There's no place like home. Even for Darrelle Revis, apparently.
Despite years of contract-related drama with the Jets and a contentious, highly publicized holdout, a league source said the cornerback still would "love" to play again for Rex Ryan and Gang Green.
Less than a year after the Jets traded the three-time All-Pro to Tampa Bay for a first-round draft pick and a conditional 2014 choice, the Bucs are expected to trade or release Revis -- a move that potentially could set the stage for a reunion with the Jets.
If he is released, Revis, 28, would become an unrestricted free agent and could sign with a team of his choosing.
They always say it's hard to forget your first, and the love affair between Revis and Ryan is undeniable. Revis, a first-round pick in 2007, always said he wanted to be a Jet for life. Ryan often raved about Revis, calling him the best defensive player in the NFL.
The question is: Does owner Woody Johnson share similar feelings?
Although the Jets have no intentions of paying Revis $16 million -- his yearly salary under his current contract -- they desperately need a No. 1 cornerback following the release of Antonio Cromartie and the cornerback market is shrinking. Vontae Davis re-signed with the Colts Tuesday and Alterraun Verner agreed to a deal with the Bucs. Captain Munnerlyn remains on the Jets' radar.
Revis was the NFL's top-rated cornerback last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com, and made the Pro Bowl in his first year back from ACL surgery.
The Bucs' supplementary pick would become a third-rounder if Revis is on Tampa Bay's roster tomorrow. If he's traded or released before then, the Jets would get a fourth-round pick.
Contract negotiations were a major sticking point during Revis' six years as a Jet, beginning in his rookie season (2007). He also staged a 36-day holdout in 2010 before signing a front-loaded, $46-million deal for four years.
But it became clear during the 2012 season, when Revis tore his ACL, that Johnson had no intentions of making him a Jet for life. Instead, just days before the 2013 draft, GM John Idzik traded Revis to the Bucs. and the Jets selected corner Dee Milliner ninth overall and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson 13th, using the pick acquired in the Revis deal.
But Revis apparently has no hard feelings toward the Jets. "It was only business. Never personal,'' the league source said.
However, Revis was singing a different tune last April. After his introductory news conference as a Buc, Revis accused the Jets of not being forthcoming about his future. He also said the team didn't engage in serious discussions with his agents about a new, long-term contract.
"You just want the truth out of the situation,'' Revis said April 22. " . . . I just don't get that part of it, not telling me what you're going to do with me when I come to ask questions.''
Asked specifically about his discussions with Johnson, Revis added: "No, Woody doesn't want to talk to me. He stayed as far away as he could.''