Kerry Rhodes took the NFL season off last year after not finding a contract offer suitable to his liking. The 31-year-old says he is not retired, and he also says he does not believe rumors that he is gay had anything to do with him not being signed.
“I don’t think I was blacklisted,” Rhodes told ESPN New York’s Jane McManus during a phone interview Tuesday. “Especially with the NFL I don’t think they would do that … to me it was a product of me wanting to do other things and not finding the right opportunity.”
Rumors about Rhodes being gay spread after a former assistant of his claimed that he was Rhodes’ ex-boyfriend. The former Jets and Cardinals safety denied the claims.
“I emphatically said no once and that’s all I need to say and people who know me know that’s definitely not the case,” Rhodes said. “To me I’m definitely not and I can’t control but people think, so I move on.”
We’ll soon find out how an NFL team deals with an openly gay player if Michael Sam, who came out over a week ago, gets drafted or signed. Rhodes doesn’t think the NFL locker room will change, but he does believe players will become more aware of it.
Rhodes is older and was already declining in ability, so it makes sense why he didn’t find a job. One of the issues was that Rhodes would only play for a certain amount of money, which he didn’t find. He felt it wasn’t worth sacrificing his body if he wasn’t going to be paid enough.
Even though Rhodes denies being gay, he has faced some suspicious comments from people other than his former assistant. His former coach Rex Ryan called him a selfish, Hollywood type, while Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said he didn’t run in the same circles as Rhodes.
Rhodes is probably right about his overall point; his contract demands were not met, and that’s probably the biggest reason he did not play last season.
Previously: Kerry Rhodes on a bed with his alleged boyfriend