There and back again.
No, I’m not talking about and dwarves, wizards or hobbits. I’m talking about former Philadelphia Eagle and current Denver Bronco cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. DRC is set to make his second appearance in a Super Bowl.
Selected in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft, Rodgers-Cromartie started his career as a nickleback for the Arizona Cardinals. He quickly rose in the organization with his play, especially late in the season where he returned two interceptions for touchdowns that were deciding factors in their games. His play helped the 9-7 Cardinals make the playoffs — and they made the most of it, getting to Super Bowl XLIII before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-23.
After a couple years in the desert, DRC’s play got him a one way ticket to the NFC East playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, as a part of the team that Vince Young called the “Dream Team”. You could say DRC’s time in Philly was anything but a dream. Although his numbers weren’t terrible, his spotty play didn’t resonate well.
He may have felt the pressure that was applied by the remarks made by Young, putting a bullseye on the team’s back. He also had to play in a secondary that included All-Pros Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel. It’s safe to say it might not have been the best recipe for success.
Rodgers-Cromartie recently spoke with Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer about some of his time with the Eagles.
“…I had a lot of plays to make last year in Philly, and I didn’t make the opportunities. I made the most of them this year.”
He was eventually cut in the offseason. While teams were courting him, he came upon the Denver Broncos. Their approach into luring the corner was different than what others had done in trying to bring him on board.
He discussed that approach with Alan Dell of the Bradenton Herald.
“They told me about my flaws. Nobody had done that, and it impressed me,” Rodgers-Cromartie said Friday, wrapping up his three-day basketball camp at the Palmetto Boys and Girls Club. “They told me what I needed to work and how they would get me better instead of telling me about what I could do.”
This approach was welcomed by DRC — the team had confidence in him, and it fed down to the player. He says that he is still the same player that he was in Philadelphia and that he is “just going out there playing with confidence”, but he also admits winning games does help as well.
Coming into the season with the Broncos, DRC was going to be a compliment in the secondary, playing with another All-Pro in Champ Bailey. But when Bailey suffered an ankle injury in the third preseason game, Rodgers-Cromartie had to step up and lead the younger cornerbacks on the team.
As he told Berman, he’s been able to utilize his time in Denver as a learning experience.
“If I could say anything, I’m just taking coaching a little better,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “The coaches realize where I could get better, and I really bought into the system.”
DRC has proven to be a winner, and it has paid off with another trip to the Super Bowl.