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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Damontre Moore: 'I was that player'

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on defensive end Damontre Moore (pictured), who was released by the Giants: "He's a talented guy and he still has a lot of promise." AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Damontre Moore was a player who drove New York Giants teammates, coaches and administrators nuts with his behavior in the locker room and on the practice field. But Moore had his defenders, and the most consistent among them was cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

When the Giants waived Moore last week after the once-promising third-round pick fought with teammate Cullen Jenkins over a set of free headphones, Rodgers-Cromartie understood. But he still took it hard.

"That's my guy," Rodgers-Cromartie said late Monday night. "I feel that, because I was that player. I was that guy, young, early in my career, didn't always know the right way to act, didn't want to hear it when people told me to stop. I understand what he was going through."

Rodgers-Cromartie was a talented 22-year-old when the Arizona Cardinals drafted him in the first round in 2008. By his own admission, it took him a while to adjust to NFL life. He credits former Cardinals and Giants teammate Antrel Rolle as an early mentor who helped him figure out how he needed to adjust some of his behavior and take his professional responsibilities more seriously, but he remembers that it was a struggle, which is why he would usually rush to Moore's defense when teammates were tiring of him.

"At some point, he had to get it," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "But I guess it wasn't going to happen here. It's sad to see."

There was a little bit of talk about the Moore situation in the wake of Monday Night's victory against the Dolphins. This was the first time since Moore was waived Friday afternoon that the Giants' players had been available to talk to the media. Jenkins said he would not discuss details, and he and coach Tom Coughlin both spoke of the whole matter as a distraction they were proud of the team for overcoming. Some teammates, including Odell Beckham Jr., who was the one giving away the headphones, said they had been in touch with Moore and hoped the experience would be a benefit to him in the long run.

"I hope so," said Rodgers-Cromartie, who said he has spoken to Moore several times a day since Friday and was happy to hear Moore had been picked up by the Dolphins. "A lot of people learn from something dramatic happening to them. He's a talented guy and he still has a lot of promise. I hope he gets it. I truly do."