Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie offered no convoluted explanation. There was no series of excuses, no teary-eyed but insincere mea culpa. The veteran cornerback just told it like it is on Wednesday when he returned to the Giants from a weeklong suspension, confirming what most thought to be the situation behind his bizarre week anyway.
“I’m dramatic, man, I’m crazy,” he said of his frustration during the Week 5 game against the Chargers, his reaction to Ben McAdoo’s discipline for leaving the sideline during that contest, and cleaning out his locker before leaving the team in a huff a week ago. “I can’t help it. I do stuff over the top, man. I apologized, I handled it wrong, but I’m good, baby. I’m back. That’s all that matters.”
Returning both contrite and humbled helped smooth his transgressions over with the coaching staff.
“We welcomed him back with open arms,” McAdoo said. “It was good to see him back.”
During practice he shared a warm hug with cornerbacks coach Tim Walton and exchanged a handshake and short conversation with general manager Jerry Reese before jumping back into drills.
But the real emotional moment for Rodgers-Cromartie was how he was accepted back by his teammates. They, after all, were the ones he walked out on. They were the ones who had to play the game without him.
And on Wednesday, they were the ones who embraced both him and his crazy.
“Snacks, when I walked in, he was the first one to jump up and down and hug me,” Rodgers-Cromartie said of defensive tackle Damon Harrison. “I talked to my guys. I told them I’m just glad you all didn’t let my distraction make you all get unfocused.”
“In his eyes he probably felt like he let the team down,” safety Landon Collins said, “but we just told him, ‘We love you, man, and we’re glad you came back and decided to stay with us’ . . . He just had to get some stress off his shoulder, I guess.”
Rodgers-Cromartie did provide a bit of a missing narrative on what took place in the Chargers game. In the second half he was covering a deep pass and his foot was stepped on. The medical staff examined him and the coaching staff decided to keep him out for the rest of the game.
“I get mad, you know? I’m a competitor,” he said of slamming his helmet down in frustration and leaving the sideline. “They were going back and forth. Are you hurt? Are you good? I’m like, ‘I’m good,’ but the decision was for me not to be in there. I should have accepted that but at the time we’re winning, they’re driving, [expletive], I’m thinking I need to go on that field. So when I came off, I got mad.”
McAdoo decided to bench Rodgers-Cromartie for the following game. That led to the cornerback walking out of the building a day later. McAdoo suspended him indefinitely for that.
“To be honest, coach called me up and he said some things and I kind of didn’t agree with it and I handled it the wrong way,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “At the end of the day, that’s on me. The suspension, I take that. All I can do is try to work back, get in good graces with the guys, and I’m just glad they didn’t let this turn them from me. They accepted me and I’m just back working.”
Rodger-Cromartie said his conversation with McAdoo on Tuesday, after which the coach lifted the suspension, was a pleasant one.
“I told him at the end of the day, you’ll know if I’m mad,” Rodgers-Cromartie said.
Rodgers-Cromartie seemed moved by the reaction from his teammates, but he said he never doubted it would be that way.
“No, no, no, no, no, no,” he said. “One thing about this locker room, man, when I come in here, I light it up. I’m an animated guy. I’m not saying that I can’t be replaced. [But] what I did was wrong, and I admit that. As long as I admit that and I don’t run from it, I’m good.”