EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants suspended veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie after the cornerback left the team’s facilities before practice Wednesday.
Coach Ben McAdoo announced the indefinite suspension after practice.
The second-year coach had met with Rodgers-Cromartie on Tuesday and told him that he would not be active for this Sunday’s game in Denver because of something the 31-year-old either said or did during Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Rodgers-Cromartie had left the bench and gone to the locker room during the second half, but he later returned. It is not known if the two exchanged words during the game. There was no apparent physical altercation.
McAdoo told the 10-year veteran who joined the Giants in 2014 that he still expected him to practice this week and prepare for the game even though he was not going to play.
Rodgers-Cromartie, who had started three games, reported to the Giants’ headquarters Wednesday morning and then left. He was not available for comment. Roosevelt Barnes, his agent, did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.
Rodger-Cromartie told ESPN that he argued with McAdoo “about playing” during the game. He admitted to handling “it the wrong way, but to sit me a game had me hot so I left.”
He said plans to return to the team Thursday.
Teammates said “DRC” had a smile on his face Wednesday morning and they did not sense anything was amiss until he was not on the field for practice.
Rodgers-Cromartie was fourth on the team with 26 tackles. He also had a half sack. He led the team with six interceptions last season.
The timing could not be worse for the Giants. They are 0-5 after making the playoffs a year ago, and the suspension gives the impression that McAdoo is losing his team in just his second year as a head coach.
McAdoo said his team had a great practice Wednesday when asked about the possibility of losing the team’s confidence in him.
Cornerback Eli Apple had no idea that Rodgers-Cromartie wasn’t at practice until he didn’t see No. 41 on the field. He also doesn’t feel the team is falling apart.
“I think the leaders on this team, they’re not going to let anything like that happen,” Apple said. “And it’s just about us going out on the field and competing hard.”
Safety Landon Collins said the suspension would be discussed by the players.
“We’re going to talk about it in this afternoon’s meeting,” he said. “It’s a big issue in the room and we need to address it. We don’t need anyone else separating from the team.”
Rodgers-Cromartie was a big contributor to the secondary. He could play on the outside and he was able to become the slot cornerback when opposing offenses used three or more wide receivers. He started this past weekend on the outside. He did leave the game in the first quarter when he seemed to hurt his foot covering a deep pass.