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Jim Trotter
September 06, 2010
Kerry Rhodes, Safety
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September 06, 2010


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Kerry Rhodes, Safety

JOINING A new team can be awkward, but for Rhodes, who came to the Cardinals from the Jets in a trade for draft picks last March, the transition from New York to Arizona has been particularly bumpy. Even before his first practice, the publicity-happy Rhodes—he's done modeling and has appeared in a Lady Gaga video—had to deal with questions about whether he was more interested in being a player or a playboy. Complicating matters was that the person asking the loudest was new teammate Darnell Dockett, a Pro Bowl defensive tackle and Cardinals captain.

Dockett not only wondered on Twitter whether Rhodes was putting in enough work in the off-season but also told Rhodes on the first day of training camp that earrings wouldn't fly on the field. Perhaps Dockett was being hard on Rhodes because Dockett was close to Antrel Rolle, the playmaking safety who left the Cardinals to sign as a free agent with the Giants. Or maybe Dockett is more concerned with winning games than winning friends.

A fourth-round pick of the Jets in 2005, Rhodes started every game in his first four seasons but fell out of favor with Rex Ryan last year and was briefly benched. If he's on his game—he's averaged 83 tackles a year and has 15 career interceptions—he and Cardinals veteran Adrian Wilson could form the league's best safety tandem. If Rhodes is distracted by his side interests, Arizona could have a problem. Dockett certainly will.