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Rhodes reflects on his five seasons with Jets

Former Jets safety Kerry Rhodes grins as he

Former Jets safety Kerry Rhodes grins as he is introduced to the media after the Cardinals acquired him. (Mar. 8, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Kerry Rhodes knew there was a realistic possibility he might be filling out a change of address form.

After a tumultuous 2009 season, in which the safety clashed with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and had his dedication to football questioned by some, Rhodes was aware his days in New York might've been numbered. But that doesn't mean he wasn't a bit taken aback when he got the news Saturday night that he was being traded to the Cardinals for a fourth-round pick in next month's draft and a 2011 seventh-round selection.

"In this league, you know there is always a chance for a change," Rhodes said Monday during his introductory news conference in Arizona. "I am not sitting here saying that I thought it was going to happen, but I knew the opportunity was there. I knew teams were interested and I knew that down the stretch with the Jets we had a little . . . it was a little rocky.

"So I knew that the opportunity was probably going to be there. When I heard it, I was shocked, though."

Rhodes, who was due a $2-million roster bonus Friday to go with a $2.78-million base salary, had worn out his welcome. He never got in tune with what Pettine wanted from him, and there were questions about his desire to improve.

Sometimes, he seemed more concerned with his off-the-field activities - such as modeling and acting - and wasn't living up to the five-year, $33.5-million contract he signed two years ago. General manager Mike Tannenbaum said he thought Rhodes could've worked things out here, but dealt him because of three factors.

"In part, economics, in part, we got two draft choices for him, and lastly, the depth at that position," he said Monday. "It was a combination of those three things that drove the decision. I actually expected Kerry back. Each year in the offseason, you try to work on things to improve. There would have had to have been some work between Kerry and our defensive coaches, but I don't think that work would have been insurmountable.

"Clearly, he would have been here working on those things, but because of the value we got, we made that decision."

It gives Rhodes a fresh start and reunites him with former Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson, the Cardinals' defensive backs coach.

"Right now, this is a chance for me to show everybody what I am about again," Rhodes said, "a chance to come and help a team that is ready to win."

Notes & quotes: The Jets are close to re-signing TE Ben Hartsock, reportedly to a two-year deal . . . Special-teamer Wallace Wright was signed by the Panthers . . . Tannenbaum didn't outright confirm an NFL Network report, but the Jets gave newly acquired CB Antonio Cromartie a $500,000 advance on his scheduled $1.7-million 2010 salary to help with his paternity issues. Cromartie has fathered seven children with six women, and they are scattered across five states . . . FB Tony Richardson, 38, might not be back . . . Tannenbaum has been in contact with the agent for former Jets WR Laveranues Coles, but nothing is imminent.

Dolphins re-sign Chad. Quarterback Chad Pennington signed a one-year deal to return to the Dolphins. He's expected to back up Chad Henne, who replaced him when Pennington hurt his right shoulder last September. - AP

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