Commentary | Whether he wins the Super Bowl or not, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not retiring

adell@bradenton.comJanuary 29, 2014 

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie knows how to create a firestorm.

The Denver Broncos cornerback needed to make a point, and a horde of media types hungry for a splash made things easier.

DRC saw what happened to his friend, Fabian Washington, and doesn't want to fall into the same trap.

So at his first Super Bowl press conference Monday in New York, the 27 year-old said he was contemplating retirement.

The news spread like wildfire.

Less than 24 hours later, the Lakewood Ranch product wanted to make something clear.

"I am not retiring," DRC said Tuesday from Super Bowl media day.

"He jokes a lot," dad Stan Cromartie chimed in.

In his sixth season, DRC plans on playing football beyond this year and prefers to stay with Denver.

But he can't forget what happened to Washington. The first-round draft choice out of Bayshore High saw his seven-year NFL career end prematurely with the New Orleans Saints in 2011.

Washington has a message for DRC.

"He would be a fool to retire. Dominique deserves a multi-year deal and is going to get it," Washington said from his home in Orlando. "He is playing his best football since his Pro Bowl year. The Broncos would be crazy not to lock him up. If they don't, I guarantee you

somebody will."

DRC can't forget all those cornerbacks who had one-year deals before vanishing, often after an injury.

The NFL is an unforgiving business.

"I am on a one-year deal, and I've seen a lot of guys get a one-year deal and never come back from it. It makes you think about life outside of football," Rodgers-Cromartie said.

The Broncos signed DRC to a one-year, $5 million contract last summer. They told him they thought he was the missing piece who could get them to the Super Bowl.

"I did what they asked. It was a risk, but I liked the organization. It felt right," DRC said.

Rodgers-Cromartie is coming off his best season. He has become a shutdown cornerback. In his past 14 games, opposing quarterbacks had a 47.5 rating against him and completed only one touchdown pass.

Those are Nolan Ryan numbers, like DRC throwing no-hitters every time out.

It shouldn't be surprising. He is 6-foot-2 with a huge wing span and runs a 4.2-second 40-yard dash. No one in the NFL with his size can do that.

"One of Dominique's best strengths is that he is a bump-and-run guy. He loves being in a receiver's face because he is so long and faster than any cornerback in the league," Washington said. "I was 5-10 and ran a 4.2. He is four inches taller. I had to stop playing because of my hamstrings."

DRC can shut down the entire side of a field a la Deion Sanders and Darrelle Revis when healthy.

DRC wants his money. You can't blame him.

He becomes an unrestricted free agent at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

"I would like it to be with Denver. There is no pressure on them. I am not putting demands on them, but I want a multi-year deal," DRC said.

In 2013, the top-paid cornerbacks were Revis ($16 million per season), Champ Bailey ($9.5), Cortland Finnegan ($9.0), Charles Tillman ($7.9) and Johnathan Joseph ($7.5). DRC signed a one-year deal for $5 million.

DRC is a winner. He went to the Super Bowl (in Tampa) as a rookie with the Arizona Cardinals. Two in six years is impressive.

"When he went to his first one, I told Dominique you may never go again, enjoy it," Stan Cromartie said.

After three seasons with Arizona, DRC spent two years with Philadelphia that didn't go well. It prevented him from getting a long-term deal. But he has turned it around. Stan Cromartie saw it coming and couldn't be more pleased.

"I have seen a hundred-degree turnaround in Dominique on and off the field. He has really grown up," Stan Cromartie said.

"He takes things more seriously and has really focused on doing well this season. He was tired of hearing that he wasn't mature. And I think being around Peyton Manning and (veteran cornerback) Champ Bailey" helped, he said.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.

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