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Thursday, January 24, 2013
Darrelle Revis needs a new island

By Ian O'Connor
ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Darrelle Revis loves the market and the thought of being a one-uniform athlete from start to finish, another Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera in New York. That is the shame of this story. Against the grain of common sense, Revis would actually prefer to remain a Jet for life.

But for his own good Revis needs to flee right now, needs to get as far, far away from Woody Johnson as he can possibly get. The Jets are a losing organization on a losing course, a team with a lame owner and a lame quarterback and a lame-duck coach, and Thursday's introduction of John Idzik as general manager did nothing to alter those facts.

Darrelle Revis
Darrelle Revis is better at football than the Jets are. So it's time for him to flee to a more attractive destination while he still can.

The Jets want to ship out the best cornerback in the game and quite possibly the best player they've ever dressed? First thing in the morning Revis should place a call to Idzik's office -- the one the GM couldn't find without Rex Ryan's help Thursday -- and ask him where he signs up for the trade.

Revis is 27 and coming off knee surgery. He knows he doesn't have forever to win a championship ring, not in this blood sport. He also knows that the Jets' streak of 44 consecutive seasons without a Super Bowl appearance is only going to grow, and that Johnson, the billionaire, is too concerned about the bottom line to give Revis a new deal before he plays out the existing one on a $6 million wage.

"This whole thing is about Woody and money," said a league source who has done business with the owner. "Idzik has nothing to do with this. Woody wants to be George Steinbrenner, and he's really more like the Wilpons. But at least the Wilpons stepped up for David Wright."

Johnson isn't stepping up for Darrelle Revis, that much is clear. On the morning after CBSSports.com first reported he's interested in moving Revis, Johnson passed on invitations to declare he wanted the corner on the 2013 roster. So did Ryan and Idzik. They all knew they'd be asked about Revis entering their separate news conferences, and they established a script they refused to stray from.

Johnson wouldn't deny the report when given a chance. Idzik called it "way premature" and "presumptuous" to say anything about Revis' status, as if he were talking about some third-string noseguard.

And ol' reliable Rex? The coach who practically served as Revis' agent during previous contract talks and contentious holdouts, forever driving Mike Tannenbaum mad by describing the corner in otherworldly terms?

Ryan said Idzik needed time to "go over personnel" and watch a little tape. No, the ultimate players' coach wasn't about to cover his player's back when he's trying to save his own butt.

What a joke. Knee injury or no knee injury, Revis is the Jets' best player by a landslide. Under the same set of circumstances in different corners of the market, could you imagine the highest-ranking Giants officials refusing to say they wanted Eli Manning back? Or the highest-ranking Knicks officials refusing to say they wanted Carmelo Anthony back?

"I'm speechless by far," Revis tweeted, "but more importantly I feel more upset for the jet nation for having to go through this!!!...I guess we'll see how this plays out."

Everyone who knows the Jets knows how this will play out. The franchise paid star money to the unworthy likes of Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and David Harris, so now it will ease its salary-cap migraines by refusing to pay star money to, you know, an actual star, a guy who should end up in the Hall of Fame.

Revis is hurt and confused by his employer's stance, but he should see this as a golden opportunity, a way of escaping the Jets. He's much better at the game of football than they are, so he should find himself a credible contender for the balance of his prime.

Revis does have some leverage, too. If the Jets try to trade him to an undesirable location, the corner could advise the acquiring executives that he'll leave as a free agent after next season if they don't scrap the deal.

To date, the Jets haven't asked Revis for a list of teams he'd be willing to play for. The corner should beat them to it, present that list to the Jets on Friday, and hope like hell they don't change their minds and keep him.

Why? The Jets are 6-10 going on 5-11, that's why. Though Idzik deserves a fair-and-square chance to fire Ryan next year and start his own program, he didn't exactly inspire confidence in his vision on introduction.

Idzik spoke of the Jets organization as if he were talking about the Giants, Patriots, Steelers and 49ers, the franchises that truly get it. He called the accurate and unflattering public perceptions of the Jets "misperceptions," and maintained that Tannenbaum's staff -- again, a 6-10 staff -- represented a "real strong group." Idzik claimed Johnson's decision to force Rex on him was "a plus," and actually addressed the toxic cleanup of the place this way:

"I don't look at it as repairing. I look at it as fostering what we have here. ... I don't sense dysfunction or anything like that."

Given that the Jets lead the league in dysfunction, Idzik got off to a slow start here. He said he wants to ensure each personnel move "is a Jets decision" at a time when the fan base craves a leader who takes the franchise by the throat, and who doesn't care about building a consensus among staffers who get it wrong more often than they should.

Revis interrupted his rehab long enough to take it all in, to review the early hours of a remodeled regime that leaned on the same tired buzzwords of the past. He wasn't encouraged, especially when his go-to guy, Rex, declined to veer off the Woody/Idzik message to show his favorite Jet some offseason love.

Asked if he'd lobby against a Revis trade, Ryan would say only, "I'm not going to get into any of those specifics now."

Rex is worried only about saving himself these days, and Revis should follow his lead. Woody Johnson's people, the same people Idzik walked in the door raving about, helped Tannenbaum give the wrong money to the wrong players, and now Revis will pay the price.

"You have to be smart and lucky," Johnson said of the pursuit of NFL success.

The Jets are neither. Time for Revis to vote them off his island.