"After the first contract, I got a one-year deal, and it's hard to get another [big-money] deal," Rodgers-Cromartie said Monday. "Just from being around, I've seen a lot of guys get to the point I am right now, and it's hard. You have to start thinking about life after football."
Turns out the Broncos cornerback is just thinking about it, and he's spent the last two days telling people that actually he doesn't plan to retire after all.
“I'm definitely not retiring," Rodgers-Cromartie said Wednesday. "What I'm saying is, when I look at the history of the NFL and I look at these guys that come off a one-year contract, that's it for them. I'm just talking from a personal experience. ... You have to think about inside and outside of football. That's what I'm saying.”
Rodgers-Cromartie is good friends with Fabian Washington, who was drafted No. 23 overall by the Raiders in 2005. Washington played through his first contract (a five-year, $7.8 million deal) and never received a second long-term deal. So, when Rodgers-Cromartie talks about how it's hard to find that big-money contract the second time around, the image of Washington is who he's invoking.
“You've got to understand -- I think about Fabian Washington who is from Bradenton (Fla.), just like I am," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "First round, one contract, got a one-year deal, never came back. I work out with him. He's still fast, still in his prime and I think, ‘That could be me.' I think about guys like that."
Rodgers-Cromartie finished out a five-year, $15.1 million rookie deal with the Eagles last year, and in free agency, he signed with the Broncos for one year and $5 million. What comes next, Rodgers-Cromartie doesn't know for sure, though he seems amicable about returning to Denver.
"I can't speak on [a new contract]. I am prepared for whatever," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "That's what I mean about this being the last go-round."
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