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Former Arizona Cardinal Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie learned from first Super Bowl try

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, left, tries to fend off Arizona Cardinals defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie during the third quarter of the NFL Super Bowl XLIII football game, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009, in Tampa, Fla.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Denver Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made some headlines Monday when he told the media he might retire if his team wins the Super Bowl on Sunday.

"I had a goal of playing 5 years, and I reached that," Rodgers-Cromartie said.

Just 27 years old and coming off a pretty productive season, it would be a pretty odd move (and it's one he's since backed off of, at least a little).

Rodgers-Cromartie has had a bit of an up-and-down career since being drafted 16th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2008.

As a rookie, he picked off four passes and helped lead the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. The next season, he intercepted six passes and was invited to the Pro Bowl.

But in 2010 he picked off just three passes, and following the season he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in the deal that brought quarterback Kevin Kolb to the desert.

Following two fairly unproductive seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, DRC found a home with the Denver Broncos, where he has had a bit of a career renaissance.

The former Tennessee State star collected three interceptions to go along with 31 tackles. Without him, the Broncos probably don't reach the Super Bowl. It will be the cornerback's second appearance in the big game, though years later the first one still stings a bit.

"Not to the point where it beats me up, but just to the point that we were that close to getting a ring," Rodgers-Cromartie said Monday.

He was close, as the Cardinals let a late lead slip away and lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23.

"I do tend to think about it a lot," DRC added. "Anytime the Super Bowl comes back around, they tend to show that play to this day. You sit there, look at it and think, I was almost there.' You can't dwell on it. [That was] the main thing I learned from that game, and I am looking forward to playing in this one."

Rodgers-Cromartie finished with five solo tackles in the game, but could only watch as Ben Roethlisberger's pass found Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown in the last minute.

Hoping to avoid a similar fate, DRC says he's learned from his experience.

"I was a rookie," he said. "I was young. I was still grasping the concept of being in the NFL. I was just happy-go-lucky. I was happy to be there, very excited and really enjoyed it. Now being a little older, I can keep my mind back and understand that we are here to play a game, and after we get a victory, we can really enjoy it."

About the Author

School: University of Arizona

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Fall 2008, right before Cardinals Super Bowl run

Favorite sports memory: Being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series with my dad

Favorite all-time athlete: Larry Centers

Favorite sports movies: The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Jerry Maguire

Most crushing sports moment: Grew up in Arizona and went to UA from 2002-06. In short, there are too many to name just one.


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