FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — When the crowd finally walked away, Darrelle Revis revealed his truth.
“My body’s breaking down,” the Jets cornerback told Newsday.
Once a one-man island in Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes, Revis was the player former Jets coaches entrusted to blanket half of the field all by himself. Now he’s realizing that those game-day scars never go away. The pain lingers. The recovery time is longer. The inevitable decline is slow but steady.
He is breaking down.
“Yeah, I am. I mean, not in a bad way. I can still play,” Revis said, smiling. “It’s just, I’m breaking down. I’m 31. How many corners are 31 right now in the league? The league’s getting younger. I know [Vikings cornerback Terence] Newman’s still playing [at 38], which is impressive. But I don’t know how he’s doing it.”
During a 10-minute interview, Revis stopped himself and chuckled. “I sound like I’m retiring,” he said, clearly amused.
No, he isn’t done playing. Not yet. He’s still passionate about football, and there’s still a season to salvage.
“I’m not thinking about retirement at this moment,” said Revis, reiterating his hope that the Jets (2-5) can go on a run starting Sunday in Cleveland. “I’ve just got to continue to take care of my body. Some of the past injuries, they linger. They linger.”
He may not feel like the Revis of old, but he’s playing considerably better. After getting torched in Weeks 1 and 2, he returned from a hamstring strain to limit Cardinals playmaker Larry Fitzgerald to 49 yards. Last week, the Ravens’ Joe Flacco threw for 248 yards against the Jets, but only 48 in the second half.
Eight weeks into the season, Revis said he’s starting to “get my rhythm” again. Despite the nicks and bruises, his body’s “actually feeling good,” all things considered.
He also acknowledged he had a “weight problem” after undergoing wrist surgery in the offseason. How many extra pounds was he carrying?
“A few,” Revis said playfully.
The future Hall of Famer (who is listed at 198 pounds) wouldn’t give specifics, but he insisted that a two- or three-pound difference can significantly impact an older cornerback who relies on precise footwork, quick hands and an ability to change direction suddenly.
His reputation as the game’s No. 1 corner and his “Revis Island” moniker came out of those intense, physical one-on-one matchups each week. Now he’s dealing with the consequences.
“I don’t do that no more,” Revis said. “But I did that for a number of years. When you play Cover Zero on some of the best receivers in the world, it takes a toll on your body. And your coaches have confidence to say we trust that you’re going to shut down this guy that had 200 yards receiving and the week before he had [more]. We trust you with that job. So it’s hard. It’s a lot.”
Each new injury presents a challenge for someone who continues to be confronted by his football mortality. But Revis said he understands why he’s often “critiqued” on the same level as quarterbacks.
“I brought it upon myself,” he said, “by playing the game and the position at such a high level for so long.”