It didn't take Darrelle Revis long to find out he was very much in demand once the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to release him last week.
"It was 26 teams at least," Revis told Patriots reporters on an introductory conference call Monday, shortly after his two-year, $32 million contract with the Patriots became official once he passed his physical. "Everything just happened so fast with my release from Tampa Bay and teams calling. I mean, I was surprised how many teams called and wanted to acquire me."
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The Jets, who drafted Revis in the first round in 2007, were not one of those teams. They did not have serious discussions about signing Revis, whom they traded to Tampa in 2013 in exchange for a first-round pick last year and a fourth-rounder in 2014. The Jets selected Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson with the first-round pick they acquired from Tampa last year.
"It was a long process and it took a number of days and a lot of thinking about where do I want to go or where do I want to be," Revis said. "I felt like New England was the best place for me. It's basically about just winning. I weighed my options, and I just wanted to win and I felt like this was the right place for me, to be a part of the Patriots' organization."
Did getting a chance to play -- and beat -- the Jets twice affect his decision?
"No, that was never the factor," he said. "My thing is all about winning. I want to win. What better organization -- the New England Patriots -- to be a part of that? If you look at their track record, New England has won year in and year out or been to the playoffs, had playoff berths. Right now in my career, I think this is great -- to team up with Tom Brady and coach Belichick and the New England Patriots team and help them win games. That's what I'm here for. I'm here to win games and play hard-nosed football."
Revis once referred to Belichick as a "jerk" during an interview in which he was asked to play word association. But the cornerback said he has no issues with the Patriots' coach.
"Me and Bill, we had a conversation about it and it's in the past," Revis said. "We're both moving forward and we're excited about working together and trying to win games. I think that's the biggest goal here, is to win games."
Revis said his familiarity with the Patriots, mostly from playing against them while with the Jets, weighed heavily in their favor.
"We felt like New England was the best place," said Revis, who consulted with agents Jonathan Feinsod and Neil Schwartz before making the decision. "They're a winning program, they're a winning organization and we wanted to be a part of it. I know the New England Patriots very well from playing against them when I was a Jet, and we just felt like this is the right situation for me. Everything fell into place."
Revis signed a two-year, $32 million deal with the Patriots, although it is expected that he won't see the second year of the contract. He will play for $12 million this season, and next year's $20 million salary is at the Patriots' option. The team is not expected to pay that much for Revis next year, so he will likely be in the same position in 2015 when deciding on a new team.
Revis said he got further insight into the Patriots' program when the Bucs held joint practices with New England during last year's training camp at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
"I was rehabbing my knee, but at the same time I got to see how New England really operates, how coach Belichick runs the organization as a head coach," he said. "I was very excited and you can kind of see, even during training camp when we were up here, those guys are very disciplined in what they do. They're a veteran team. They're a playoff caliber team. They're a very smart team. I did collect those things when I was up here. I really paid attention to those scenarios and really liked them."