Despite several changes
this offseason, Arizona is confident that young players such as Matt Leinart are ready to play a larger role, Vic Carucci writes.
Dockett, a second-team All-Pro selection and Pro Bowl starter last season, found himself in hot water after taking a shower live on the Ustream site to win a $1,000 bet. He said after the first day of the Cardinals' voluntary workouts Tuesday that at first he thought it was a joke but added "obviously it's not."
Dockett said he put his team in the news for "things that are not appropriate."
"I apologize to all the kids, everybody in the community that looks up to me," Dockett said. "I apologize to my team, all the players. I walked by individually each player and apologized."
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound lineman said no one will ever see him in such a situation again, unless it's video of, as he put it, "me trying to take somebody's head off" in a game.
"It was a joke that I took out of character, and it was wrong," Dockett said. "I've got to do better things than that. Even though I didn't think it was serious at the time, I've got to realize that other people may not look at it like that."
"We addressed the situation, and I think he's handled it very well after that," Whisenhunt said.
The coach said players must be careful about how they use the many avenues of communication now available to them.
"Obviously we weren't real excited when it (the shower video) came out," Whisenhunt said, "but technology is changing every day in our business, and that's a good thing. It's an important thing. We don't discourage our players from having interaction with our fans. In fact, we think it's important. But there's always a right way and a wrong way to do it, and we've talked about that and feel very comfortable about where Darnell and our team is with it."
Dockett said he would resume using his Twitter account, which went uncharacteristically silent when the shower controversy erupted.
"I'm still going to be me," Dockett said. "It's not going to change who I am. It's not going to change what I do on Twitter. I'm just going to be much smarter and do things for my team for them to look at me as being accountable."
The shower video notwithstanding, Whisenhunt praised Dockett's evolution as a team leader.
"Darnell's come a long way," Whisenhunt said. "Probably one of the more rewarding things that you can have as a coach is to see a player grow and develop the way he has. He has turned into an outstanding football player, a Pro Bowl-type player. As far as becoming a leader and being a guy that can hold other guys accountable and be respected. That's a great thing to see him grow in that way."
A year ago, Dockett stayed away from minicamp and voluntary workouts to show his desire for a new contract. He still doesn't have one.
"I'm not even worrying about that," he said. "It will take care of itself. I honestly believe that it will. Right now, man, I'm just trying to get better at football. ... The only thing I'm worrying about is being the best defensive tackle in the league."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press