When Darrelle Revis spurned the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots in March of 2015 to return to the hated New York Jets, I was angry.
I wasn’t so much angry at Revis. After all of the All-Pro seasons and crafting a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, he had just won his first Super Bowl. The lone void in his NFL resume was filled, and he wanted to ‘go home’ and cash in. Understood. He signed a five year, $70 million deal at age 29; $16 million and $17 million for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, respectively, and $39 million guaranteed overall. That’s a lot of dough. God bless him.
No, I was angry because the Patriots still had him under contract for an additional year at $20 million. Okay, it was a poison pill contract from day one and was essentially a one year deal, but if Bill Belichick had bitten the bullet for the 2015 season then let him walk after the 2015 season, they could have won back to back Super Bowls. That was how I felt then, and, until recently, was how I still felt.
But I was dead wrong. Bill was right again. He made the right decision letting him walk.
I’m not puffing out my chest because Brady picked on Revis at key junctures on Sunday, throwing both his touchdown passes in Revis’ direction. Even the great ones get beat every now and then. It happens. But in the case of Revis, it’s been happening often. Since, oh I don’t know….ever since he left New England. Bill knew something was amiss with Revis Island during the 2014 season, and it was all down hill if he signed him long term.
So was Belichick prescient, or just lucky?
A few weeks ago, when the Jets lost 9-6 to the pathetic Los Angeles Rams, Kenny Britt caught six passes on Revis’ side of the field for 81 yards (three converted third downs) from the immortal Case Keenum. When Revis was asked in the postgame to explain his struggles, he replied “I’m old.” Yikes. He’s 31 years old. To put that into perspective: Mel Blount, Mike Haynes, Champ Bailey, Deion Sanders, Ty Law, Rod Woodson, Ronde Barber- all of these guys made the Pro Bowl after the age of 31. So take age out of the equation. It’s effort, or lack therof, more than anything else.
Here’s the truth: Revis has shut it down. He’s mentally checked out of playing football. He showed up to training camp last year out of shape and never had any intention of playing professional football at a high level ever again. He suckered the Jets into giving him that contract. Bill Belichick wouldn’t take the bait, either because he’s psychic or because there was a disconnect between the two during his lone season in Foxboro.
Consider what an anonymous member of Revis’ inner circle said after Sunday’s game. “He’s done,” the source revealed. “If he had his way, he’d be done right now. He doesn’t want to play anymore. He’s made a lot of money….He tanked it.” That quote is not only damning, it’s 100% accurate based on the eyeball test.
Belichick has this ‘letting guys go at the perfect time’ thing down to a science at this point. This was just another example of his punctuality. I always thought that letting Revis walk was a physical assessment and a monetary decision. It appears that Bill saw character flaws as well, flaws that we never saw up close or on a daily basis. Revis Island has become Revis Resort, and he has given the phrase ‘shut down’ a whole new meaning to the cornerback position.
To be honest it’s exactly what Woody Johnson, the Jets franchise, and their fans, deserve.