Revis heads back to MetLife Stadium as Jets' enemy
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Darrelle Revis has been back before, as an opposing player taking on the New York Jets.
Not this way, though. This time around, he's an enemy.
He's a member of the playoff-bound New England Patriots now, and walking into MetLife Stadium on Sunday with the Jets' AFC East rivals likely won't be the same experience he's used to.
''You know what, I don't really know,'' Revis said during a conference call Wednesday. ''I'll probably just approach it like I did when I played with Tampa last year, just treat it like another game.''
But the star cornerback is hardly just another big-name player making his way back to the town where he began his NFL career, as he was in the opening game of last season with the Buccaneers.
Revis was once considered to be on his way to becoming one of the Jets' greatest players, a shutdown cornerback who was the face of Rex Ryan's defense that helped the franchise to consecutive AFC title game appearance in 2009 and 2010.
The contract-related issues that marked his six seasons with the Jets came to a head when new general manager John Idzik traded him to Tampa Bay before last season.
Revis, who bounced back from a severe knee injury, was on the move again a few months later when the Buccaneers tried to trade him last winter because of his huge salary scheduled for this season, but then released him.
He was a free agent and chose Bill Belichick and the Patriots, a team he had learned to despise while in New York.
Meanwhile, the Jets were never truly in the mix for the cornerback - a sore spot in New York's 3-11 season. It's a predicament that could cost Ryan his job, among others.
''They have a lot on their plate over there in that situation this year,'' Revis said. ''It's kind of sad for the position that Rex is in right now, but at the same time (the record is) something that they've got to change.''
Revis was then asked whether he thought he could have helped if he were in New York.
''I'm over here,'' he said. ''That ship has sailed. I missed that boat. I caught the New England Patriots boat.''
Having Revis in his secondary allowed Ryan to run his ideal scheme that uses a cornerback who locks down opponents' best receivers. And that aspect has been sorely missed by Ryan and the defense, especially this season.
''Revis?'' a smiling Ryan said when asked about not having the cornerback. ''Ah, no. You know.''
Ryan did his best to tout the players on his current roster, but it has been clear that removing Revis from his defense has taken a toll.
Consider this: The Jets starting cornerbacks last week at Tennessee were Marcus Williams and Phillip Adams, neither of whom was on the roster in training camp.
''Guys, I think we've addressed all of this before,'' Ryan said. ''You go back to our notes from the first time we played New England (in October) or even when Revis was in Tampa. You make decisions based on things. A lot of them work out, and some maybe don't work out as well as others. But I don't think it's fair to sit back and say this or that.''
Revis still talks to some of his former Jets teammates, and he's aware of what's going on with the franchise he called home since being a first-round pick in the 2007 draft.
''I'm really not trying to pay attention to that, I'm really not,'' Revis said. ''Me and Rex have a lot of history and we all know that. Some of those guys are dear to my heart and everything, but like I said, I've got to focus on the things that I am doing here and I wish Rex the best.''
Revis is playing at a Pro Bowl-level again, with 45 tackles, two interceptions and 14 passes defensed in the Patriots' mixture of man-to-man and zone coverages.
''Oh, he's had a great season,'' Ryan said. ''He's playing well. There's no question about that.''
Revis' future, though, is uncertain with the Patriots. He has a two-year contract with New England, but is scheduled to count $25 million against the team's salary cap next season. That means there's a strong possibility Revis could be available again if the Jets - with or without Ryan - want to bring him back home.
''Right now, my focus is playing against the Jets,'' Revis said. ''I'm not really thinking about the offseason right now. I'm thinking about focusing on the next game and the rest of the season.''
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