Jets' playmaking Rhodes is a star - and not just on the football field Print
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Wednesday, 08 August 2007 12:24
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 HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -Kerry Rhodes has appeared shirtless on the cover of a magazine, acted in two movies and established his own charity.
Stardom has come quickly for the New York Jets safety who's nicknamed ``Hollywood,'' and that's before considering the impact he's made during two NFL seasons.
``It's great to get other things - added incentives - a few extra dollars in your pocket to help you out, so it's all good,'' Rhodes said Wednesday, flashing the bright smile that's helped him land two small film roles.
It was an exciting offseason for Rhodes, who was a second team All-Pro selection last season after perfecting his role as one of the league's most disruptive forces.
``When opportunities come your way, you can have fun, especially in your off time,'' he said. ``My off time is my free time and I can do whatever I want, so that's what I did.''
Rhodes, who majored in communications and minored in theater arts at Louisville, will appear in the upcoming film ``Queen of Media.'' The 25-year-old Rhodes plays a college athlete in the film based on radio personality Wendy Williams' book, ``Wendy's Got the Heat - The Queen of Radio Bares All.'' He also plays a cheating boyfriend in an independent film called ``Misunderstandings.''
Rhodes had a chance to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange in January, and he and his rippling abs appear next to fellow shirtless NFL players Braylon Edwards and Dhani Jones on the cover of the August issue of Essence magazine.
``You've got to come out and establish yourself as a player or somebody that can handle this league, so I came out and wanted to do that first, and then get myself out there,'' he said.
Rhodes also established The R.H.O.D.E.S. - Reaffirming Hopes Of Dream Endearing Scholars - Foundation, which supports needy high school students around the country.
``Actually, I don't want to talk about that stuff right now,'' he said. ``I'm just here to play football. After training camp, we can talk about it.''
That's because Rhodes is determined to build on last season, when he had 99 tackles, five sacks, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and 13 passes defensed - and still didn't make the Pro Bowl.
He became a prominent part of opposing offense's game plans because of his tendency to make things happen. Rhodes' strip sack of New England's Tom Brady in Week 2 last year led to a touchdown for the Jets, and he had two more strip sacks against Buffalo's J.P. Losman a week later.
Even more playmaking will be expected this season, and Rhodes welcomes the thought.
``I put added expectations on myself, I don't know about everybody else,'' Rhodes said. ``From my standpoint, I want to be better than I was last year.''
Coach Eric Mangini has been impressed with Rhodes' approach in the offseason and early in training camp.
``Kerry had a very good spring,'' he said. ``He's working at his craft and I like to see that professionalism from someone this young in his career.''
Rhodes wasn't always so highly regarded. He was drafted in the fourth round in 2005 after four good, if unspectacular, years at Louisville.
``It's just me and my determination, knowing that I wasn't a fourth-round pick - I knew I was better value than that,'' he said.
Rhodes didn't play safety exclusively until college after being a standout quarterback at Lanier High School in Bessemer, Ala. In his senior year, Rhodes threw for more than 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns. Still, then-Louisville coach John L. Smith converted him to defensive back.
``I didn't take it too well,'' Rhodes said with a smile. ``When I first heard it, I was going to transfer and leave and go play quarterback someplace else. My dad told me to come in, go stick it out and stay around, so I did. I guess your parents know best. It turned out real well.''
It sure has, especially for the Jets, who hope to pencil the playmaker into their secondary for years.
``The NFL has been great to me so far,'' Rhodes said. ``I came in unheralded with not a lot of accolades. But I came in, started right away and I've never looked back from there.''

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