Buccaneers Seek Solace On Revis Island
By Dave Ford
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field in Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season, which version of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis will they get? That is, of course, if Revis is even able to suit up against the New York Jets, his former team.
Arguably the most hyped acquisition in franchise history behind fellow Jets castoff Keyshawn Johnson, Revis has an awful lot of questions to answer rather than solutions for a Bucs secondary that will be without recently retired corner Ronde Barber. Still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery after tearing the ACL in his left knee just two games into the 2012 season, Revis can now cut and change directions, and by all accounts his rehab remains on schedule. But will the Bucs get the player who led the New York Jets defense to back-to-back AFC title game appearances? Or is there a slower, more calculating and cautious version of the man who has been known for most of his career as one of the best shutdown corners in recent memory?
Unfortunately for the Bucs, just like Revis’ six-year, $96 million contract, there are no guarantees. Having said that, the team that will enter the 2013 season over a decade removed from its first and only Super Bowl title will nonetheless boast one of the league’s most intimidating defenders on its roster – even if he’s potentially only 90 percent of what he used to be.
Although the list of all-time greats in the Tampa Bay secondary is a short one with names like Barber, Brian Kelly, Donnie Abraham and John Lynch, Revis has a great deal to prove not only to his new team, but also to himself. And contrary to his recent claim that he has nothing to prove to the franchise that “gave up” on him after he was carted off the field early last season, those of us who know how the egos of professional athletes work fully understand the seven-year veteran harbors a large chip on his shoulder toward the Jets.
Whether or not Revis will be ready for opening day to show Rex Ryan’s gang just how good of a player they traded away is unknown.