Whatever happened to Kerry Rhodes?


My friend (not sarcasm) Drew Magary, who writes among other things for our friends (some sarcasm, depending on what mood they’re in) at Deadspin, contacted me this week with a question about free-agent safety Kerry Rhodes.

Rhodes has become a forgotten man in NFL circles, with his name never mentioned despite being available and not, you know, retired.

So I did a little digging, and I learned that four teams worked out defensive backs this past week.  No team — those four or the other 28 — kicked tires on Kerry Rhodes.

Magary points out that Rhodes still has the goods, and that he can help a team win.  Why, then, isn’t Rhodes on a team?I became more curious about the situation.  A source who would know whether there is any buzz about Kerry Rhodes told me there’s no buzz about Kerry Rhodes.  I shared that with Magary.  Who put it in his article at Deadspin.  Which I’m linking here.  Which means that for the first time in the existence of the site I’m aggregating an article in which I’m quoted as a source of news.

(Somewhere, a small crack has been opened in the space-time continuum.)

Magary thinks Rhodes possibly is being blackballed because of Internet rumors that emerged during the offseason about Rhodes’ sexual orientation.  Rhodes has denied the rumors, the photos that sparked the rumors have disappeared, but no one has shown any interest in giving Rhodes another chance to play.

It’s impossible to rule out the notion that teams are looking elsewhere to avoid the potential distractions that would arise from Rhodes either being outed or coming out, despite his denials.  Which provides all the more justification for gay NFL players who may be considering acknowledging publicly who they are to continue to stay firmly in the closet.

NFL teams can say that they welcome gay players.  But NFL teams (and, specifically, NFL coaches) don’t want distractions.  For the same reason Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano didn’t want to be answering questions about whether he applied Enron-style accounting to the vote that stripped the captain title from quarterback Josh Freeman, no head coach wants to have to spend time answering questions about any topic unrelated to the task at hand — preparing for the next game on the schedule.

Right or wrong, that’s the reality of the NFL.  The fact that a team would actually be willing to deprive itself of a player who could help win the next game on the schedule and beyond shows how screwed up that approach could be.

56 responses to “Whatever happened to Kerry Rhodes?

  1. If he’s being blacklisted because of gay rumors explain why Manti Teo is in the league.Same questions arose about him.

  2. Yea, that whole story was weird. All the pictures showed was him hugging on a guy who just happened to be his assistant and just happened to be gay and Mediatakeout took it and ran with it (like they always do).

    The assistant did come out and throw more allegations his way but nothing ever came up over it.

    It is odd though how he’s out of a job.

  3. MyTeamsAllStink says:
    Sep 13, 2013 10:51 AM
    If he’s being blacklisted because of gay rumors explain why Manti Teo is in the league.Same questions arose about him.

    Rumors arose but in Kerry Rhodes case someone actually came out accusing him of the relationship and even had pictures.

    Teo’s case people just thought he was gay.

  4. The NFL isn’t ready. While I despise the majority my wife’s celebrity blogs, I believe it was Dlisted or The Dirty that reported this months ago. It’s too bad he is wasting his ability because of small minded players.

  5. That’s exactly what it is…The pics are hard to deny..IJS. The dude can ball he would EASILY be the best safety on our team or 2nd best next to Nelson..Actually him and Nelson would make our back end very decent…..It has to be that…Just has to.. I know he is not asking for a ton or that would have been mentioned by now…While some players come out and say I don’t have a problem with it the majority inside the locker room may…Or as you stated the FO and coaches don’t want the distraction but will always give the politically correct response to the media to avoid the backlash…..me personally if he can ball SIGN HIM! You cant force people how to live their lives and as long as he is not steppin up to players asking for dates respect his choice and lets win a SB! 🙂

  6. Manti Teo does not have pictures floating around of him hugging on and carrying wedding style another man. He is being blackballed just Google him name and a lot of images pop up of him being “friendly” with another man. I hear a lawsuit coming the NFL’s way.

  7. Rhodes is a decent ball hawk but he got run out of New York at the beginning of the Ryan regime because he wouldn’t hit anybody. Altogether he was soft for a safety and that’s why he’s not playing football right now.

