Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's suspension may be over, but his punishment apparently is not.
At least that's the way it looked, and how the 31-year-old cornerback interpreted it, when he was mostly a sideline bystander during the Giants' 24-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Fresh off his one-week suspension, DRC not only didn't start, but he was replaced by Ross Cockrell in the Giants' nickel defense package.
Overall, he played just 16 snaps - or 21 percent of the Giants' defensive plays - which was a sharp drop from the 75 percent rate he had been playing through the first five games of the year.
"That's how it is, man," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "You go away from a team, you have to come back and earn your way back. All I can do is keep fighting and try to get back."
DRC actually played just one snap in the first three series of the game, and didn't get any kind of regular usage until cornerback Janoris Jenkins re-injured his ankle early in the second quarter. But he said he knew he wouldn't be used much in this game, and said it was leftover discipline from his one-week suspension which kept him out of the Giants' big win one week ago in Denver.
Oddly, when Ben McAdoo was asked after the game if DRC's virtual absence had anything to do with the suspension or discipline, he flatly answered "No."
But DRC didn't seem to agree with McAdoo's explanation that "We wanted to use a variety of defensive backs and they all played a significant role in the game." Rodgers-Cromartie's role didn't seem significant, and he knew his suspension was the reason why.
"When you get old you take it how you want to take it,'' Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I can't complain or get mad about when I'm in or out. When my name is called I just got to be ready. I know it's a long football season and I know one thing about corners, we always get hurt, so I know I'm going to get a chance to get back in there.''
Presumably that chance will come after the bye, but at this point, who knows? McAdoo hasn't exactly been forthcoming about what led to DRC's suspension or about his lingering punishment. This all started, of course, two weeks ago when Rodgers-Cromartie stormed off the field in the Giants' loss to the Chargers - he said after the coaches wanted him to leave the field due to a foot injury that he felt he could play through. It continued two days later with a confrontation with McAdoo, who told DRC he'd be benched for the game in Denver, which led Rodgers-Cromartie to leave the Giants building the next day.
DRC even cleaned out his locker, which he attributed to the fact that he's "crazy" and "dramatic."
As for the latest apparent punishment - hardly playing against the Seahawks - DRC said he accepted it and that he understood.
"Yes," he said. "The guys just came off a win, you don't want to mess up chemistry. You keep the guys out there and let them roll. I'll fit in when I get in."