EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Of course Kerry Rhodes would have liked his Cardinals to get the win in his return to New York. Since the Jets eked a 7-6 win, Rhodes will just have to console himself with his two interceptions and a forced fumble.
The Jets could have used a safety like Rhodes this season, but instead Rex Ryan sent him packing after the 2009 season and then tweaked him in his book, "Play Like You Mean It," calling Rhodes a "Hollywood type." It was one of the few times Ryan has publicly called a player out.
Cardinals kicker Jay Feely was Rhodes' teammate on the Jets.
"I'm sure there was something extra in this game," Feely said. "When a coach calls you out you want to respond, and you want to prove him wrong -- and you want to do it against his team."
Rhodes caught the first pass of the game from Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. When Rhodes nabbed another interception in the first half, he briefly led all of Sanchez's receivers in yards.
Although Rhodes took the high road for the most part, he admitted he was glad to have a good showing in his return.
"I had a little fun with it," he said.
Even former teammate Eric Smith had to give Rhodes his due.
"Nice plays -- he was right where he needed to be and caught the ball," Smith said.
"There's very few safeties that have better ball skills than him," Feely said of Rhodes. "And he's a playmaker. He gets interceptions and he gets fumble recoveries and scores touchdowns and I'm happy he's my teammate."
Interestingly, Rhodes said he talked to Sanchez after he was benched in the third quarter. Sanchez and Rhodes played together for a year and were friendly even after Rhodes left.
"I just told him to keep his head up," Rhodes said. "That he's a good young man and he tries his best. When you play here in New York, they are very demanding of you."
That's one thing that Rhodes certainly knows first-hand.