Newly acquired free safety Kerry Rhodes may be trouble. Since signing with the Cardinals, Rhodes said more about his old team than his new team. Specifically, he stated that he was highly dissatisfied with his role in Rex Ryan’s defense, the Jets sabotaged his New York career, and he should have been as important to the Jets as Mark Sanchez.
Rhodes told Michael Kay on 1050 ESPN New York that, “The D coordinator and the rest of the staff didn’t feel like I was the focal point, or one of the focal points, of the defense. It was more like, ‘Okay, we brought in [former Ravens Darrelle Revis and Bart Scott] and our guys know the system, so we’re going to let them run things and you guys just learn and fill in with them.’ To me, it didn’t work that way. Not to sound arrogant, but I’ve always been the guy that coaches told, ‘Okay, you run the defense, you help them get lined up and make plays.’ It was kind of a slap in the face.”
C’mon man. The defense runs the way the coach tells you it runs. Nothing says team player like insisting you’re the focal point. In addition, the words “not to sound arrogant” never have its intended effect. Further, it doesn’t bode well that Rhodes was apparently nicknamed “Hollywood” due to his lime-light seeking behavior while being accused of “soft play.” All this paints a pretty unflattering picture of the Cardinals new free safety.
Unfortunately, Rhodes didn’t stop there. He also accused the Jets organization of harpooning his career in New York by unduly questioning his commitment to the NFL in light of his off-field pursuits, modeling and acting. Rhodes insisted that any accusation that he was not focused on football is “ridiculous.” Rhodes added, “I guess it was an easy scapegoat for somebody to say, ‘He’s worried about other stuff, he’s not putting his all into it and doing what he’s supposed to do.’ It gave those guys an easy way out, just to blame it on that.” Conspiracy theories aside, a mature leader, as Rhodes claims to be, would not take shots at a former franchise. Consider Kurt Warner’s stoicism after the Rams and Giants dumped him; that’s a leader.
Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum stated that they traded Rhodes because the team wanted draft picks, which the Cardinals provided. Rhodes doesn’t buy that reasoning; here’s why. Rhodes blurted, “They told me I was the only player they could use to get picks, but I take that as an excuse. You can get picks from anybody. You can get picks for Mark Sanchez if you want them, but he’s still there.”
It’s scary that Rhodes apparently believes that the Jets should have valued him as much as they value Mark Sanchez, the future of their organization. While Kerry Rhodes is certainly talented and may very well turn out to be a productive and positive influence on the Cardinals, his first few days have been overwhelmingly negative. You would think Rhodes’ focus would be on fitting in with his new teammates and projecting a positive image. Instead, Rhodes has only fed into the rumors that he’s a jealous, spotlight seeking cry-baby. Hopefully those are just rumors.