EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- This was supposed to be softball stuff -- a puff piece, almost, that would talk about New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and how much better he expects to be this year now that he's not playing hurt every week. Limited last year by back and leg injuries, Rodgers-Cromartie admits he "couldn't really burst the way I wanted to," so I asked him Thursday how much better he feels now than he did last season. He shook his head.
"It's just something I've got to manage," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I'm 30 years old, man. This is the way it's going to be."
Rodgers-Cromartie said he definitely feels better than he did during the season, and that he has had that "burst" he needs to have on the practice field. But he seems resigned to the idea that the physical issues that bothered him last year are going to be at least some kind of factor this season and in future seasons as well.
"I should be OK as long as I stay off that turf," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "Unfortunately, we had practice inside today."
Naturally, I asked why Rodgers-Cromartie couldn't tell the coaches or training staff that his body needed a break from the artificial turf, especially since the Giants play home games on it and Sunday's opener in Dallas is on it as well. But he rejected that idea out of hand.
"Nah, man. I've got a bunch of young guys out there watching me," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "They can't see me sitting out."
A noble concept, to be sure. But if Rodgers-Cromartie has to come in and out of games as he did last year, the Giants have a problem. With the amount of blitzing the Giants are going to have to do to create pressure due to the inexperience on their defensive line, Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara are going to have to be rock-solid reliable coverage corners all year.
Rodgers-Cromartie is a different sort of guy, and it's possible he's just talking about routine physical ailments in a way most athletes don't, and that's why it seems odd. But it's certainly worth monitoring as the season goes along.
"I've been doing this eight years. I've got nothing to prove to anybody," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I'm out there. I'm going to be out there. They know I'll be out there. That's what counts."