  8. Kerry Rhoades is a VERY good Free safety, He was the Cards 2nd or 3rd best defensive player for the last 3 years, ( behind Pat and D-wash ) at worst. He can hit, tackle, cover, and Blitz. The guy is one hell of a player, Its a terrible shame the guy is not playing this season because of insecure gay bashers and the Good Ole Boy system. Truth be told.. whether he packs fudge or not has nothing to do with me and does not threaten my masculinity what so ever. I wish he was still playing free safety for the Red Birds, We would be a better defense, and the way be have been playing all preseason and against the Rams, The Cards need ALL the help they can get. Not to mention, Kerry was a team leader and a class act as well. Good luck Kerry..

  9. mdpickles says:Sep 13, 2013 10:57 AM

    I don’t care if Kerry Rhodes is gay or straight, I just know he would be a huge improvement over Patrick Chung.



  10. Kerry Rhodes singlehandedly decimated my team when he played against them. Then again he’s been in the league a very long time – maybe there’s not much left in the tank.

    It’s hard to know if teams are avoiding him because of the story or because he’s a defensive player over 30. He has to be better than some of the safeties who are still playing.

  11. mdpickles says:
    Sep 13, 2013 10:57 AM
    I don’t care if Kerry Rhodes is gay or straight, I just know he would be a huge improvement over Patrick Chung.


    Come on man, Chung is my boy, he is the only safety the Patriots have that can stop me!

    Stevie Johnson

  12. We’ll take him in Cleveland, but the whole reason we haven’t especially since Ray horton was his defensive coordinator last year in Arizona speaks to exactly what Florio is talking about the blacklisting. He is still relatively young, 30-31 and he didn’t play bad last year at all. No team is going to want that distraction. They can say they would have no problem with gay players like former Washington owner George Preston Marshall could have said he had no problems with Black players…but you dont sign any.

  13. Not sure if he fits Zimmers philosophy in Cinti, I would like to believe one of the young guys step up opposite of Nelson. But KR is a good safety. Maybe the Bengals are waiting to see if an injury occurs since they made a decision this year to stay young. Like last year when they pulled Chris Crocker off the couch and started him that week.

  14. He’s a 31 y/o man living in Arizona with millions of dollars.

    Has anyone thought that maybe he doesn’t want to play? It looks fishy to me as well…but alot like most conspiracies I’d bet the answers lies in something much simpler.

    32 Owners, GM’s, Assistant GM’s….you name it. ALL of them have commited to removing Kerry from the league due to the perception that he could be gay? What leads us in that direction?

    I just need more proof than a few photos and a lack of a job.

  15. He got ran out of NY and when he went to the Cards he had problems with other team mates specifically Joey Porter. His Cards team mates wanted him to work out with them in preperation for the season and KR declined saying he would work out on his own which led to arguing among the Cards players. Last but not least, it isn’t the fear of having a gay player in your locker room, it is the potential back-lash that may arise from cutting him. If KR got a situation like what Brady Quinn just received there would be LGBT communities questioning the teams motives for the next decade. NOW that is the distraction a team and Head Coach do not want.

  16. I don’t think its about him being gay but I may be naive. I read stories when he was cut from the Jets about him freelancing all the time on defense. He made some plays but left other defenders hanging. He had good numbers last year under Ray Horton’s defense but maybe his football reputation is keeping him off the field??

  17. He apparently tried out in Green Bay in July.

    As for the pictures disappearing, a Google Image search of “Kerry Rhodes gay” would appear to suggest otherwise.

  18. I mean, the Browns are going with Tashon Gipson and Johnson Bademosi. Who? Gipson did get a pick last week, but both looked lost in coverage at free safety in the preseason and so far in the season.

    Kerry would be an upgrade and a veteran leader at the position with the most seniority being 4th year corner Joe Haden

  19. Issue is not coaches or front offices, its about locker rooms. Team would need to have real strong locker room leaders who are can manage the so-called Christians and who are not so-called themselves. Gay is much more heavily stigmatized among meat heads (esp. linemen) and even more so among the traditional churches of the South (esp. Baptist and AME). Rhodes would only be welcomed an already winning team that wants to get better. Bottom feeders who look to scapegoat their failure however they can.

    Also, Te’o was not rumored to be attracted to men. It was his attraction to invisible women that was non-standard.

  20. Pretty simple. Rhodes is not much in run support, and isn’t a good lockerroom guy. He is good at standing around the pile waiting for the ball to pop out, or to catch tipped passes.

