Rhodes prepares for the tackle
Kerry Rhodes displayed superstar ability on the field last season. And off the field, his development has been just as impressive. Whether seen through work in the community or in cinematic endeavors, this special talent has become one of the most active defensive backs in the National Football League.
Last Wednesday, Rhodes visited P.S.1, also know as the Courtland School, in the Bronx. The 24-year-old was scheduled to speak to a group of 8- and 9-year-olds and then toss a football with the children. "Catching with Kids" is one of the RHODES foundation's new initiatives
"We are working with at-risk students, children in inner cities who have had rough backgrounds," he said before heading off to the school. "Most of them come from single-parent homes and a lot of these kids don't have a lot to look forward to. A positive person, who can come in to the schools and talk to the kids, can be a great thing."
A native of Bessemer, Ala., Rhodes triumphed despite the potholes around him.
"They can see that somebody like me — coming from Bessemer, which is a pretty rough city itself — had success," he said. "It is good for them to see they can succeed themselves."
Rhodes credits his parents for much of his success. Jubrella, a nurse who is the chairlady of her son's foundation, and Jerome, a versatile worker at a Marriott property in Bessemer, provided a good base for their kids.
"I had good parents. Both of my parents are still together," he said. "Even though I came from a tough area, I got a lot of love from them. They always told me to go for it and I never looked back."
After establishing his foundation in 2006, Rhodes hosted a kickoff party last summer at New York City's 40/40 Club. The RHODES foundation supports the educational and financial advancement of young people and Kerry is targeting young people in his hometown and in the New York area.
In July he will host a celebrity basketball game to raise funds for his charitable foundation. Those on the guest list include Philadelphia Eagles LB Takeo Spikes, Cleveland Browns WR Braylon Edwards, Miami Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown, Washington Redskins CB Carlos Rogers and a couple of famous models.
The hoops contest will take place at Lanier High School, where Rhodes dominated opponents on the hardwood. He was Metro Player of the Year and an all-state second-team performer in basketball as a senior, averaging more than 23 points and nine assists per game.
"I am one of the best basketball players in NFL history," the 6'3", 210-pound safety said with a sly laugh. "No, I seriously am a pretty good basketball player. If I wasn't playing football, I would definitely be playing basketball."
Just days before the hoops event, Rhodes will join teammate Jerricho Cotchery for a one-day football skills camp in Birmingham, Ala.
"I am looking forward to working with the kids at the camp," he said. "We actually did a commercial for it and a lot of people have been calling me about it."
Rhodes is also set to begin participating in the Queen of Media, a film on the life of radio personality and gossip queen Wendy Williams. The movie will be based on her top-selling book "Wendy's Got the Heat."
"This is the mainstream event right here. It's a brief part, but I have two scenes," said Rhodes, an aspiring actor who minored in theater arts at Louisville. "It's going to be fun. I wish I could say who's in the movie. There are a couple of big names in it, too, so I'm excited about it. I just got the script."