Patriots quarterback Tom Brady got support from an unlikely source on Thursday. New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie came out in defense of Brady, while criticizing commissioner Roger Goodell for how Deflategate has played out.
"Honestly, I don't think he should be suspended," said Cromartie, appearing on ESPN's "First Take" at Jets training camp. "I think the fine is a $25,000 fine. They got fined, they got took away draft picks. But the maximum fine, I think, was $25,000. And in the rulebooks, there's no suspension in the rules. There's only a $25,000 fine with the CBA and with the ruling that's going on.
"So I don't see how you can try to lay the hammer down on someone when the rule states for itself there's no suspension for it. There's only a maximum fine for $25,000. So it's just the point of, are we trying to go back to the Spygate and get more from that?"
According to the Associated Press, Cromartie also said that "nobody is safe" with the way Goodell handles things, that Goodell is ''going to make his own rules as he goes," and that the players are to blame for signing in 2011 the CBA that gave Goodell the power to rule on player appeals.
The support was surprising because Cromartie has been unabashed in his criticism of Brady in the past. In 2011, Cromartie said he hated Brady.
The two were AFC East rivals from 2010-13, Cromartie's first stint in New York. After a season with the Arizona Cardinals, Cromartie rejoined the Jets in March.
In 10 career games against the Patriots, Cromartie's teams are 3-7. He has two career interceptions against Brady, both with the Jets.
Cromartie isn't the first of Brady's rivals to come to his defense. Bernard Pollard and Terrell Suggs have, too.
In June, Suggs said Deflategate hasn't damaged Brady's legacy.
"The guy is a winner," said Suggs, according to ESPN. "He's won with whatever kind of personnel that he's had. So I don't think it really tarnished it."
Last weekend, Pollard said that as someone who faces Brady, he doesn't like him. But at the same time, he thinks highly of what Brady brings to the table and doesn't believe he should be suspended.
"I do not like Tom Brady as a competitor, somebody that's playing against him, because he is a competitive player," Pollard said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I respect the [heck] out of him, because the guy knows how to win. You can say whatever you want to say about him, but he is a true champion."