Catching Up With: Kerry Rhodes

With under a week remaining before the start of his first NFL Training Camp, former Cardinal strong safety Kerry Rhodes is spending much of his time in Louisville. The New York Jet rookie, taken in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, is hoping to make the same impression that Erik Coleman did a year ago.

Kerry Rhodes, a native of Bessemer, Ala., became a two-year starter at Louisville, recording 166 career tackles and 11 career interceptions. The 4th-round draft pick of the New York Jets is spending much of his time before the start of training camp in Louisville. ITV caught up with Rhodes last Thursday while watching voluntary workouts inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

How's life in the NFL treating you so far?

"It's been pretty interesting. I'm learning as much as I can from the vets and trying to consume as much information that I can. Right now, it's all about learning."

How does it feel to hear the talk of you playing a vital role in the Jets secondary this season as a rookie?

"It was pretty good to hear that. Coach got after me one day in practice. He asked me what I wanted do here and and why I thought he was getting after me and I said because you want me to play here. He said, 'no, I want you to start!' That helped give me the confidence to go out make plays and I guess it's been working so far."

When does training camp start?

"Training camp starts on the 29th, so I'm actually going to leave here on the 25th to go a couple days early so I can get situated again."

Have you been working out a lot since minicamp ended?

"Coach told me not to do to much while I am on break. He said to relax and to enjoy the time off because when we go back it will be a grind. I'm just trying to relax, but I'm doing a little running and weight lifting just to stay in shape."


Celebrating his game clinching interception in the
Liberty Bowl with fellow NFL rookie Antoine Harris

How important is it to have a facility like the one here at Louisville to be able to return to and workout during the off season?

"It's one of the greatest. It's just as good as the one with the Jets. It's good to have this to come back to and all the players are coming back to work out here. It's starting to become a trend where all the players from here that are in the NFL come back here and work out, which is good for the school."

How is it for you to now come out and watch the guys that will be taking over for you this fall?

"They like to come up and talk to us a lot and just get feedback about what's going on. It's good for them to have somebody to come talk to and relate to."

Talk about how important Coach Cassity was to you reaching the NFL.

"I come back and talk to 'Cass' all the time. I came back just one weekend a couple weeks ago to take he and his wife out for dinner. I appreciate everything that he has done for me. Not just him, but Coach Whitt and all the other coaches too, but Coach Cassity came to me and told me - man to man - what I needed to do and I respect that a lot. He told me what I needed to do to get better and how to get into the position I am now. I just took his advice and did what he asked me to do and now I'm where I wanted to be."

Any lifestyle changes for you yet?

"I do have a Range Rover, but that's for all the hard work I put in. I felt I had to reward myself."

What's your opinion on this year's Cardinal team?

"They are going to be good. I like what I am seeing right now and the competitiveness on both sides of the ball. I know the offense is loaded, but so is the defense. The young safties can make plays and if they do that, this defense will be real good."

Are you worried about having three new starters in the secondary?

"Not at all. They saw the way we played those positions last year and how the defense was always flying around, so there isn't going to be a drop-off there. They just need to become the new leaders and be sure to control the game."


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