He will be 31 when the NFL season begins and has been a productive player in eight NFL seasons between the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. He had four interceptions and forced two fumbles last season in Arizona.
Given his health, and his productivity, there is no reason why Rhodes should not get a look from an NFL team. My God, Gerald Sensabaugh got a contract to play football in the NFL and he is not as good as Rhodes.
The only reason Rhodes may not get a look is because the Internet is blowing up with photos and text exchanges between the NFL safety and with what appears to be his boyfriend.
So far the NFL has not touched this subject of accepting a gay player because no active player has come out to admit as much. This is not exactly like Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Jackie could not hide that he was black.
The numbers say there are plenty of pro players who have, or are, hiding the fact that they are gay because they do not want to risk losing their six or seven-figure jobs in a world that for decades has mocked homosexuality as the ultimate sign of weakness. The NFL, and its executives, may fancy themselves as progressives but no one has done this yet.
But we may be closer to the day when this is actually no big deal. According to this story by Mike Freeman of CBSsports.com, an NFL team and many of its players knew it had a gay player on the team and no one cared.
In the end, for a player to come out and admit he is gay has to be their own decision. To be the first will be a lot to absorb, and the fear alone could be overwhelming. Hopefully after a while it will be no big deal. Much like Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers, it would help if the player is highly productive.
Kerry Rhodes may not be the second coming of Rod Woodson, but he is a prodcutive player. He is better than Gerald Sensabaugh.
If an NFL team does not sign Kerry Rhodes shortly then we will know just how progressive this league really is.
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