FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Darrelle Revis doesn’t care about his detractors.
The naysayers can say whatever they want because the Jets cornerback knows the truth. His age won’t alter how he approaches his game, nor will it limit his own expectations.
So no, Revis, who turns 31 on July 14, doesn’t care if you think his best days are behind him. That’s because he doesn’t plan on hanging up his cleats any time soon.
“I’m gonna play, man. Until the wheels fall off, hopefully. We’ll see,” the All-Pro cornerback said on Tuesday when asked how many “elite years” he has left.
He’s now 13 weeks removed from having a ruptured tendon in his wrist surgically repaired. The injury was something he and the Jets chose not to disclose until well after the season ended, and only after Revis was forced to undergo surgery in mid-March. He couldn’t remember the exact moment or play when he suffered the injury, but it’s believed to have occurred early in the 2015 season, most likely around Week 3.
“I do a lot with my hands, especially when you play defensive back,” said Revis. “I can’t really pinpoint whether I fell on the ground or if I was jamming somebody or getting off the block. So I don’t know. I just know that it was painful when it happened and we went from there.”
He refused to use the injury as an excuse or as justification for how he was used last season in Todd Bowles’ defense (i.e., the soft coverage and extra cushion he gave receivers such as the Bills’ Sammy Watkins). “I still tried to continue to just try to play at a high level, for me,” Revis said. “I don’t complain. I’m going to go out there and try to do my job the best I can.”
Instead, he repeatedly noted that he “persevered and fought through” the injury, adding: “If I can run, if I can move around and still play at a high level, I’m going to be out there.”
His struggles against speedsters such as Watkins and the Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins — who caught five passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns, including a 61-yarder, against Revis in their Week 11 matchup — caused many to question whether “Revis Island” would be shut down indefinitely. But the seven-time Pro Bowler isn’t worried about what other people think.
“That’s just people’s opinions. Everybody you talk to has their own opinion, just as me as well,” he said. “So if that’s how people feel, that’s fine. That’s not going to hinder what I do or bother what I do or change what I do.”
Pressed by a reporter who noted that “obviously a 30-year-old player is not the same,” Revis interjected. “No. Not changing nothing,” he said, referring to his technique. “I’m not changing nothing I do.”
The criticisms don’t fuel him, nor do they occupy much of his time.
“I know what type of player I am, so there’s no need for me to put my energy and focus on those types of things,” Revis said. “I’ve been doing this for a while and I’m going to continue to keep on doing it until it’s time for me to leave.”
He’s still on track to return to practice by training camp, though he admitted he still has a “ways to go” this summer before he’s “100 percent.”
But when asked for his assessment of his play last year, Revis deferred to Bowles.
“I think you should ask Coach,” he said. “He felt that I played well last year and everything they asked me to do, I did in his eyes. So that’s a question for Coach.”