In the NFL, as in life, the younger learn from the older.
Jordan Whitehead, the Jets' new veteran safety, is a great example of that. Everyone knows of his relationship with Darrelle Revis, the Green & White star cornerback who is eligible to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2023 in February. In Whitehead's case, it's not only a case of age but of family — the two are cousins.
"We talk here and there," Whitehead said of his relationship with The Island. "Darrelle's kind of like me. We're quiet guys. When I text him and I need something, he answers me, and vice versa."
Whitehead remembered Revis' best piece of advice: " 'Just win the Super Bowl. If you lose ... it's different.' So that was one thing he said."
He's also said in the past that No. 24 "definitely taught me a lot of different things. ... You can learn from the best right there, he's right in front of me. I take everything from him."
Any Super Bowl and HOF talk, of course, is still well down the road. In training camp, Whitehead has a different, more immediate connection with his safety mate, Lamarcus Joyner.
"Lamarcus is a little bit older than me. I used to watch him all the time playing for the Rams," Whitehead said. "I kind of learned and took some of my game from him. And just being out there with him, he's helping me out a lot, I'm teaching him some things."
As for some cross-training pro sports relationships, Whitehead didn't mention a mentor/mentee association with John Cena, but it wouldn't be surprising. Have you seen Jordan's ripped Twitter pic, the one over which he replies, "Y'all done turned me up"?
"I don't even think about size," he said when asked about his "average" 5-10, 198-pound program size. "I pride myself in the weight room. I feel like I'm one of the strongest safeties in the league, so that's my mindset."
It's not all about Whitehead the Younger looking at his elders all the time. He is, after all, a fifth-year NFL starter, the previous four with Tampa Bay and two seasons ago a starting safety on the Buccaneers' Super Bowl LV-winning team.
"The DB group with the Bucs, we were young, so we had to get that chemistry and jell together. Once we did that, things started to click better."
Something similar is happening in the Jets' secondary.
"Everybody in the room, they're being really good teammates," he said. "I'm coming in new, so I've got guys like Ashtyn [Davis], Elijah [Riley], Will Parks, all those guys helping me out, trying to get me better, too. It's good how we can communicate with one another. Then Lamarcus being back there is a veteran presence. To have two guys who know what they're doing, what the defense is doing, not just our position but every position, it goes a long way.
"We're picking up fast. The guys in the locker room are great guys, everybody is friends. We're in this together."
See the Green & White on the field during Day 2 of Jets Training Camp.