Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie appeared destined to trade in his helmet and pads for a whistle and a clipboard. A former No. 16 overall selection out of Middle Tennessee State, the 35-year-old has been recently linked to a coaching gig at his alma mater. However, it’s become evident that the former two-time Pro Bowler is not quite ready to call it quits on an NFL career.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported that Rodgers-Cromartie remains open to a return to the playing field, adding that the former Arizona Cardinals draft pick has post-draft scheduled workouts. It’s believed that DRC will only entertain coaching after he’s exhausted all further playing opportunities.
The latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!
Sign up for the Heavy on Giants Newsletter!
Rodgers-Cromartie Was Extremely Productive
Rodgers-Cromartie has not appeared in an NFL game in nearly two seasons. His most recent stint in the league came with Washington back in 2019. However, his campaign was short-lived, as an ankle injury landed him on season-ending injured reserve just two weeks into the year.
The veteran cornerback entered the league with the Cards in 2008. The former first-rounder went on to appear in 48 possible regular-season games (43 starts) during his stint in the desert, collecting 13 interceptions and an outstanding four defensive touchdowns. He was also a pivotal piece for the team that reached Super Bowl XLIII. His three postseason interceptions with the Cardinals remain tied for most in franchise history alongside Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams.
In 2011, he was a centerpiece in Arizona’s colossal trade gaffe of acquiring quarterback Kevin Kolb from the Eagles. Rodgers-Cromartie spent two seasons in Philly before making his way to Denver in 2013. In his lone season in the Rocky Mountains, he helped propel the Broncos to Super Bowl XLVIII, although they would ultimately lose to the Seahawks 43-8.
DRC really came into his own after arriving in East Rutherford. Inking a five-year, $35 million deal with the Giants in 2014, he would go on to appear in 45 games over the next three seasons. Arguably the most esteemed season of his pro career came in 2016 where he received a 90.7 overall Pro Football Focus grade (fifth-best in the NFL).
— PFF (@PFF) June 12, 2017
He ended the year with six interceptions (tied second-most in NFL) and 21 passes defended (tied fourth-most in NFL) en route to his most recent Pro Bowl berth.
The Giants eventually made DRC a cap causality following the 2017 season. He latched on with the then-Oakland Raiders in 2018, but abruptly retired after just seven games. He eventually came out of retirement to join Washington in 2018, as noted above.
DRC Has Served as a Volunteer Coach on the TSU Staff
Before the latest news of Rodgers-Cromartie eyeing a return to the NFL, it was widely perceived that he would be joining the newly hired head coach and former Titans star Eddie George on the TSU staff.
The long-time NFL cornerback had previously been appointed a role on the program’s staff — albeit on a volunteer basis.
TSU announced back in January that Rodgers-Cromartie — or better known to his players, “Coach Cro” — would be joining the coaching staff to work primarily with the team’s defensive backs.
“I’m loving every bit of it,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “It’s like I’m watching myself out there grinding, trying to get an education and ball all over again.”
During his playing days with the Tigers, Rodgers-Cromartie was named an All-Ohio Valley Conference selection three times and was also selected as an FCS All-American following his senior season.