TEMPE, Ariz. — Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is disappointed that former Cardinals teammate and close friend Karlos Dansby chose to sign a four-year, $22 million free agent deal with the Cleveland Browns this spring.
"I personally feel like he chased the money versus chasing the ring," said Dockett, who addressed the media Thursday for the first time this offseason. "No knock towards Cleveland. I don’t want to start a thing about I’m saying Cleveland don’t have a chance. Everybody has a chance, but I just felt like it was made for him to be here."
After his unexpected release by the Miami Dolphins, Dansby made it clear he was chasing a long-term deal in the summer of 2013 when several suitors came calling, including the Cardinals.
"It didn’t work out that way," Dansby said. "That’s why I’m not in Buffalo right now."
Instead, Dansby signed a one-year deal with Arizona, turned in a career year and then cashed in with a deal few saw coming — and few were willing to offer the 32-year-old inside linebacker.
"I got a lot of respect for our guy that left. I love him like a brother, but we were one or two pieces away from really making a lot of noise," Dockett said.
"When you look at everything that we’ve done — the sacrifices our defensive line made for that certain individual to make his plays and going into a game not being selfish — our defensive line don’t care about sacks and tackles and stuff. We come in to do our job to hold guys off our linebackers.
"The opportunity was to be right here to really get into the playoffs and make a run for it. But we’re not going to complain about spilled milk. I wish him well. At the end of the day, we’ll see who’s where at the end of the season."
Dansby said he understands that sentiment, but had to consider that this contract might be his last big one.
"I told my agent, ‘Let’s make history,’ and the deal with the Browns is what he came back with," Dansby said. "I knew I wasn’t going to be back in Arizona. I knew it was going to be hard on them from a business standpoint. I could tell from some of their comments around the Combine, so I got ready to move on."
That is exactly what the Cardinals will do now, Dockett said.
"Our GM, coaches, owners — they’re going to do a great job to get somebody to fill that role, and we got guys in here that’s enthusiastic about getting a chance to fill that role," Dockett said. "They know those are some big shoes to fill."