Giants suspend cornerback Rodgers-Cromartie
Coach Ben McAdoo said he spoke with Rodgers-Cromartie on Tuesday, and that Rodgers-Cromartie was at the team’s facility on Wednesday morning. He attended team meetings before later deciding to leave.
“DRC came in [Tuesday],” McAdoo said. “We had a conversation that was personal upstairs and he came in [Wednesday]. Decided to leave. We will suspend him.”
According to a source close to the situation, the issues with Rodgers-Cromartie began last Friday, when the cornerback walked out of the team’s “recovery day” session. (The Giants don’t hold a formal practice Friday but instead allow players choices of recovery-focused activities.)
During Sunday’s 27-22 loss to the Chargers, the source said, Rodgers-Cromartie slammed his helmet down on the sideline, left the team while the game was in progress and went to the locker room with what teammates and coaches understood was the intent to leave the stadium. He did not leave the stadium and returned to the sideline while the game was still in progress. After the game he wasn’t in the locker room when it was open to reporters.
The Friday and Sunday incidents led to a meeting Tuesday between Rodgers-Cromartie and McAdoo in which McAdoo told Rodgers-Cromartie that he would be inactive for this Sunday’s game in Denver and fined for walking out of Friday’s recovery session.
Rodgers-Cromartie was to participate in practice this week as normal but would be one of the seven game-day inactives Sunday in Denver.
After receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was penalized for his dog-peeing touchdown celebration in Philadelphia in Week 3, the Giants’ coaching staff established a policy of penalizing “game-day distractions” with playing time and not fines. So, while he would be fined for leaving early Friday, Rodgers-Cromartie would not be fined by the team for Sunday’s outburst but would not play in the Week 6 game.
The source went on to say that Rodgers-Cromartie showed up for meetings Wednesday but left the defensive team meeting while it was ongoing, cleaned out his locker and left the team facility. At that time, the team made the decision to suspend him.
The suspension was for leaving the Giants’ facility, not for leaving the team, according to a source.
Rodgers-Cromartie told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he had an altercation with McAdoo on the sidelines “about playing.” He admitted to handling “it the wrong way, but to sit me a game had me hot so I left.”
He said plans to return to the team on Thursday.
Most of Rodgers-Cromartie’s teammates didn’t know about the suspension when they took the field for practice Wednesday afternoon. They looked around and started wondering where he was.
“I just heard about it just now, so I know just as much as you know, honestly,” cornerback Eli Apple said.
A source said that the issues stem from a lack of accountability on the defense, particularly in the defensive backfield which has allowed 10 passing touchdowns this season. They allowed 15 all of last season.
Apple was benched at the start of Sunday’s game and said afterwards “it’s the whole culture” that had to be fixed. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins also left the field early during Sunday’s loss. McAdoo said Monday that would be handled internally. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was seen by reporters running after Jenkins outside the locker room following Sunday’s game.
The Giants practiced Wednesday without nine starters, including Rodgers-Cromartie who started in place of Apple against the Chargers. They now head to Denver shorthanded and in turmoil.
His teammates knew there was a problem between McAdoo and Rodgers-Cromartie, but didn’t know it would mushroom into this.
“It was hard but just difficulties between him and McAdoo,” Collins said. “We’ll figure out those details a little later. We don’t really know what is going on. So from that point on I have no suggestions on what I should say about it.” McAdoo was asked Wednesday about the perception that he has lost the team, to which he responded: “Not concerned about perception, concerned about reality.”
The Giants (0-5) are winless this season and lost their star receiver Beckham Jr. for the year with an ankle injury on Sunday.