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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- When Darrelle Revis walked out onto the New York Jets' practice field Monday afternoon, the first time he'd been there since the team's June minicamp, it broke tension built up during a five-week holdout and immediately lightened the mood.
Across the practice field, the Jets started to react. A few players started a slow, rhythmic clapping, some chanted "Revis" like in his series of commercials, and a few others bowed down as though it was the second coming of a man some jokingly call Revis Christ.
"Bart Scott was doing the Rudy thing -- 'Ru-dy, Ru-dy' -- they were so glad to see him," said Jets owner Woody Johnson.
But Revis, wearing shorts and a T-shirt and looking relaxed, never lost their support. Antonio Cromartie said he'd been in touch with Revis several times each week that the marquee cornerback held out, although never about the negotiations. Now, the self-described Scottie Pippen said he has his Michael Jordan back, and Cromartie will move back to the right side of the field.
"I play both sides, so I'm just moving back to my side and my island," Cromartie said.
|Antonio Cromartie says he's happy to move back to his side of the field.|
Getting players back in their natural spots will benefit the team, a few players said.
"All the rest of us who have been getting so many valuable reps in training camp, they're back in the position where you kind of expected them to play this season," safety Jim Leonhard said. "It's going to be huge. We're really looking forward to it. We should be able to do a lot of different things in the secondary."
The only player who didn't exactly seem overjoyed was low-key rookie corner Kyle Wilson, who will go from being a starter to a backup in his first year. He has had the benefit of all the first-team reps during training camp, and he smiled when asked whether he planned to relinquish the spot to Revis.
"We'll duke it out before we go to practice tomorrow," Wilson said.
Technically, Ryan could choose not to play Revis after missing all those days, but the corner is too good to put on a shelf if there are no physical issues to keep him from playing. His part of the field was nicknamed Revis Island because wide receivers disappear over there, and opponents scored only eight passing touchdowns against the Jets last season.
Cromartie said that Revis kept working out and that it shouldn't take him long to be football-ready.
"It will probably take one game," Cromartie said. "You have to think they're going to throw the ball, [and Revis] will have to run around a little bit more. He's probably going to play more than 55 to 60 plays, so it's a matter of getting the wind up under you. He probably did a great job of doing conditioning and doing the things that he's supposed to do. He's already in great shape."
Several said that Revis was in the unique position of having leverage in the NFL, given his numbers and that Jets coach Rex Ryan lobbied for Revis to be named the league's defensive player of the year.
Was there anyone who began to begrudge Revis for holding out?
"Nope," defensive lineman Sione Pouha said. "That's why we're a different team."
Revis was the third member of the so-called Core Four to have his deal renegotiated upward before the start of the season. Left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson was the first, followed by center Nick Mangold. Linebacker David Harris is the last but is resigned to collective bargaining agreement restrictions that mean it won't happen until after the season.
Mangold said he knew how good it felt for him to complete his own deal.
"It's gotta be good," Mangold said. "It was nice for me; I imagine it would be nice for him."
Right tackle Damien Woody said he was glad to have Revis back, but more so to end the weeks of drama and speculation surrounding the holdout. Including the holdout clock on the front page of ESPNNewYork.com.
"It just feels good not to see the countdown," Woody said.
Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter.
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