By Jason Klein
Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 8/25/10
Over the past 24 days, the Darrelle Revis saga has taken a dramatic shift in the court of public opinion. A stalemate that once saw Jets fans side with the disgruntled cornerback now has most rethinking their allegiance, choosing to favor the organization’s position instead.
It’s a surprising twist considering the Jets recent history regarding popular, and important, players looking for new contracts (see Pete Kendall & Leon Washington). However, Revis’s perceived unwillingness to negotiate or compromise has left Jets fans frustrated with the NFL’s best corner.
They want one thing, and one thing only: a Super Bowl Title. That’s it. It’s been 42 long years without one for Gang Green and the 2010 season represents the organization’s best opportunity to change that. Revis’s self-imposed absence from camp, and his demands to be the highest paid corner in the league, leaves Jets fans questioning his desire to win and labels him as a selfish, “me-first” player.
If a “media blackout” wasn’t in effect, Revis would be telling his side of the story. He’d be preaching about his fear of injury without a guaranteed contract in place, and he’d point to the recently jettisoned Leon Washington as his “Exhibit A.” He’d want everyone to know that the Jets were the ones to first approach him with plans for a re-worked contract, claiming he had out-played his existing deal (a pact he ironically held out to get as a rookie). He’d also mention that his skills are far superior to those of Nnamdi Asomugha, the new salary standard for NFL corners, and the man Raiders’ owner, Al Davis, grossly overpaid to keep.
All valid points.
However, over the last 24 days, fans have not heard a peep out of Revis camp. Instead, they’ve become more enchanted with the players actually in Jets camp, admiring their work ethic and determination on HBO’s Hard Knocks. They’ve also watched two players with similar contract concerns,Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, report to camp, work hard, and earn new deals “the right way.”
In addition, Jets fans have bought into Head Coach, Rex Ryan’s swagger, and truly believe this is a win-now team – with or without Darrelle Revis.
Revis is the best player on the Jets, though he is not bigger than the team. But make no mistake about it, Jets fans: Gang Green is a better team with Number 24 on the field. Period. If this team, and tortured fan-base, have any aspirations of hoisting a Lombardi Trophy in February 2011, they are going to need Revis there to help.
For the time being, Revis Island remains dark. Disillusioned fans have lost interest in his demands and chosen to support a team dedicated to winning rather than their money-hungry defensive star.
A deal will eventually get done, and when it does, Revis Island will, once again, open its gates. The question remains, will Jets fans, once again, open their arms, welcoming back the team’s most dominating player?
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