Darrelle Revis is back where he started, and he wants to make good on his vow. That means trying to deliver a Super Bowl title to the New York Jets.
Revis signed a five-year contract worth $70 million, with $39 million fully guaranteed, on Wednesday night — about 24 hours after agreeing to the deal with the Jets.
"It was a no-brainer to come back here, because I know the organization," Revis said during a conference call. "I have a lot of history here. I've just got a lot of ties here. This is where my heart is."
Revis was New York's first-round draft pick in 2007 when then-general manager Mike Tannenbaum traded up to No. 14 to select the former University of Pittsburgh star. At that time, Revis told Tannenbaum he would do "everything in my power" to bring the championship-starved Jets a Lombardi Trophy.
"I still feel that way," Ravis said. "That was probably one of the big reasons to really come back home, because I still have that mindset."
At the very least, Revis now knows what it takes to win a title — something the Jets haven't done since Joe Namath made good on his guarantee in 1969. After six years with the Jets, including a 2012 season that was cut short by a serious knee injury, he was traded to Tampa Bay in 2013 to cap what had been a messy divorce filled with contract disputes. He was released by the Buccaneers after that season, and signed by rival New England — a scenario that sickened Jets fans.
Then, he helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl. Once a Jets fan favorite, he was now the enemy — with a championship ring.
"It's been a whirlwind," Revis said. "That's how things turned out."
The Patriots declined a $20 million option for 2015, making him a free agent. The cornerback would have counted $25 million against the Patriots' salary cap this year, and it was expected New England wouldn't pay that exorbitant amount.
New Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles were aggressive in bringing back one of the franchise's biggest stars in recent years. Revis had established a reputation on the field with the Jets as a shutdown cornerback, routinely holding wide receivers to quiet games — and earning the nickname "Revis Island."
After not signing him last offseason, owner Woody Johnson and the Jets desperately wanted him back. And, they got him with an enormous deal.
The Jets fans who cheered him for six years and booed him the last two were back celebrating his return on social media and sports talk radio.
"I was on both sides of the fence with that experience," Revis said with a laugh. "I've been on both sides and now I'm back in the green and white. ... My experience on both sides of the fence, they've been awesome and they will continue to be awesome when I get to play against them twice a year again."
Revis will make $33 million in the first two years of the deal, and $48 million through the first three, making him one of the highest-paid players ever at his position. Arizona's Patrick Peterson also signed a five-year, $70 million contract extension last season in a deal that included $48 million guaranteed.
"It's been a crazy last two or three years," Revis said. "But at the same time, I grew a lot as a man and as a football player."
Revis joins former Cleveland cornerback Buster Skrine in the Jets' revamped secondary. New York officially announced earlier in the day that they had signed Skrine, who agreed on a four-year deal on Tuesday.
The Jets aren't done yet, either. They have been negotiating with Antonio Cromartie, trying to bring the Pro Bowl cornerback back after a season with the Arizona Cardinals. Revis and Cromartie played three seasons together with the Jets, making for a formidable tandem in then-coach Rex Ryan's defense.
"I'm going to get in contact with him very soon here," Revis said, "and try to convince him to hopefully come back and join our Batman-and-Robin tandem we had a couple of years ago."
Revis alone instantly upgrades the Jets' secondary, a glaring weak spot in Ryan's defense last season after then-GM John Idzik failed to sufficiently upgrade it through free agency, and young cornerbacks Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle suffered season-ending injuries.
"I understand they struggled last year, but this is a new year," Revis said. "It's pretty surreal, but at the same time, it's exciting. All that I've went through, and the history that I have with this organization, it's just great. They accepted me back with open arms. We've been through a lot."
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