    As evidenced in Wk. 1, Honey Badger creates turnovers, and doesn’t sit around waiting for others to do the dirty work.

  21. Well that stuff about everyone being ready for a gay player isn’t looking so good because Rhodes should be playing if it doesn’t matter. Maybe doesn’t matter in the locker room, but teams obviously aren’t ready for the media circus that goes with it yet.

  22. In high school I played football and I questioned what truly is straight and gay.

    We got naked in front of each other, showered next to each other, patted each other on the behind, wrestled, grabbed and played with each other.

    Very strange sport.

  23. While Rhodes is a good safety & play maker, but he comes with baggage. There were team & locker room issues surrounding him & his “diva” mentality during his last 2 years with the Cardinals.

    He would still be with the Cardinals if he hadn’t refused to take a pay cut or sign an extension. Him not having a job right now has more to do with his salary demands & attitude than any “gay” conspiracy theory.

    He was run out of NY & AZ even though he played very well, I wonder why that is.

  24. If he’s gay then plenty of NFL people know it, and it wouldn’t surprise me that teams don’t want him around. In order for teams to take on all that comes with a gay player, that player had better be darn good.

    If you bring any type of drama to a team– be it a gay player, a weird attention-seeker like Kluwe, Tebow with his huge following, the T.O. types– then you must be a superior player to make it worthwhilee for the team.

  25. This story is such a reach. First off, Rhodes isn’t gay because he hasn’t said it. That’s the only way to know someone is gay, you know, saying that your gay. Take him at his word. Second off, do teams really care that much? I highly doubt it. This is a business where winning is more profitable than losing. No one is going to pass on this guy if he can help you win games over a picture where he’s hugging a guy.

  26. I actually like P. Chung – he likes to hit – but his ball skills are atrocious. I doubt Rhodes would have misplayed the ball so badly on that 4th quarter TD against the (Potomac Basin Indigenous People)

  27. If he is gay, does anyone really think he is the only one? There are gay team captains out there. If he could play someone would take him

  28. There’s quite a few teams that would take a player regardless of off field issues. Hello Hernandez? If he’s not playing I gotta think its for on field issues.

  29. The new CBA agreement makes Kerry Rhodes a $840k expense this year for any team with enough cap space to sign him, and he’ll cost a team $955k next season. THAT is why he’s sitting at home watching Bravo.

    That and the fact that’s he’s not very good.

  30. Of all the comments on here the one that makes the most sense is the idea that Mr. Rhodes just doesn’t want to play anymore. He’s been in the league a long time, made plenty of money and now wants to enjoy his life on his own terms.

  31. Which means that for the first time in the existence of the site I’m aggregating an article in which I’m quoted as a source of news.


  32. With the close encounters of men in a locker room if such be the case with this guy Kerry Rhodes. It would be a safe bet that no one wants another Sandusky and Joe Peterno situation to come alive in their bath house and locker room area.

  33. I just don’t buy it. there are 32 teams. if he was that good, there would be someone who in a very rich business, would be willing to do anything to win, including (Gasp) signing a gay player.

    and manti teo went round 2, we all know he is

  34. he had problems with other team mates specifically Joey Porter.

    I count this as a positive.

    I’m totally against all this “gay rights” nonsense but if the guy can play I would hope my team would sign him.

  35. scaredhitless says:Sep 13, 2013 12:17 PM

    In high school I played football and I questioned what truly is straight and gay.

    We got naked in front of each other, showered next to each other, patted each other on the behind, wrestled, grabbed and played with each other.


    You mean played football, right? Otherwise I think we played different sports…

  36. Rex Ryan got rid of him because the rumor was that he was very uncomfortable playing down in the box.

    But let’s be honest, this guy is a real baller that can help a number of teams on the back-end. No doubt there.

  37. The Jets traded him because he was a selfish player more interested in the limelight that came from winning than the preparation that led to it. I think the distraction potential employers are worried about is locker room cancer, not sexuality. I certainly hope it isn’t his personal life, at least.

  38. WOW,there must be pictures of him being over the top or rumors he was going to come out that cant be explained only that he is gay,knowing the pics would be shown for no team to want him,unreal,there are recycled bums in the league who are unwatchable,sad

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