FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Darrelle Revis feels downright disrespected.
Years of glowing praise have suddenly given way to harsh criticism. He’s washed up, some fans and media say. Revis Island is a thing of the past, say others.
The Jets cornerback openly acknowledges he’s no longer the dominant player he was a few years ago, when he routinely shut down opposing wide receivers. But it has been open season on Revis the last two months, with increasing questions about his abilities and work ethic.
“I think people don’t respect me enough, which is fine,” a candid Revis told The Associated Press on Friday. “I don’t know why, though, because the numbers are there. I’ve proven myself year in and year out for a number of years, and they’re not being respectful to that.”
His past, Revis believes, should count for something in the big picture. The NFL, however, is a what-have-you-done-lately business. And, lately, Revis has given up some big plays that once seemed unthinkable.
His perceived lack of effort on a tackle last Sunday at Cleveland became a popular topic. So has his confidence, and whether age — he’s 31 — and injuries have combined to sap Revis of some abilities that made him among the best at his position.
“I’m getting old and I can’t control that,” Revis said. “I’m not 23 or 24 years old anymore. I can still play the game at a high level, yes, but at the same time, if a team is game planning to target you 15-20 times a game, the guy is going to catch the ball a few times. That’s just that. The coach understands that, and inside here, we all know that.”
Others expect the same guy who would make Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne non-factors for entire games.
“I put myself in this whole situation because of how well I played in the past,” Revis said. “I understand that.”
Revis is a proud guy, which has driven him to being one of the best players in Jets history. His resume will put him in Hall of Fame discussions when his career ends.
To see him go from revered to reviled so quickly has got to be a strange and uncomfortable transition.
“Some people may not like me when they have a pen in their hand, so they write what they want,” he said. “That’s fine. I can’t control that. The only thing I can control is to continue to do my job.”
Is Revis considering that he’s nearing the conclusion of a terrific career?
“No,” Revis said flatly. “People think or feel it may be the end, or want it to be the end. Maybe some respect comes in there, too, looking at the body of work. But they feel like maybe it is.
“For me, I’m fine, man. I can’t shut somebody out for one catch for 1 yard, like I did Reggie Wayne (in the 2010 playoffs). Those days are over. That’s the respect they don’t give me, and it’s fine because everybody has their personal opinion.
“But when you compare me to the legends, I’m right up there in the conversation. People are going to want to question everything because of the price tag, and it comes with the territory.”
Revis is making $17 million this season, an easy source of criticism.
“That’s where it goes into that realm of, well, let’s look at the price tag and it’s like, well, why is he making this much and not living up to that price tag?” Revis said. “It’s like, the body of work. Sometimes, it’s a player’s presence on the field where people I don’t think understand or get how impactful it is when they’re out there on that field.”
Revis recalled how Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer looked his way every time he came out of the huddle when the teams played last month.
“I still get respect from my peers and probably coaches that game plan,” he said. “But I’ve got flaws just like everybody else.”
Cleveland’s Terrelle Pryor burned Revis for six catches for 101 yards, all in the first half. Revis went from playing off coverage to more press coverage in the second half, and kept Pryor quiet the rest of the way.
“Did I have a bad game? Yes, I did, and I know that,” Revis said. “At the same time, did we readjust at halftime and change things up? Yeah. Again, I’ve done it to myself. There are stories being written about me or people saying things about, ‘Hey, he’s done,’ or whatever you want to call it, and that’s fine. But still give me my respect for what I’ve done in this league and what I’ve done to pave the way for other guys like Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman and all those guys. That’s all I’m saying. But they don’t even do that.
“They just want to almost erase my past, but you’ve got to look at the whole body of work.”
Revis knows people are watching his every move, particularly when he gives up a big play. They expect to see frustration, but the cornerback refuses to give them that satisfaction.
“I’m burning inside, but I don’t show the fire,” he said. “I don’t need to. Any time you see me get scored on, do I point, even if it’s a blown coverage? I never bash anybody in our secondary, even if it might be somebody else’s fault. I take the heat.”
Revis credits coach Todd Bowles for helping him transition to the next stage of his career, when he has to make adjustments on the fly to make up for the missteps in games that once were as rare as a receiver making a big play against him.
“It’s not going to be a one-catch, 5-yard game,” Revis said. “It’s just not going to be like that. It’s just not happening, and I’m fine with that. I’m not fighting that. People want me to wrestle with that. That’s why they comment and say anything they want, and I can’t wrestle with that. I have to let that be what it was.
“Can I still make plays? Yeah, I can still make plays. But I can’t force plays. Plays will come.
“And, when I make a few plays here and there, people will back off a little bit.”
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