Touching All the Bases

Sunday Mail: There Are No Bad Guys in Departure of Darrelle Revis to Jets


So, now that the impromptu Larry Bird Week is behind us, we’re way overdue in catching up on Darrelle Revis’s one-and-done in Foxboro. Take it away, Arthur:

After seeing how emotional Revis was after the Super Bowl victory, I had little doubt he would re-sign with the Pats. How much of his decision do you think was based on the money versus wanting to go home? Certainly the Pats are due compensation for tampering, do you want to take a stab at what that may be?
— Arthur

Based on what we know about Revis, it was 99.9 percent money and 0.1 percent, “Hey, kinda cool that I get to go back to where it all began. Plus, Jets fans will eat it up.”

And you know what? I have absolutely no problem with that. None.

Knowing what NFL players put themselves through and how short their careers are, taking the offer with the most guaranteed money isn’t greedy. It’s smart. The window to do so is so small.

And remember, Revis has blown out his knee once. He was a pragmatic sort before he saw his career flash before his eyes. Now he’s in full-on mercenary mode. It’s kind of a miracle that his get-paid mission included a layover here at all.

But there are no bad guys in this. Revis came here to win a championship, and it was a beautiful, successful partnership for both sides. He went to the Jets to get paid, and presumably all checks will clear.


The Patriots didn’t offer him the most money, and they have their reasons for making the offer they made — discipline in roster-construction and the salary structure are a major reason why they contend every single year while every other franchise in the AFC East is on its third or fourth rebuild since Brady and Belichick arrived.

I wish he’d stayed here for the obvious reasons. He made the Patriots so much better and I don’t know how you replace someone like that. You can’t, really. It was privilege watching Revis play. But the Patriots will find a way. They seem to have a fairly decent grasp on what they’re doing, you know?

Chad, the Bird piece was phenomenal. My question for you — did you come away from the piece with a different perspective on the Bird-McHale relationship? Would their relationship have survived if it took place in 2015 instead of the 1980s?
— Warrior

Nah, the occasional tension between Bird and McHale wasn’t exactly breaking news. In his great book about the ’91 Celtics “Unfinished Business” — can’t recommend it enough — Jack McCallum gets into the dynamic quite a bit. Basically came down to the fact that outwardly, McHale didn’t take the game as seriously as Bird did. Because of McHale’s talent, that devil-may-care attitude drove Bird nuts at times. Not sure that was an entirely fair perception by Bird — McHale laughed things off, but he was a ferocious competitor who played injured. Just did it in a different way than Bird.


There were a lot of things about Bird that would have drawn headlines today but barely warranted a mention then, starting with the Chelsea’s bar fight. Different time, and thank god it was.

Chad, I think the Sox are going to have a good time playing together. Already seems to be a lot of mutual appreciation with the players, both position and the pitchers. I think that is a really good sign, how about you?
— Ben

It’s encouraging to see camaraderie quickly developing between players who haven’t been teammates before — that happened in a hurry in ’13, and it seems to be happening now. Wade Miley and Rick Porcello are bonding with the other starters. Hanley, Papi, and Panda seem to have a blast together. Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli are at the smack-talking forefront of uniting the rest of the roster. It’s set up to be a fun year — this lineup should be beastly — though someone should preemptively send Cole Hamels an I’M THE ACE t-shirt.

These Celtics really are fun to root for. They don’t have a star player, Isaiah Thomas is close, but not there yet, and the team is contending for the playoffs. Do you think they’re closing to contending than we previously thought? Like if we are able to sign or trade for a big All Star caliber player, surround him with the talent they already have, Thomas, Bradley, Smart, Sullinger (if ever healthy), Crowder, and they’re on their way to building another championship caliber roster.
— Rudy Pemberton


The primary conclusion I’ve drawn from all of this, Rudy, is that Brad Stevens is exactly what we hoped he’d be when Danny Ainge stole him away from Butler. He’s a brilliant coach. If his team has equal talent, his team is going to win. If his team has lesser talent, they still have a damn good chance of winning. I have no idea whether any of these guys will be here when they’re a contender again — I love Smart, but he’d be a very enticing piece in a trade for an established star. But you can see some of them being contributors to an excellent team. Dallas has to miss Jae Crowder’s energy, for instance. He’s a winning player, even if I do wish he’d stop jacking so many threes. At the very least, we know now that this thing is headed the right way — and with the right people in charge.

What happens to Jackie Bradley Jr if he has a solid spring training and then goes down to Pawtucket which I can’t imagine won’t happen but starts hitting there. Is he just trade bait now? They have so many solid outfielders I can’t see him sticking around the big club!
— Michael Harrington

He has to go down to Pawtucket and rake, just as he did two years ago after moving up from Portland. If he does, he’ll force the Red Sox to make a decision on him. That’s all he should expect right now, because let’s face it — he got a greater chance to succeed than most struggling young players would, and he didn’t seize it. I don’t want to see him go — that glove is such a plus-plus-skill that at the least he could be a valuable bench player if he can hit just .260 or so.


So, all set to make my picks in the pool for next week. Not the March Madness pool, but the Which Set of Preliminary Round Games Will Someone Leak/Release The Wells Investigation pool. I have the Friday 2 p.m. set of games. What can I put you down for?
— Jake From State Farm

Geez, wouldn’t be shocked if it happened in the middle of the Selection Show today. But I think you’re on the right path. I say the later games Friday. Gives Goodell plenty of time to escape to his ivory lighthouse on the Maine coast.

Until next week, the mailbox is closed. Exit music, please:

If this isn’t my favorite NBA promo ever, it’s at least the top-seed in the Nostalgia Division. Feel like this needs an update, though, starting with Steph Curry burying a 26-footer after a crossover and pass from Tim Hardaway …

This next one ranked No. 1 in the It’s Faaaannnntastic Division, for the goofy Cedric Maxwell/Kevin McHale scene near the end if nothing else:

And here’s one David Stern presumably tried to have erased from existence in June 1994:

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