Antonio Cromartie nine children with eight wome
That's one more kid than the eight he haltingly listed last month when asked to name his children on HBO's reality show "Hard Knocks."
Maybe the oversight is because his pressures as a pro football player pale against the soap opera of his life off the field. He juggles daddy duties for a 6-month-old girl with his wife, model Terricka Cason, plus eight kids up to age 5 from women he knocked up.
At only 26, Cromartie's conquests range from a then-17-year-old girl in his hometown Tallahassee to a lawyer and beauty queen.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound former San Diego Charger has left a nationwide trail of paternity suits, visitation agreements and child-support orders totaling tens of thousands of dollars a month. Last March, the Jets fronted him $500,000 of his salary to pay at least $25,000 in arrears and other custody-related costs. He's in the final year of a five-year, $12.5 million contract.
"All that glitters really isn't gold," ex-fiancée Rhonda Patterson, a corporate lawyer and former Miss Black North Carolina, said of the charismatic Cromartie, who fathered her 2-year-old daughter, London.
"It's easy to get wrapped up in the lifestyle that came with being engaged to someone in the NFL -- first-class flights, shopping on Rodeo Drive, living in his Atlanta mansion. It made it easier to overlook the red flags."
Cromartie canceled their wedding a week before it was to take place and tossed her from his San Diego home when she was six months pregnant. He has spent just a couple of hours with their toddler in two years, she said.
Speaking out for the first time, Patterson and two other Cromartie baby mamas -- several of the women stay in touch -- describe a man with ample charm who seduced and betrayed them with equal ease.
Some of the women stay cordial or at least civil with "Cro" for their kids, who travel to see their dad at games and communicate via Skype, the Internet phone service.
But he has a volatile relationship with Rosemita Pierre, the mother of his eldest child, Alonzo. This year, he wrested primary custody of their 5-year-old son after Cromartie's sister, Cheaquita, testified that Pierre was a pot-smoking prostitute. Rosemita denied the accusations.
Alonzo was ordered to live in New Jersey with Cromartie, his wife, their baby girl and his wife's daughter from a prior relationship. He visited his mom this summer, when Cromartie laced into Pierre because she didn't rent a car to pick up the boy at the Atlanta airport.
Cromartie called her a "stupid-ass girl," she said, and threatened, "You'll lose your f--kin' custody rights. I couldn't care less if you don't see him."
Cromartie's lawyer in the case, Thomas Schulte Jr., said such language is understandable with couples "in a bad breakup."
Cromartie grew up poor in Tallahassee -- the eldest of four kids his unmarried mom, Cassandra Gardner, had by the time she was 21.
In the summer of 2001, when Antonio was 17, Gardner asked a court to appoint a guardian for him, records show. This allowed him to live with his "godmother" in a better part of town zoned for Lincoln HS, where he joined the football team.
While a freshman at Florida State University, he knocked up Pierre, then 17 and still at Lincoln.
"Oh, we're having a baby. Let's talk about it later," she quoted Cromartie as saying.
Cromartie acknowledged paternity only after a DNA test confirmed it, Pierre said. Gardner offered to pay for an abortion, saying, "We just had one done for him" with another girl. Pierre refused. He didn't visit Pierre and his first child in the hospital, but Gardner came with Cromartie's "sister," a woman who was actually his girlfriend.
Pierre, then 18, bought baby supplies herself, she said. Cromartie agreed to contribute $50 a week, records show. While Pierre worked two jobs, Gardner watched the baby. "Everyone was more concerned about his football career. His mom did everything for him," Pierre said.
Cromartie was taken by the Chargers' as the 19th pick of the 2006 NFL draft.
"He came over to pick up Alonzo in his brand-new Escalade," Pierre recalled. "He still didn't pay me one penny."
In November 2006, Cromartie agreed to give Pierre $2,800 a month in child support. Gardner took Alonzo on trips to San Diego to visit his dad.
Things got ugly this year when Cromartie won custody. "I don't think anybody who cared about the child would leave him in that environment," said Schulte, Cro's lawyer.
But Pierre is devastated. "He snatched my baby away," she said, crying.
After Cromartie joined the Chargers, he played the field -- a fertile one. His baby mamas gave birth to four kids in 2007 -- two in July alone.
One gal pal, Erin Wilson of Smyrna, Ga., met Cromartie when they were students at Florida State. She called him a "good person at heart."
"I'm not going to say we're buddy-buddy and friendly all the time, but our situation works. We make it work. We Skype once a week," she said.
Their son, Antonio Cromartie Jr., sees his dad "pretty often, a lot in the off-season." Wilson and "A.J." lived in San Diego near Cromartie three months last year during the football season while she trained in physical therapy. He pays her $3,500 a month in child support.
Latoya Burley of Houston, who also delivered a Cromartie kid in 2007, met Cromartie on Facebook. After the birth of daughter Deyjah, now 3, Cro had babies with two other women -- Patterson and a Ryan Ross of Los Angeles. He kept Burley on the sidelines, and she became the only lover to have a second Cromartie child -- daughter Leilani.
Meanwhile, then-law student Patterson, who met Cromartie on Facebook in 2005, struck up a long-distance romance after a rendezvous in Atlanta, where he did his personal training.
"He was fun. He made me laugh. He loves to dance," she said.
She eventually ended it over "rumors of infidelity." In late 2007, he wooed Patterson again, insisting he had cleaned up his act. "He assured me he was serious, and definitely thinking about marriage and a family," she said. "I thought he had made some poor choices early in life, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt."
He flew Patterson, friends and family to Hawaii in February 2008 for the Pro Bowl. "At dinner one night, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him," she said. "I was crying and said yes."
A week later, she learned she was pregnant. His reaction: "I'm finally having a baby with someone I love."
They booked an Atlanta winery to host the June 2008 nuptials and invited 200 guests.
A week before the wedding, Cromartie called it off, saying he "wasn't ready and couldn't do it."
He then invited Patterson to move into his San Diego apartment, but sent her packing in two weeks. "He just said he needed some time alone," she recalled.
Just two months after Patterson gave birth to London, Burley gave birth to Leilani. "He cheated on both of us at the same time," Patterson said. Without calling off their engagement, Cromartie tied the knot with Cason, a star on the E! reality show "Candy Girls," about a female talent agency.
On March 4, Cromartie was traded to the Jets. Ten days later was the first birthday of Julian Cromartie, whose mom is Tina Julian in San Diego. That was the child he neglected to count on HBO.
In April, Cason gave birth to Cromartie's ninth kid, daughter Jerzie.
Cromartie would not comment because he was busy getting ready for tomorrow night's game against the Minnesota Vikings, said his agent, Gary Wichard.
But Patterson has plenty to say in the novel she's writing based on her experience with Cromartie. It's titled, "Love, Intercepted: A Tale of Football, Falling and Failing in Love."
'Oh, we’re having a baby. Let’s talk about it later.' — Antonio Cromartie to Rosemita Pierre, the first of eight women with whom he had kids.
1 Alonzo Pierre Cromartie, 5
Mom: Rosemita Pierre
Home: Tallahassee, Fla; now living with dad in New Jersey
2 Karis Marie Ford, 3
Mom: Veronica Marie Ford
Home: San Diego
3 Antonio “A.J” Cromartie Jr., 3
Mom: Erin Victoria Wilson
Home: Smyrna, Ga.
4 Deyjah Cromartie, 3
Mom: Latoya M. Burley
5 Tyler Jae Cromartie, 2
Mom: Ryan Ross
Home: Los Angeles