Revis spoke about his NFL career on the ‘I AM Athlete’ podcast
A year in Foxboro brought stormy weather to Revis Island.
Former New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis joined several fellow retired NFL stars on the I AM Athlete podcast this week, including ex-green teammate Brandon Marshall. Despite Revis’ status as one of the most renowned defenders in metropolitan football history, a surprising topic of conversation was his single year in New England.
After a highly publicized divorce from the Jets in 2013, Revis spent a productive season in Tampa Bay. He struggled to fit into Lovie Smith’s defensive setup, a Cover 2 that Revis described as “not my M.O., not my forte.” He signed with the Patriots shortly after Tampa released him during the following offseason.
Revis tallied 47 tackles, 14 pass breakups, and two interceptions during his sole season in New England. It ended with a hoist of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, as the Patriots stole a Super Bowl victory from the Seattle Seahawks in the Big Game’s 49th edition.
But a championship ring wasn’t enough to convince Revis he had a good time. When asked by podcast host and former Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder whether he enjoyed his time with the Patriots, Revis bluntly replied “No, I did not.”
With New England’s long-running dynasty seemingly over after the departure of long-stationed quarterback Tom Brady, debate has surfaced over the strict coaching methods of head coach Bill Belichick. It’s safe to say that Revis was not a fan of Belichick’s rigorous philosophies.
“I’m happy for the grind and the hustle of winning Super Bowl 49,” Revis told Crowder and his co-hosts Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson, and Jared Odrick. “But…waking up every day and walking into the facility and having to deal with the tension, you see why they’ve been to 10 Super Bowls. You see the hustle and the grind of it, but at the end of the day, there are other philosophies to win and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Revis unfavorably compared the locker atmosphere created by Belichick to the one overseen by Rex Ryan in New York. Ryan was remembered as a player’s coach during his time in New York and guided the Jets to their most recent playoff appearances in 2009 and 2010.
“There are two different coaching philosophies … Rex was a little bit looser,” Revis said. “He liked dogs. He wants you to go out there and play hard, right into a wall. That’s fine. But there’s a lot of news going on right now with Bill, in terms of him and Mr. Kraft, and there’s a lot of stuff surfacing right now. At the end of the day, the way that he runs his ship is a little bit different. But I do give him credit for winning so many Super Bowls and having the longevity to do it.”
Revis took another shot at Belichick by claiming that New England’s success in the new century came thanks to Brady’s play rather than the former’s coaching. That argument gained traction after last season when Brady guided his new employers in Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title while the Patriots missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Robert Kraft also drew the ire of Revis, as he wasn’t a fan of the aura of secrecy surrounding the Patriots’ owner.
“If you look at Tom right now, he’s having the best time of his career, because he’s in Tampa, he’s down there having a great time. When you play with the New England Patriots, it’s a lot of pressure every time you walk in the door,” Revis explained. “There’s a lot of tension, there’s a lot of noise going on in the background, where how the team is run, it’s the unknown … you don’t know what Mr. Kraft’s doing, you don’t know what Bill’s doing, you just don’t know.”
New England did retain Revis for the Super Bowl defense, allowing him to rejoin the Jets on a five-year, $70 million deal ($39 million guaranteed). He would spend two more seasons in green before ending his playing career with five games in Kansas City.
Revis’ metropolitan reunion coincided with the arrival of Marshall, who was set to embark on the most prolific receiving season in Jets history (109 receptions, 1,502 yards, 14 touchdowns). Their daily battles in practice were appointment viewing as the Jets worked through a star-crossed season that saw them win 10 games but fall just short of the playoffs.
Marshall recalled a particularly heated battle the two staged during training camp: What the receiver described as good-natured ribbing led to a vengeful Revis smacking him across the helmet on a play shortly after, bringing a whole new brand of heat to the summer proceedings. Revis apologized to Marshall for the incident on the program, noting that, in hindsight, he was grateful to have his aerial talents on board.
While the two claim that it took time to fully resolved their camp feud, they provide hilarity when discussing the immediate aftermath: Marshall reportedly tried to apologize to Revis shortly after he got out of the shower and was clad in only a towel before throwing it at the bewildered defender who quietly asked him to get dressed with a hand gesture.
The two claim that teammates stepped in before any blows could be landed, but the idea of Marshall going into a heavyweight bout completely naked sends Johnson into hysterics.
On a more serious note, Revis also talked about his struggles with mental health brought upon by post-traumatic stress disorder. He believed that, after discussions with health professionals, such struggles stemmed not from his playing days but from his rough upbringing in Aliquippa, PA. The defender hinted that his status as one of the NFL’s most prominent shutdown cornerbacks perhaps prevented him from speaking about the past in an attempt to maintain a “tough” image.
“I think from speaking to my doctors-your doctors can kind of get into therapists, too, because they try to dig deep on trauma as well-childhood trauma, things that you grew up dealing with that still lingers and still hangs with you,” Revis said. “I think we don’t realize that enough, that we do deal with a lot. It’s kind of like, we were built for tough, like you’re not supposed to speak up.
“It’s so much pressure … to go out and run through that tunnel and, you know, you’re playing [(in front of) 85,000 people,” Revis continued. “If you don’t score a touchdown or make an interception, they don’t see the inside, what we’ve got to deal with when we deal with the coaches and things like that. But the pressure of it itself is strenuous, it’s a lot.”
The modern Jets will, ironically, head to New England for their next contest, battling the Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 24 following their bye week (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags