FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Woody Johnson will have to choose his words more carefully from now on.
The Jets were fined $100,000 by the NFL for the December comments made by the team's owner about Darrelle Revis, according to a league source, who added the team will not have to forgo any draft picks.
At the time, Revis was a member of the New England Patriots, but it didn't stop Johnson from expressing his desire to reunite with Revis.
"I'd love Darrelle to come back," Johnson told reporters on Dec. 29, the same day he fired coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik.
A month after Revis helped the Patriots defeat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, he signed a five-year, $70-million deal to rejoin the Jets.
Johnson & Co. later filed tampering charges against New England after owner Robert Kraft told reporters he would have loved to have Revis back, but the NFL did not discipline the Patriots, the source said.
Revis had no comment Tuesday about the tampering saga, but he made it clear that he hasn't lost a step since he last played for the Jets. In fact, the 29-year-old cornerback believes, "I'm better than I was before . . . early in my career.
"I think I'm way more intelligent at the game, at the position," Revis said. "And I had a greater learning experience last year with [Patriots coach] Bill [Belichick]. He helped me in a lot of ways [in terms] of seeing the game a different way. But I think at the same time, I think just the growth -- me growing as a player and growing as a man has helped me tremendously.
"And I think now, I'm a different type of player, a better player than I was when I was younger."
Revis said he wanted to return to the Jets in 2014 when he first hit free agency following his one-year stint in Tampa Bay. "I was knocking on the door when I went into free agency after I left Tampa," he said, laughing. "And I got denied. It's cool. There's no hatred or anything like that. It's business. They felt that I wasn't the guy to be here, that's fine."
But new Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles were determined to re-sign Revis at any cost -- even $39 million fully guaranteed.
Revis admitted he "never thought" he'd ever return to the Jets, but added: "This is where I'm most comfortable. This is home for me."
And now that he's back, he believes the Jets' revamped unit could be better than the team's defenses that were ranked top 3 overall in 2009 and '10 and led them to back-to-back AFC Championship Games.
"We're very strong in the secondary, we're very strong at linebacker and definitely very strong at the D-linemen position," Revis said. "The sky's the limit. It's for us to control and dictate what we want to do as a defense. And we can be even better. We can be better than those teams. I'm not taking nothing away from those teams a couple years ago, but right now it's for us to build a foundation -- not as a defense, but as a team.
"It starts now."