Background and high school
Kerry Rhodes was born in Bessemer, Alabama on August 2, 1982, to Jubrella and Jerome Rhodes and began playing football at nine years old. Kerry was a starting quarterback and honor student at Jess Lanier High School in Bessemer. As a junior, he threw more than 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 500 yards and three scores in 1998; guiding Lanier to a 10-2 record. During his senior season, Rhodes threw for more than 1,600 yards and ran for another 850. He was also selected Metro Player of the year and first-team All-state in basketball of which he led his team to the 6A title game.
In 2000, he went to the University of Louisville as a quarterback for the Cardinals, but was moved to safety and became one of the team’s best defensive players. Kerry finished out his first season at Louisville with 10 tackles, two pass breakups and an interception. As a reserve in 2002, he had 18 tackles (12 solos), a forced fumble, two pass deflections, a blocked kick and an interception. Kerry took over chores as a free safety in 2003 and registered a career high with a sack, 82 tackles (61 solos) and three stops for losses. In 2004, He closed out his college career with 167 tackles (101 solos), a 12-yard sack, 18 pass deflections and 11 interceptions for 106 yards in returns. Rhodes was accorded first-team All-Conference USA honors that same year.
NFL Career2005 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. That same year, he beat out Oliver Celestin for the starting job at strong safety and started in 16 consecutive games in 2005. In his first professional season, Kerry recorded 108 total tackles (85 solo), a sack, an interception, 9 pass deflections and a forced fumble.
2006 was a breakout season for the young safety. On September 24, 2006, he made a pivotal play against J.P. Losman of the Buffalo Bills, stripping the ball from the quarterback's hands and allowing Victor Hobson to return the fumble for a touchdown. This helped the Jets to a 28-20 victory. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for week 3. In Week 4, Quarterback Peyton Manning shouted, "There's Kerry! Block Kerry!" to his linemen during the Jets’ game against the Indianapolis Colts. In Week 7, Rhodes intercepted an important pass by Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, yet another big defensive play. In Week 12, during the game against the Houston Texans, Rhodes intercepted a huge pass by quarterback David Carr in the second half. Rhodes' statistics at the end of the season were of a Pro Bowl caliber, but Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, and John Lynch proved to be more popular in fan voting and earned the nod ahead of the Jets' safety. Kerry was named to the 2006 "All Pro" teams by ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press. 2007 Kerry was ranked #29 out of the top 500 players in the NFL by Peter King for Sports Illustrated.
However, Rhodes didn't fulfil his promise, many fans believing he was more interested in cultivating his "Hollywood" persona, rather than delivering on the field, shying away from a tackle on Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and getting clobbered by Laurence Maroney didn't help. On November 25, 2009, Rhodes was benched in favor of backup Eric Smith due to his unproductive season. Rhodes would respond with two interceptions against the Carolina Panthers, however, his relationship with the team worsened after getting into a shouting match with secondary coach Dennis Thurman, and it was just a matter of time before Rhodes was gone.
After the Jets
- Up until start of 2007 season.