

"We are in a team meeting, and Coach Pagano gets up and says, 'Look, guys. I know you all wanna do something. I don't want you guys taking a knee.

"He said when go out on the football field, it's about football." 

Cromartie still took a knee, and was subsequently benched for the second half of that game. He also mentioned that in a game against the Chargers, team executives asked him to stand up. When he refused to do so, the team surrounded him, with one person holding a towel to obscure the view. 

"Two or three days after I took a knee, I got three or four phone calls," he added. "... I didn't recognize the number, so I answered. They said, 'Hey, yo, you in the facility?' and I said, 'Yeah, why? What's up?' They told me that Chuck Pagano wanted to see you." 

When he met with team officials, the Colts told him he'd be released and asked for him to turn in his playbook. Pagano and the Colts told him it was because the secondary was getting healthy, but Cromartie remains skeptical. 

"It didn't have anything to do with my age, it didn't have anything to do with my style of play," he told Tesfatsion. "It was because I took a knee. October 2nd was my last game. I got one workout that whole entire time." 

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Bears Season in Review: Eddie Goldman

Bears Season in Review: Eddie Goldman

It seems like an annual talking point at this time in the offseason: Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman is one of the best yet most underrated players in Chicago. His performance in 2019 continued that career narrative. 

Goldman finished the year making 15 starts with 29 tackles and one sack. He earned the eighth-highest Pro Football Focus grade among all Bears defenders and remained the consistent run-stopping force in the center of Chicago’s defensive line. 

To be fair, Goldman wasn’t as dominant as he was in 2018, when his 89.1 PFF grade was one of the best at his position in the NFL. But in terms of his role with the Bears, he’s irreplaceable. 

Goldman is entering the third year of a four-year, $42 million contract and will quickly become a source of contract negotiations once again. If he has another strong season in 2020, GM Ryan Pace will have little choice but to lock him up on another extension. Sure, that seems like it’s way down the road, but big-time defensive linemen get paid big-time contracts; Pace has to be prepared. There are currently six defensive tackles making at least $14 million per season.

Quality nose tackles are hard to find. They don’t fill up the stat sheet and rarely do they ever become league-wide superstars; but the Bears’ defense simply wouldn’t possess the upside it does without Goldman anchoring the defensive line, and that remained true in 2019.

Bears Season in Review: Eddie Goldman

Bears Season in Review: Eddie Goldman

It seems like an annual talking point at this time in the offseason: Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman is one of the best yet most underrated players in Chicago. His performance in 2019 continued that career narrative. 

Goldman finished the year making 15 starts with 29 tackles and one sack. He earned the eighth-highest Pro Football Focus grade among all Bears defenders and remained the consistent run-stopping force in the center of Chicago’s defensive line. 

To be fair, Goldman wasn’t as dominant as he was in 2018, when his 89.1 PFF grade was one of the best at his position in the NFL. But in terms of his role with the Bears, he’s irreplaceable. 

Goldman is entering the third year of a four-year, $42 million contract and will quickly become a source of contract negotiations once again. If he has another strong season in 2020, GM Ryan Pace will have little choice but to lock him up on another extension. Sure, that seems like it’s way down the road, but big-time defensive linemen get paid big-time contracts; Pace has to be prepared. There are currently six defensive tackles making at least $14 million per season.

Quality nose tackles are hard to find. They don’t fill up the stat sheet and rarely do they ever become league-wide superstars; but the Bears’ defense simply wouldn’t possess the upside it does without Goldman anchoring the defensive line, and that remained true in 2019.