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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With 90 players on the New England Patriots' roster, and about 75 taking part in Friday's organized team activity, there were many places to look on the two practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady is always a draw. Running back Stevan Ridley's bright green cleats created a flash of color every time he had the ball in his grasp and surged through the line of scrimmage. Big defensive lineman Vince Wilfork is hard to miss, as is visor-wearing coach Bill Belichick twirling his whistle as he barks out instructions.
|Darrelle Revis drew a big media crowd Friday but tried to deflect all the attention.|
But on this day, something else trumped all.
Is that an island out on the practice field? Yes indeed.
Revis Island has officially relocated to New England, and for those who still can't believe it, the confirmation was there to see on the practice fields. Mostly aligned on the defensive left side, cornerback Darrelle Revis went through his third organized team activity since joining the team in March and said afterward that he still feels like the new kid on the block.
"This is a new adventure for me, and I'm just happy to be a part of the Patriots organization," Revis told a mob of reporters afterward, while taking a ribbing from teammates who were leaving the fields and saw media members frantically scurrying around Revis to put themselves in better position.
"Knowing them from playing them in New York for six years, it's good, man. This is something on my journey, and I'm just happy to be here."
The Patriots are obviously happy to have him, even as they downplay talk about individuals and focus more on the overall team unit -- reflected in the fact that practice jerseys have no numbers or names. Revis, who was easily spotted on the field with his bright yellow shoelaces and a long white towel hanging from the left side of his pants, is falling in line with the program. It's almost as if he's making a conscious attempt to fade into the background.
This, of course, is much different than most of his first seven years in the NFL.
A first-round draft choice with the New York Jets in 2007, he was a star in the country's biggest media market for six seasons. He also created his fair share of back-page tabloid headlines with contract squabbles. Then last year, he was a marquee acquisition in Tampa Bay, touted as a centerpiece of the team's plan under coach Greg Schiano, as evidenced by his cornerback-record $16 million-per-season contract.
"I'm not trying to come in here and step on anyone's toes," Revis said Friday. "You have to take a step back, as guys have been here for many years [like] Devin McCourty. Logan Ryan is a very smart guy. They've been in this system a little bit, and I'm just trying to sit back and get feedback from those guys and go from there."
Maybe that changes over time, and make no mistake, the Patriots also expect him to be a crucial cog and perhaps leader of their defense. In Friday's practice, Revis often lined up across from fellow free-agent acquisition Brandon Browner, giving a glimpse of a revamped cornerback corps that could reshape the defense in some ways.
Curious for Revis' thoughts on that? We are too, but he isn't obliging at this time because he says he simply has too much to learn and can't focus on other players.
That is part of the way the Patriots roll. Revis has picked it up quickly.
Along those same lines, curious for Revis' thoughts on the health of his knee? "My knee is fine; it's great," he said, before quickly moving on to the next topic.
"From inside out, it's totally different," Revis said when asked about differences between the Patriots and his previous stops. "There are things that you didn't expect, how this organization is run from top to bottom. You have to [tip] your hat to Mr. Kraft for how this organization operates. They want to be a winning organization, and I'm happy those guys gave me the opportunity to come in and be a part of it."
So there you have it.
Revis Island has relocated to New England, one of the most exciting acquisitions for the team in recent memory. But Revis and everyone who was asked about it Friday responded as if to say, There's really nothing to see here.
Much the way Revis shuts down top receivers on the field, he's now taking the approach of shutting down any and all of the hype off it. In a new twist, arguably the best cornerback in the NFL says he's just trying to fit in.