Darrelle Revis stood still in the darkness as anticipation of his entrance grew to near-deafening heights.
The stadium crowd rose to its feet, anxious to lay eyes on the one image they feared might never materialize: Revis, in uniform, sprinting onto the field at New Meadowlands Stadium. But after a 36-day holdout, which featured contentious back-and-forths between both Revis' agents and the Jets, those fears were finally put to rest.
Jets fans finally got what they wanted - and so did their cornerback. And last night, he stepped onto the field in dramatic fashion.
Just steps away from the tunnel entrance, he stood, nodding his head as the crowd howled for a glimpse of him. Moments later, he came barreling out of the darkness, racing down the aisle to his teammates. Pumped up on adrenaline, he chest-bumped and high-fived his brothers in green.
"I felt real good out there," Revis said. "I told you guys, I've been working out."
But for all his cover-corner ability, Revis' biggest impact in the 10-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens wasn't felt on an interception or a pass defended. It was his block on Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin after an Antonio Cromartie interception that generated the most buzz.
With 5:17 left in the second quarter, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco threw a deep pass down the left side in the direction of Boldin. But Cromartie made a dazzling play, cutting in front of the Ravens receiver on the Jets' 3-yard line. Ball tightly in hand, Cromartie scrambled up the right sideline before darting across the 30-yard line, until one purple jersey remained on his heels.
Revis, however, took care of Boldin - the solitary tackler who posed a threat to the Jets' momentum-stealer - by delivering a devastating blow with his upper body. That set up the Jets with first-and-10 on the Ravens' 31, but their revelry was short-lived, as running back Shonn Greene fumbled the ball two plays later.
Aside from that, Revis, who signed a four-year, $46-million contract last week, saw little action last night. Coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine chose to use rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson most often on Boldin, the Ravens' best weapon, instead of Revis, who predominantly patrolled one side of the field during the first half.
Boldin torched Wilson and the rest of the Jets' secondary for 110 yards on seven receptions. Receiver Todd Heap also caught six passes for 72 yards.
"This week, we didn't want to put too much on my plate," said Revis, who was called for a defensive holding penalty just five minutes into the game.
". . . Not being at training camp, I figured they would come after me. They tried to a couple times, but nothing happened."