FOXBOROUGH — Cornerback Darrelle Revis doesn’t always hit the field brimming with confidence, especially in an environment that requires adaptation. Coming to New England, his second team in two years, has brought about a nervous excitement.
“You have butterflies because its the start of training camp, and it’s kinda weird in a way,” Revis said. “But I’m a Patriot now. And that’s how things go, so you just have to roll with it.”
The five-time Pro Bowl cornerback, who wreaked havoc on opposing squads for Rex Ryan and the Jets just two years ago, has now begun to settle into his new club, heading north from the Tampa Bay after only one season performing for the Buccaneers.
Now a Patriot, he will battle his former team twice in the regular season. And instead of spearheading a defensive effort against Tom Brady, Revis will enjoy the skills of the seasoned veteran on his side.
“As long as I’m playing the game I love, it doesn’t matter (which team I’m on),” he told reporters at training camp on Friday.
And as for Brady?
“We have the same color jersey on Sundays,” he said. “Tom is a great competitor; he knows as well as anyone out here. We’re just trying to get better everyday.”
Revis was named the Jets’ starting cornerback in 2007, his rookie season. He was the first rookie corner of the Jets to be named a starter since Ray Mickens in 1996. And he certainly displayed his promise that year, tallying 87 total tackles, 17 pass deflections and three interceptions.
Revis’ nose for the ball and unparalleled physicality separated him from the rest of the Jets’ defense, and his former coach, Eric Mangini, took notice.
“I felt very strongly he could be a Hall of Fame player because of his talent and his work ethic. I think that’s where he’s headed,” Mangini told NFL.com in 2011. “He plays with great technique, has great natural ability, and he’s passionate.”
Then, elevating his status closer to a complete “shutdown” corner in 2009, Revis led the league with pass deflections and notched six interceptions, sending him to his second Pro Bowl.
In 2012 he suffered a major set back when he tore his ACL in the beginning of the season, which contributed to trade rumors before he was dealt to the Buccaneers for multiple draft picks.
A resilient Revis came back strong from this injury misfortune. He currently believes that he’s at full health, joking that he could lock down a member of the media.
“You want to try it out, test it out. I can go cover you,” Revis told a reporter, drawing laughter from the crowd of reporters.
All jokes aside, for Patriots fans tentative about his durability, this year could see a return to his most dynamic playing days pre-2010.
“Coming off the ACL injury that was tough for me. I finished all 16 games last season, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be physically as a player. This is my first offseason (in a while) where I can focus on working out. I’ve been in the best shape in my career.”