For all of the fault we can find with our athletes nowadays, it is that much more exciting when we find an athlete that is worth highlighting for all of the RIGHT reasons.
Eric Crocker has dreamt of being an NFL football player for a long time. He went through a rough time as kid, and he almost gave up his dream entirely. But, from sheer hard work, Crocker worked his way back into the game, landed a roster spot with the San Antonio Talons’ of the Arena league, and now a tryout with our New York Jets.
Learn a bit more about Eric by reading this article about him.
Eric took a few minutes out of his day to talk to the J-E-T Press about hard work, football, and what he can bring to the New York Jets. Take a look:
THE JET PRESS:So, what do you think of New York so far? How’s the area treating you?
ERIC CROCKER: I haven’t been to New York yet.. I’ve been in my play book so far during my downtime. The little I’ve seen of New Jersey is a lot different from California. I was blown away to see people pump gas for you lol. That has probably been the biggest shock so far.
TJP:Have you spent much time talking with Rex, and the coaching staff? What are your first impressions? How do you feel you will fit in? How can they bring out your strengths, ..etc.?
EC:Other than team/positions I haven’t spent much individual time speaking with the staff but the staff is great! Coach Rex Ryan has a great sense of humor. I can tell he’s a players coach. But he also is big on everyone knowing their assignments on defense and its very clear that anything less than being the best defense in the league is unacceptable. I love the scheme of defense. Playing corner back here fits into my strengths and I can’t wait to be able to showcase my coverage skills during camp.
TJP: Now let’s go back for a few minutes. Tell our readers that aren’t necessarily familiar with you, where you are originally from, where you played as a kid…..some background on you.
EC:I’m from Stockton California, number 8 on Forbes list most dangerous cities in America. It was a very challenging city to grow up in and after seeing crime in my neighborhood at a young age I turned to sports to give me a way out. I’m a father to my son Jayden “Juice” Crocker. I’m a believer and know that its only because of God and hard work that I’ve come this far. I love giving back to my community and I’m definitely looking forward to getting involved in the NY communities. I love burritos and swear that Stockton, CA has the best burritos and tacos truck in the world, but if you beg to differ please let me know where I can get a great burrito in NY.
TJP: Now you have a great story, as you basically had your academics take you out of the game for a while, to a point where you thought you couldn’t get back. But you worked your tail off, and it led to the Arena League, and finally this opportunity. Talk about that roller coaster, how did you handle it? What did it teach you about yourself? And how did it prepare you for this chance.?
EC:It was a very challenging time for me. My academic screw ups messed up the life I had planned out for myself, but of course everything doesn’t always go as planned so I had a few bumps in the road. It taught me to never count myself out. Since then my mental toughness has been tested at each level.. Starting from the bottom each time. This opportunity with the Jets is no different. I’m starting at the bottom trying to show the coaches that I belong here and can make a difference on this team whether its on defense or special teams… Or both
TJP:Who are some defensive backs that you have admired growing up, and tried to model your game after?
EC:Obviously Deion Sanders was who I inspired to be like the most on the field but other than him guys I have looked up to the most are Revis and Cromartie. A lot of guys have compared me to Cromartie over the years because of my height and Revis has been one of the top corners for the last few years. I’ve probably seen every youtube clip on each guy. So to be in meeting rooms with guys I’ve admired is unreal. Being around them has been cool. Both guys very down to earth and I look at them now as just teammates and guys I can learn from.
TJP: Now I want to hear you talk yourself up a little bit. What type of player are we going to see in Eric Crocker? What can Eric do to make Jets fans stand up and cheer?
EC:One thing that’ll stand out from the first time fans see me on the field is my passion for the game. There will be plays made, trash talking, excitement, and through all that you will see a good kid who just really loves the game of football.
Thanks to Eric for taking the time to talk to us. He’s a great guy, give him a follow on Twitter at @eric_crocker