FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — There is no telling how many more times Tom Brady (old for a quarterback at 38) and Darrelle Revis (old for a cornerback at 30) will encounter one another with both playing at a high level.
But here they are again, at least for one more Sunday, ready for a showdown that could shape the Jets’ must-have-it rematch with the Patriots, who beat them, 30-23, on Oct. 25 at Gillette Stadium.
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Adding to the drama: The fact that Revis played for the Patriots during their Super Bowl-winning season in 2014, and that some observers perceived tension in the air during their brief handshake after that mid-autumn game.
Let’s start with that last part, an on-field encounter that seemed a tad less than warm for former teammates. Might it have had something to do with Revis candidly answering some offseason questions about DeflateGate upon rejoining the Jets?
Revis laughed when asked after Thursday’s practice about his relationship with Brady, saying, “Tom’s a great player. He is.”
The more reporters pressed him on that — and the handshake — the less cheerful he became.
“It was a handshake,” he said. “It’s a handshake; it’s a handshake.” But might it also have been something of a cold shoulder? “I think a cold shoulder is when you don’t give a handshake,’’ Revis said. “He gave me a handshake.”
Meanwhile, in New England, when Brady was asked Thursday if his relationship with Revis has changed since last year, he said “no” and went on to praise his playing ability.
That, of course, is what really will matter Sunday, more so than a potentially overblown theory about the players not being on cozy terms.
In that regard, the Jets hope Revis’ knowledge of the Patriots from a season spent interacting with them on and off the field might be a plus.
“I know those guys pretty well from being there last year; I have a lot of relationships up there still,” Revis said. “You take what you can and I took what I could from last year and you just add that on to studying film as well, see what those guys are trying to accomplish this year as a team. I mean, it definitely helps.”
But Jets coach Todd Bowles cautioned that there are two sides to that coin.
“I think the same advantage he has, they have,” Bowles said. “They know him as well, he knows them as well, so that will be a cat-and-mouse game within itself.”
Revis agreed, but he said that after all these years, there aren’t many secrets on either side.
“When you play against a player for so long or you’re in the same conference playing against a quarterback, there are tendencies you can pick up, and vice versa,” he said. “I mean, that’s just how it goes when you’re familiar with somebody that much.
“Sometimes you may want to watch past film and you definitely have to look at the current film of this year. There’s new guys that they have this year and that they plug in all the time.”
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said merely practicing against Revis last season improved the team’s receivers.
“He’s obviously a great player,” Gronkowski said. “He brings a lot of talent onto the field, and going versus him just makes you a better player. We just have to prepare for him and know where he is at all times on the field.”
Notes & quotes: Gronkowski missed practice Wednesday to attend the funeral of a close friend, Dana Parenteau, who died last Friday at age 42. Gronkowski returned Thursday. “It’s always tough going through a time like this, but I definitely paid my respects, my family and everything, but now it’s a new day,” he said. “I just have to concentrate and be ready for my teammates and get ready for practice today and just catch up on what I missed yesterday and just make sure I stay a little bit extra today and make sure everything is ready for Sunday.” . . . Revis on the kerfuffle surrounding Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Panthers cornerback Josh Norman last Sunday: “The matter has been taken care of. Everybody saw it. It’s no different than the Deion Sanders-Andre Rison fight [in 1994], the Andre Johnson-Cortland Finnegan fight [in 2010]. It’s very similar to it. Emotions are a part of the game.” . . . Jets cornerback Dee Milliner (hamstring) did not practice Thursday. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (neck), linebacker David Harris (back), cornerback Dexter McDougle (ankle) and linebacker Calvin Pace (abdomen) practiced on a limited basis. Bowles said Harris was doing “a lot better” than he was Wednesday.