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"That's Not How You Build Chemistry"

Posted Nov 4, 2013

Cardinals don't cross the line when it comes to how they treat rookies

Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett on how to treat rookies: "We don't do anything we wouldn't want done to us."

Darnell Dockett and his fellow Cardinals veterans like to have fun with the team’s rookies.

This year during training camp, there were a couple of less-than-attractive haircuts. Sometimes rookies are tasked with bringing breakfast or carrying water.

The defensive tackle, though, said that’s the extent of it. While Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito was suspended on Sunday for conduct detrimental to the team – assumedly for his role in the harassment of fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin – Dockett said that type of behavior is not tolerated in the Cardinals’ locker room.

“We don’t do anything we wouldn’t want done to us,” said Dockett, now in his tenth year in the NFL. “We give a haircut and (make them) bring breakfast and stuff like that. Carry water, little basic stuff. We still understand that’s one of our teammates and we’re going to need him at some point.

“We want them to look at us like big brothers. If they have any questions, we don’t want a young guy looking at us like we’re the enemy, he don’t like us, things like that. That’s not how you build chemistry, at all.”

Incognito has been accused of sending text messages and voicemails to Martin that included racial slurs and threats of violence.  Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said there is no gray area about what type of hazing is allowed with his team.

“You just go and say it, ‘This is all you’re allowed to do,’” Arians said. “We let our guys cut some hair. Hair grows back. Your feelings get hurt a little bit if you’ve got an ugly haircut, but at least you can fix it in a month. That’s the extent of what we’re going to do around here.”

Martin left the Dolphins last week and has not returned, and Incognito has been singled out as the leader of the bullying. Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby played with Incognito from 2010-12 in Miami and said the allegations don’t mesh with the teammate he knew.

“I knew his reputation before because we played against him in St. Louis,” Dansby said. “We knew he had some dirty tactics, but getting down there playing with him, he was the best teammate you could have. I don’t know what took place, but something had to go wrong for Martin to come out and say he’s been bullied. I don’t know. That’s tough.”

Dockett, who said there have been on-field incidents between him and Incognito in the past, was less forgiving. He said it wasn’t a surprise to see Incognito’s name attached to the controversy.

 “He’s been getting away with a lot of stuff,” Dockett said. “Like I said, just Google it up. He has so many incidents that he’s been trying to hurt guys and just physically bully guys. He’s been doing that for so long. I don’t know if the teams are supporting that -- the teams that he’s played for -- but, like I said, I’m just glad that certain guys are standing up for themselves and certain guys not dealing with it.

“I don’t know anything about this guy (Martin) that’s on the Dolphins, but I know for a fact (Incognito) wouldn’t have ever done that to me, send me no text messages like that because it would have been bigger than that – me coming to work with him every day. He picks on the right guys. He does like the dirty stuff. Everybody knows guys like that in the real world won’t survive. A lot of bark, no bite.”

Cardinals rookie running back Stepfan Taylor played three seasons with Martin at Stanford. He said the two have not been in contact since Martin left the Dolphins but hopes for the best for his old teammate.

“I hate to see that on the news, on the front page of ‘Yahoo!’, things like that,” Taylor said. “You just pray for him and pray for the best situation. Like I said, I don’t know what’s going on.

“The best thing I feel I can do is give him time. You don’t want to hound somebody else in a situation like this, I think. You just give them time, give them their space.”

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