The last time I talked to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at any length, he understood he hadn’t played as well as he should have during the 2010 season. Perhaps that underscored what the cornerback was about, or at least how I had perceived DRC during his brief and mercurial NFL career that featured a Pro Bowl and, well, oddly uneven play. The Cardinals’ 2008 No. 1 pick was a guy who seemed to play better when the team was playing better. When the team wasn’t playing well, well …
All those thoughts and DRC memories came rushing back this morning when DRC, now playing for the Denver Broncos, told a bunch of reporters at a media session that if the Broncos win Sunday and beat the Seahawks, he might just retire. He wanted to play five seasons in the NFL, he told reporters. This is his sixth season. It’s all math, apparently. Sure, DRC is only 27. Sure he had a pretty good year and is an unrestricted free agent to be, a combination that would seem to point toward a decent pay day from someone. Then again, this is DRC we are talking about.
DRC always was quirky. He made his fried baloney sandwiches in college and even after he got to the NFL with an iron. (I can’t recall if he actually used the iron on clothes as well.) When teammates would have a Gucci or some other brand of bag to take on their road trips, DRC would wear a kids’ backpack featuring Dora the Explorer or Toy Story. Once he wore footie pajamas in the locker room. (OK, it was late in the season, so maybe he just wanted to be warm). He dressed as a baby, complete with giant diaper, once for Halloween. He shaved half his hair during part of one offseason, going with the Two-Face-from-Batman look (at least on top). Sometimes, his toenails were painted. In odd colors.
It’s one thing to be different off the field. But he could be frustrating to coaches. He wasn’t shy about admitting he’d lose focus on the field, one time saying teammate Karlos Dansby came over to headbutt him because Dansby didn’t think DRC was paying attention. And again, when the team didn’t do well, there always seemed to be a parallel with DRC.
Maybe that explained his 2010 falloff, which coincided with the Cards’ slide. DRC was traded for quarterback Kevin Kolb after that season, because that was the price for Kolb, and while I don’t think the Cards really wanted to part with DRC and his talent, his inconsistency was rough on coaches. It doesn’t sound like it changed much during his two years in Philadelphia (where, perhaps not coincidentally, the team did not play well.) He found himself in Denver this year and he’s been an important piece to the Broncos. Oh, and the Broncos won. A lot.
Would DRC really retire? Who knows. Many fans have asked if the Cards would ever re-sign him. I suppose I wouldn’t rule it out — assuming, of course, he’s still playing in 2014. But I guess, if I had to canvas my mind of the players I have covered who would up and walk away from the game, seemingly out of left field, DRC would probably fit the bill.
Posted in Blog | 13 Comments »