The Island has resurfaced. And Darrelle Revis wants the followers of the Green & White to know one thing:
"Jets fans, I'm back home. I love you guys."
Revis, wearing modest business attire — gray patterned jacket, white shirt, thin black tie, black pants and dress shoes — was beaming as he met with newyorkjets.com to talk about officially signing his contract tonight and returning to the Jets, the team made him their first-round draft choice almost eight years ago, separated for two years, and this week brought him back as an unrestricted free agency signing after the Patriots declined to pick up a reported hefty option on his contract.
"I'm just very excited. I feel this is my home. That's always been on my mind since I was drafted in '07," Revis told senior reporter Eric Allen. "This organization embraced me, gave me a chance and an opportunity to live out my dreams and fulfill my dreams. So my heart has always been here."
Darrelle Revis Arrives at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center Before Signing with the Green & White
Revis, who left in a 2013 predraft trade for Tampa Bay, then last year helped New England win a Super Bowl, now gets to contribute his talents once again to the Jets, now under the direction of new head coach Todd Bowles — a former defensive back himself — and featuring a dynamic front seven and a secondary in refurbishing mode.
"Yeah, we can make a lot of noise the next couple of years," Revis said with a chuckle as he contemplated joining former front-seven teammates such as Muhammad Wilkerson, David Harris and Calvin Pace plus players who arrived after he left such as Sheldon Richardson and Demario Davis.
"And I'm real excited to be a part of Coach Bowles' defensive scheme. I watched [Antonio Cromartie] when he played with him in Arizona, just doing my research and keeping up with the guys I played with. I think I can be a piece to the puzzle."
Darrelle Revis was surely that for his first six seasons as his legend grew on the Jets' left corner. In 2008, Eric Mangini's final year as head coach, he grabbed five interceptions, had his first interception-return touchdown, and made his first of four straight Pro Bowls.
The next year, in head coach Rex Ryan's perfect fit of a defense, he manned up on the opponent's No. 1 WR, posted six picks and another TD, and registered 31 pass defenses — unofficially the most by an NFL player in the 21 years the statistic has been kept regularly on a league-wide basis.
In 2010 Revis' INTs tumbled to zero and his PDs to 10 primarily because after the previous year, opposing offenses thought better of even trying to throw Darrelle's way. The Island was in full bloom.
The next year came four more picks and one celebrated 100-yard INT-return TD in prime time. That return is all the more significant today because the goal line interception came after physical give-and-take on the route between Revis and Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall — the same WR who just joined the Jets officially on Tuesday in a trade with the Bears. We're pretty sure those two will reminisce briefly and smile about that play when they next meet.
Then the painful 2012 season arrived. The physical pain: a concussion kept Revis out of Game 2 vs. Pittsburgh, then a torn ACL in the second half at Miami in Game 3 that ended his Jets season, and seemingly his Green & White career when, a half-year later, a contract impasse led to the pain of the trade to the Buccaneers before the '13 draft.
In his two years away, Darrelle Revis added four more INTs as offenses continued to throw away from him, his fifth and sixth Pro Bowl berths, his fourth All-Pro honors, and that Lombardi Trophy he helped the Pats win on Feb. 1 over the Seahawks.
But he clearly never lost his love of the Jets and our fans. He said he held on to a lot of photos after his departure from the Green & White, and one of those spoke to him as the perfect image to attach to his message on this tweet posted around 9:20 p.m. ET Tuesday night: