CORTLAND, N.Y.- The first day of training camp kicked off at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Team assistants were setting up cones and preparing the tackling sleds. Coaches, draped in ceremonial green and white athletic gear, blew their whistles signifying the start and end of each drill. Players were stretching their muscles that have been at rest for the last six weeks. Reporters were exchanging pleasantries while conversing about the team. All seemed right to be right in the football world.
Except for the small fact that the Jets were without star player Darrelle Revis. It’s been well-chronicled that Revis and the Jets have not been on the same page with the terms of a restructured contract. And despite GM Mike Tannenbaum’s attempts to get a deal done before Monday, Revis was absent when the team took the field.
In spite of Revis missing the first day, his presence was still felt. His holdout has been on the forefront of everyone connected to the Jets. It has stolen the spotlight away from the team that, coming into training camp, had nothing but positive publicity. Instead of talking about the newly re-acquired Laveranues Coles or congratulating Kris Jenkins on winning the Jet’s Biggest Loser challenge reporters have their minds pre-occupied with thoughts of the juicy gossip of a superstar hold-out.
One of the defensive captains, S Jim Leonhard, felt the void of Revis. “Obviously, when you don’t have someone on the field with you, you’re going to miss out on the quality of reps and communication. [Revis] is a big leader on this team. We miss him, but no one is worried about Darrelle. When he shows up he’ll be ready.”
Whether it was his defensive teammates or the guys on the other side of the ball, players understand it’s a business, using the pre-prepared answer of “he needs to do what’s best for him”.
Head coach Rex Ryan regularly speaks of Revis as the best defensive player in the N.F.L., while admitting that he is the best defensive player he has ever coached. Keep in mind this is coming from a man who has had players named Ray Lewis and Ed Reed play under him.
Revis, who has three years left on his rookie contract, wants to be compensated as the league’s best defensive player. In not reporting to training camp, he has given up $20 million while still being fined $16,000 for every practice he misses. On the slim salary of $1 million, those missed practices will add up if this hold-out continues.
He is reportedly looking to be paid more than Nnamdi Asomugha, the Oakland Raiders cornerback who inked a three-year, $43.5 million deal last year.
Reportedly, Tannenbaum was shut down by Revis and his agents on three separate deals: one that would’ve made him a “lifetime Jet”, a short-term solution and a face-to-face meeting to discuss details. Tannenbaum said, “It’s hard to say what’s going to happen next.”
“Our goals are still the same no matter what goes on. All we can do is move forward and hope he’s back soon,” said CB Antonio Cromartie whose teammates shared the same textbook answer on topic.
Cromartie may have given the textbook answer on Revis’s situation, but the desire in his eyes became evident when asked if he would be ready to cover the Raven’s Anquan Boldin the first week of the season. His eyes narrowed, squinting from the sweat above his brow and sunlight of the hot Cortland sun, as he cleared his voice, perhaps speaking on behalf of the entire team.
“I’m always ready,” he confirmed.
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