FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Revis Island used to live on the turf and outside the hashmarks in stadiums across the country. On Tuesday, though, it made its final appearance right outside the glass doors at 1 Jets Drive: a faux island, with sand and three tall plants that looked like little palm trees — a visual goodbye to the shutdown cornerback who would strand frustrated receivers on the large swaths of field that he would cover with ease.
Darrelle Revis officially ended his NFL career, one marked by dominance, athleticism and the occasional prolonged contract dispute. There were no disputes on this day, though, as he signed a ceremonial one-day contract to end his career as a Jet and was inducted into the team’s Legends Community.
“It was one of the greatest joys to watch you play football,” Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said. “I was one of those able to catch a glimpse of how he prepared during the week. His maniacal film study and the attention to detail. His preparation allowed him to be a step ahead of the offense.
“[We] celebrate the career of not only one of the best players in the history of this franchise but one of the best players to ever play the game.”
After signing his contract, Revis reminisced about his career, his toughest opponent (Randy Moss, he said) and a future that for once isn’t completely planned. Though fans at times had a love/hate relationship with Revis, there was no questioning his dedication. He would pick apart offenses for hours, watching video, and come Sunday, he’d do it in person. Now, with all that free time, he said, there are so many options. One thing is clear, though: He plans to stay around football.
“It’s a love; it’s a passion for me,” he said. Asked if he would coach, he said: “It could be. I have to weigh my options. We’ll see.”
The four-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler played eight of his 11 seasons with the Jets, but won his only Super Bowl with the Patriots. He still laments the two AFC Championship Games he and the Jets lost in 2009 and 2010, and “probably will for a lifetime.”
Despite the bumps in his relationship with the Jets — holding out for better contracts in 2007 and 2010, getting traded in 2013, and the 2016 season in which he said his body was breaking down — on Tuesday, there was nothing but good feeling.
“I put my heart and soul into wearing the green and white,” he said, adding that he wished he’d played his entire career with the Jets. “I’m overwhelmed. I’m excited.”
The Jets drafted Revis 14th overall in 2007 and in 108 games with the Jets, he had 424 tackles, 25 interceptions, three forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries, and three touchdowns on interception returns.
Asked why retire now, Revis seemed to echo his words in 2016. The spirit is willing, but the 33-year-old body is weaker than it was. The Chiefs released him Feb. 8 after he played only six games of a two-year contract. The expiration date on cornerbacks simply is what it is.
“I accomplished a lot in my career, and the assignments that I had to face, it takes a lot of toll on your body week in and week out,” he said. “Every week my focus was not to only be the best in my position but be the best player on the field. That was my motivation.”
Although he had been officially retired all of a few minutes, it appeared that the future Hall of Famer already was keenly aware of what he was leaving behind.
“As I take some time to really assess what I’ve done and what really happened, it’s amazing,” he said. “It’s amazing. You leave a legacy behind that players can follow, they can mimic, they can study . . . The next wave is coming, and during my tenure here, I tried to do the best I could with the opportunity.”