Retired Pro Bowl Cardinals Defenders Sound Off on Team

Darnell Dockett


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Darnell Dockett celebrates after intercepting a pass by Alex Smith in 2009.

Over the past 15 years, big-name defensive players have left the Arizona Cardinals and a good portion still have a gripe with the organization. Vikings Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson has been vocal about the Cardinals’ upper management, specifically general manager Steve Keim, and New Orleans Saints All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu voiced his displeasure towards the handling of his contract.

There’s now more animosity from former Cardinals defenders players, but now it’s from players that were contributors to the 2008 NFC Champion team.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2008 draft. He earned a Pro Bowl in 2009 but after the 2010 season, the Cardinals traded Rodgers-Cromartie along with a second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb ended up being a disappointment, while Rodgers-Cromartie would get another Pro Bowl nod and one second-team All-Pro.

Rodgers-Cromartie posted a picture on Instagram of his days with the Cardinals.

Retired defensive end Darnell Dockett, who was a teammate with Rodgers-Cromartie and played with the Cardinals from 2004 to 2014, replied to the post, saying “Can’t believe we trade you for Kolb sorry *** . . . Should’ve kept us together. We would win that damn division four 4-5 straight years.”

Less than five minutes later, retired defensive back Antrel Rolle, who played with both of them in Arizona, said, “They sorry *** let everyone walk . . . Dansby Quan Me DRC.”

Rolle is alluding to retired ex-Cardinals such as outside linebacker Karlos Dansby, Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Rodgers-Cromartie and himself.

Other than Rodgers-Cromartie, each player mentioned by Rolle bolted to a different team in free agency.

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Rolle’s Gripe With Cardinals

While Dockett criticized the Cardinals for trading Rodgers-Cromartie, especially for Kolb, he was on the team for 10 years. He signed a six-year, $56 million extension in 2010 and finished with three Pro Bowls in his Cardinals tenure.

However, Rolle only lasted four seasons with the Cardinals. He was the team’s first-round pick in 2005 and made the transition from cornerback to safety in 2008. After making his first Pro Bowl in 2009, Rolle didn’t want to come back to Arizona. He didn’t want to play for then-head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who didn’t believe in him during the early year.

“There wasn’t anything personal, but it was personal,” Rolle said on the All Things Covered podcast with former Cardinals cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden. “I said if I ever got the chance, one day I’m going to make him beg me. So when that free agency came around, I got my wish.”

Rolle would go on to sign a five-year, $37 million contract with the New York Giants. That deal made him the highest-paid safety in league history.

Dansby was another Cardinals defender who signed a large contract after being drafted by Arizona. The 2004 second-round pick signed with the Miami Dolphins to a five-year, $43 million contract, which made him the richest inside linebacker at the time. Unlike Rolle, Dansby returned to the Cardinals a second time in 2013 and a third time in 2017 before retiring.

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