Dominic Rhodes is one of my all-time favorite players. He's a symbol of what makes the NFL so great. No, I'm not kidding. He is.
The dude went undrafted out of Midwestern State (where?) in 2001. The Colts signed him as a collegiate free agent, and after just one training camp, he cemented himself as Edgerrin James' back-up and as the kick returner. When Edge suffered a career-altering knee injury against the Kansas City Chiefs in October 2001, Dom Rhodes went from undrafted nobody to starting tailback for a franchise on the rise.
His career in Indy peaked when he rushed for 113 yards and a TD in Super Bowl 41. He was a legit MVP candidate in that game.
Dom's career has been built on hard work, guts, and a willingness to do anything for the team. I think he's a "Colts Ring of Honor" type guy. If Jimmy Harbaugh is up there, Dom Rhodes should be up there.
So, when someone like Dom Rhodes starts taking shots at a player like JaMarcus Russell, people like me stand up and listen because you have to be a douchebag of epic proportions to get someone like Dom attacking your character.
This past Sunday, ESPN's "Outside the Lines" (video here) did a special on Russell and how he has, essentially, thrown his career way. For all the grief Ryan Leaf gets, he has now been eclipsed as the biggest draft bust of all time by Russell. The SF Gate has the "highlights":
Jon Ritchie, a former Raider who didn't play with Russell, said he heard that Russell fell asleep in meetings. Former teammate Dominic Rhodes verifed that, and it also came out the Russell would sometimes take breaks from meetings, forget to come back and need to be fetched. "I don't think he has the mindset to be great," Rhodes said.
From the "Outside the Lines" interview with Rhodes:
Rhodes: A lot of times [in meetings], I'd kind of see JaMarcus' head nodding away, and I'm like "Is that the guy who is going to be leading us?" Because, I've been in meetings with the greatest quarterback that's in this league, and all I see him with is a paper and pen a pen in his hand, writing down stuff.
Bob Ley: Peyton Manning?
Rhodes: Yeah. Peyton Manning. He's always writing down notes and making sure... you know, he has a new notebook every year and it looks like he's had it for 20 years, you know what I'm saying? I think that's part of being a professional and wanting to be great, and I don't think that, as far as right now in JaMarcus' career, I [don't] think he has that mindset to be great.
Another big slap in the face at Russell from Dom:
Of course he wants to just sit there on the bench, whenever he's making $9 million dollars, and he don't have to play to make money.
Again, for a guy like Dom Rhodes, who has always been paid based on performance and never potential, a guy like JaMarcus Russell has to rank at about the lowest form of life possible. Raiders fans still defending Russell are delusional morons, pure and simple. The guy is the biggest draft bust in NFL history. When someone like Dom Rhodes has to come out and take shots at Russell, that tells you right there that Russell's career in the NFL is likely over. I've never seen Dom tear into a player the way he shredded Russell in this interview.
Kudos to Dom for telling it like it is. Still one of my favorite Colts of all-time.