Bucs confident Darrelle Revis will return at elite level

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis stretches his

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis stretches his legs as he runs during a minicamp workout in Tampa, Fla. (June 11, 2013) (Credit: AP)

TAMPA, Fla. - He emerged from his club's two-story headquarters Tuesday sporting a fresh salt-and-pepper buzz cut. These days, smatterings of gray are visible in what's left of Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik's hair.

But the official word is, Darrelle Revis' surgically repaired knee has caused none of it.

Even as the Bucs embarked on a three-day minicamp Tuesday, and even as Revis, the three-time All-Pro cornerback for the Jets, continued doing moderate sprints and agility drills two practice fields from the rest of the team, coaches and executives remained confident in the progress of their $96-million acquisition.

Revis declined to speak after his isolated workout, but he told The Tampa Bay Times last week he's "confident" he'll be ready when the Bucs play the Jets at MetLife Stadium for the Sept. 8 season opener.

On Monday, Dominik said he believes Revis will be ready when training camp begins in late July.

"I'm very confident," Dominik said. "He's doing great . . . He's going to practice, absolutely."

Coach Greg Schiano echoed that sentiment.

"He's progressing well," Schiano said. "I think he and [director of sports medicine] Todd Toriscelli and [strength and conditioning coach] Jay Butler have really locked arms and they're working incredibly hard to get better."

Revis, who tore his left ACL in Week 3 last season against Miami, spent roughly the first 45 minutes of Tuesday's workout bursting and backpedaling between dummies, backpedaling then turning upfield as if in man coverage, then doing a series of 100-yard runs.

After 10 minutes inside One Buc Place, he returned to watch the rest of the team drills.

"I'm cutting," Revis said last week. "[Toriscelli] might tell me to slow down a little bit but I'm going full tilt and I'm cutting because I'm feeling good."

Schiano lauded Revis' work ethic. Second-year defensive back Keith Tandy said the four-time Pro Bowler has been practically omnipresent, talking to the younger players in the cafeteria and soliciting ideas in the meeting room.

"There's no substitute for the player; the player has to be willing to do it," Schiano said. "You talk about putting in overtime, Darrelle's put in overtime. Late afternoons, weekends . . . None of it's required. This guy, his rehab is pretty impressive."

Alas, a gray area remains.

Dominik wouldn't commit when asked if Revis would participate fully on Day One of training camp. "I don't think we're in that mind-set," he told reporters Monday.

And just how many preseason games -- or practices, for that matter -- he'll require to be ready for the season opener remains unclear. For a player who has engaged in no live action in nine months, it's a question that will intensify with the humidity as June segues into July.

"It's just the competitor that he is," second-year safety Ahmad Black said. "If he's not here, he's got a pretty good reason why he's not out here."

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