CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Chris Crocker #42 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with fans after the Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns 27-17 at Cleveland Browns Stadium during a season opener on September 11, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Browns 27-17. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
In 2010, against the Bills, Chris Crocker left the game with a right knee injury after attempting to tackle Fred Jackson on the sideline. He would not return for the rest of the season and would need surgery to repair a torn MCL and PCL. Crocker would return for the Bengals in 2011 and start all 16 games at free safety, but midway through the season his knee began to give him issues and he was not 100 percent.
After the 2011 season ended, Crocker had arthroscopic surgery to clean out his bothersome right knee. He expects to return healthier for the 2012 campaign and, as a result, expects the defense to be better than last year:
We've got a bunch of guys back and we'll add some guys as we always do. I'll be healthy. With this knee scope, it's the best I've ever felt than at any point during the season.
Crocker has been with the Bengals since 2008 and in the league since 2003. 2011 is the first season that he has played in every game with the Bengals and he finished the season with 61 tackles and 0 interceptions. Crocker has taken a lot of criticism from Cincinnati fans and media for his lack of production and effort, specifically with regards to his "tackle" of Arian Foster on a 42-yard touchdown run in the Bengals Wild Card game loss to the Texans, but with his health not being an issue, he could have a resurgent year in the NFL's no. 7 ranked defense. Crocker's future with the Bengals is unknown after next year as he will be a free agent, but if he has a productive, healthy 2012, he could find himself in line for an extension or, possibly, a new contract with another team.