PHILADELPHIA - Eagles defensive end Trent Cole reached into his locker cubicle at the NovaCare Complex and brandished a pair of orange and white cleats.
Then he tossed them under a pile of shoes and T-shirts.
"They are prototypes that (Under Armour) asked me to try out," Cole said. "But they're not me. That's something (Eagles cornerback) Dominique (Rodgers-Cromartie) would wear."
Rodgers-Cromartie, who was acquired last year in the trade that sent quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona, has been gaining attention for his colorful approach to fashion.
He showed up at training camp at Lehigh University in July with a green mohawk. After grabbing two interceptions in the Eagles' opening-day victory at Cleveland two weeks ago, he donned a pair of pink eyeglass frames with no lenses. His post-practice attire on Wednesday included gray socks with blue and pink polka dots.
He's also been standing out for his play on the field. The 26-year-old enters Sunday's game at Arizona tied for the second in the NFL with two interceptions and leads the team with five pass breakups.
Sunday's game will represent an opportunity to prove the Eagles got the upper hand in the trade.
"Aw, I don't look at it that way," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I don't look at the game as comparing Kolb and me. He's playing really well. He's making smart decisions and getting the ball out fast. And I have nothing against the Cardinals. I was disappointed at first when they traded me, but I understand this is a business. They gave me my first opportunity to play in the NFL and I'm thankful for that."
Rodgers-Cromartie needed a little time to adjust to the Eagles, however, both on and off the field.
A native of Bradenton, Fla., he did not have to deal with a lot of pressure during his college career at Tennessee State. During his three-year stint in Arizona, he grew to enjoy the quiet, open space of the desert.
And as popular as the Cardinals are in the Phoenix area, the media coverage pales in comparison to the Eagles.
"Coming to Philly took some getting used to," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I'm not used to seeing that many cars parked up and down every street. But I like it here and I like the team. The guys accepted me here right away and that helped a lot."
A change in positions hampered his progress on the field. Upon trading for Rodgers-Cromartie and acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha to pair with veteran Asante Samuel, defensive coordinator Juan Castillo found himself with three talented cornerbacks. Castillo, who was in his first season on the job in 2011, moved Rodgers-Cromartie to cover receivers in the slot, a position he had never played.
He struggled to make the switch. The 2009 Pro Bowler registered his first career sack, but was held without an interception after collecting 13 in his three years with the Cards and returning four of them for touchdowns.
When the Eagles traded Samuel to Atlanta in April, Rodgers-Cromartie was moved to left cornerback and he has flourished.
"Dominique is a very competitive person," Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said. "He likes to challenge receivers and he's getting an opportunity to do that on the outside. His confidence is high and he really understands what we are trying to do."
Sunday's game will be the Eagles' first trip to Arizona since the 2008 NFC championship game. Although the Cards advanced to the Super Bowl with a 32-25 win, Rodgers-Cromartie does not have good memories about the contest.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles took a 25-24 lead when wide receiver DeSean Jackson beat Rodgers-Cromartie for a 62-yard touchdown on a pass from quarterback Donovan McNabb.
"Playing in the Super Bowl was great, but not that game," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I just have a memory of DeSean going deep on me. That hit me right here (in the heart) because I see him every day in this locker room. And they're always bringing that up, from (wide receivers coach David Culley) to the trainers. They always say, 'Hey DR, remember when DeSean went past you?' So that's always the memory."
Another challenge awaits on Sunday in Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
As his former teammate, Rodgers-Cromartie is very aware of Fitzgerald's ability to dominate a game.
"You know 'Fitz' is going to get the ball, so I have to stay tight on him and just focus," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "He makes so many big plays, all you can do is say he's amazing. The main thing for me is to just go out there and be disciplined.
"I'm looking forward to the game. I still have a lot of friends and family out there, so it will be nice to go back."
Extra points: Tackle King Dunlap (strained hamstring) was the only player who did not practice Thursday, increasing the likelihood that Demetress Bell will start at left tackle against the Cardinals. ... Wide receivers Riley Cooper (broken collarbone) and Jeremy Maclin (strained hip flexor) were limited in practice Thursday.
Contact David Weinberg:
at Cardinals (2-0)
When: 4 p.m. Sunday
Line: Eagles by 3 points