- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Former Jets S Kerry Rhodes gets his first crack Sunday at his old team and the old coach who called him a "selfish-ass guy" obsessed with his "Hollywood" image.
On Wednesday, Rhodes, now starting for the Cardinals (4-7), passed on an opportunity to fire back at Rex Ryan.
"I'm not going to go that route,” Rhodes told the Arizona Republic. "It's been almost three years now. He has stuff he has to worry about with that team and I have stuff I have to worry about here ... Everybody knows what I can do. I think I've proven it, that I'm still a good player in this league."
Rhodes played five mostly productive seasons with the Jets, but he fell out of favor with Ryan and was traded after the 2009 season. A year later, Ryan trashed him in his book.
Rhodes said his experience in New York "made me a man. It helped me grow up." He added, "You can be on top of the world but you can also be at the lowest of lows. It's one of those opportunity places. You have smaller endorsement deals out here, but in New York, when you're playing well, you're doing Campbell's Soup commercials like Victor Cruz or Subway commercials like Justin Tuck.
"When you win there it’s a big deal."
Jets LB Calvin Pace, who began his career in Arizona, painted a less flattering picture of the New York media. He said it was easier to win in Arizona because there's less media attention.
"You didn't have to worry about so many media outlets in the city, just making up random stuff and blowing a lot of stuff out of proportion that really is nothing," Pace said on a conference call with the Arizona media. "It’s really unfair as a player. Most fans won’t ever be able to come into our building and see guys for the people that they really are. They just don’t understand this organization does everything they can to win games. They bring in great talent, and even better people.
"I'm not saying it's all the reporters up here, but its two or three people who come into the building, and their whole goal is to try to start controversy. That's probably the most hassle that I have to deal with being here. But, it's part of the territory. You've just got to go out and be professional, and go out and try to win games.”
1hField Yates and Rich Cimini