EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - One week ago, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was fuming at his coach, packing up his locker and storming out of the Giants' practice facility. It was hard to explain such insubordinate behavior.
But on Wednesday, he had a pretty good explanation.
"I'm dramatic, man. I'm crazy," DRC said. "I do stuff over the top, man.
"But I apologize. I handled it wrong, But I'm good, baby. I'm back. Baby, that's all that matters."
DRC was indeed back on Wednesday, one day after Ben McAdoo lifted his "indefinite" suspension, and upon his return, he provided a textbook example of how to diffuse a tense situation. The 31-year-old cornerback was contrite, apologetic, and at times, hilarious as he took complete responsibility for a mess he admittedly handled "the wrong way."
And he seemed grateful - really, really grateful - that his coaches and teammates welcomed him back with hugs and smiles.
"[McAdoo] had a big smile on his face and he just said 'Stuff happens, man, I get it,'" Rodgers-Cromartie said. " 'But from this point on you've got to come back, work your way back in and get back in good grace.' And I understand that.
"[And] I talked to my guys. I told them 'I'm just glad you all didn't let my distraction make you all get unfocused.'"
So what did go on? DRC didn't hide from any of that. He admitted the whole thing started to turn ugly when he stormed off the field in anger during the Giants loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 8. DRC was spotted limping off the field, then returning for one play, then hobbling off again, slamming his helmet to the ground, and storming to the locker room.
He appeared to be hurt at the time, and he said he was. It was his foot. But that injury was the cause of the "miscommunication". He felt he was able to keep playing. The coaches did not.
"I get mad. I'm a competitor. I like to be out there with my guys," DRC explained. "And there was a misunderstanding. (McAdoo) was going back and forth like 'Are you hurt? Are you good?' [I was] coming in and out. I was like, 'I'm good.'
"But you know what? When the decision was for me not to be in there I should've accepted that. But at the time, we're winning, they're driving, I'm thinking I needed to be on that field. So when I came off, you know, I got mad."
Rodgers-Cromartie described his injury as a "tweak," even though from afar he looked to be limping and unable to run much at all.
"Just miscommunication," he insisted. "And at the end of the day, I still can't react the way I did. Did I wear my emotions on my sleeve? Yeah, because at the end of the day I want to play ball."
Things got worse, of course, two days later when McAdoo told DRC he would be benched for the Giants' game in Denver for his insubordinate behavior. That led to the cornerback cleaning out his locker and leaving.
He took responsibility for that insubordinate behavior, too.
"Man, shoot, 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. "But at the end of the day, that's on me. So the suspension, I take that. All I can do is try to work back and get in good graces with the guys. I'm just glad they didn't let this turn them from me, and they accepted me, and I'm just back working, man."
Yes he is, in a place he never wanted to leave - even though his actions made it seem like he might never want to return. He even said he "definitely" respected McAdoo for the way he handled a difficult situation. And he was thrilled to be back with his teammates - just like he knew they were thrilled he was back and had put the entire mess behind him, too.
"One thing about this locker room, when I come in here, I light it up," DRC said. "I'm an animated guy. I'm not saying I can't be replaced. What I did was wrong and I admit that. As long as I admit that and I learn from it, then I'm good."