It wouldn’t necessarily be wrong to regard Darrelle Revis as an emotionless businessman who just so happened to play football, but it would be a massive disservice to forget the greatness that the retiring corner displayed in his prime.
The son of two decorated high school athletes, Revis was drafted 14th overall by the New York Jets in 2007 out of Pitt. His career, fittingly, began with a contract dispute, but once he got to camp it became easy to see why the Jets coveted him.
As a rookie, Revis started all 16 games and surrendered just three touchdowns. He made strides the next season, picking off five passes and earning his first career Pro Bowl nod.
By his third year, Revis had become an utter machine.
Marquee WRs vs. Revis – ’09 regular season:
Including the playoffs, Revis spent eight games that season lined up opposite Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, and Reggie Wayne. He allowed an average of 2.9 receptions for 27.3 yards.
His campaign received a 97.6 score from Pro Football Focus, still the highest single-season grade for a corner since PFF began calculating performances in 2006. His dominance inspired the creation of “Revis Island,” the mythological vacation spot receivers were isolated on when they faced Revis.
In arguably his finest performance, Revis held Detroit Lions superstar Calvin Johnson to one catch for 13 yards in 2010. One week after the next, until his ACL tear in 2012, Revis completely shut down opposing teams’ best receivers.
Salary cap issues and uncertainty about his ability to recover from the ACL injury forced the Jets to trade Revis in 2013. He spent one season miscast in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ zone defense – he still earned PFF’s second-highest grade for a corner that season – before he was released, paving the way for him to join the New England Patriots.
(Photo courtesy: Action Images)
In Foxborough, Revis Island re-emerged. He was an All-Pro for the first time since 2011, intercepted Andrew Luck in the AFC Championship, and won his only Super Bowl.
Soon after the parade, though, came the descent. As is the case for most aging NFL stars, the end of Revis’ career wasn’t pretty.
But, the journey was. Revis made seven Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams in 11 years. He earned $124 million over his career, and up until the end, he was worth the salaries he held out for.