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Monday, July 29, 2013
Jets temper Dee Milliner hype

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets expect rookie Dee Milliner to be a terrific cornerback. But they don't expect him to be as good as the player he's replacing.

"Dee Milliner is never going to be Darrelle Revis," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday, shortly before Milliner arrived at training camp. "He'll just be Dee Milliner, and I think that will be good enough."

After missing the first three days of practice, Milliner agreed to a four-year, $12.66 million contract late Sunday night. He didn't make it in time to get on the field, but he's expected for the next practice on Wednesday.

Milliner said his surgically repaired shoulder is 100 percent, but he will be limited in practice, according to the Jets. He passed the team physical, but won't take the conditioning test until Tuesday at the earliest.

"I know I'll be ready for contact," Milliner said.

The Jets spent the day trying to downplay the Milliner-Revis comparisons.

"I tell you what: I hope when he plays, there are those comparisons," Ryan said. "I understand where people are coming from, but Darrelle was a special player. We'll see what kind of player Dee is."

The Jets traded Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because they didn't want to meet his demands for a contract extension. They didn't go into the draft expecting to pick a cornerback with the ninth overall choice, but they selected Milliner when he unexpectedly slid.

Even though Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie will assume Revis' role of covering the opponents' No. 1 wide receiver, the perception is that Milliner is replacing Revis, a three-time All-Pro.

"He can't be compared [to Revis]," Cromartie said. "He's got to make sure he doesn't get caught up in trying to be compared to him. He's his own man, Darrelle is his own man. The only thing he has to do is be Dee Milliner."

Every rookie who signs late has to play catch-up, but Milliner's situation is different because he missed the entire offseason program. The Jets say the former Alabama star performed well in the classroom during OTAs and minicamp, but they readily admit they have no idea about his physical condition.

"I'm very much in shape, like I've been playing football the whole time," Milliner said.

This has been the longest layoff of Milliner's career. He rehabbed at the Jets' facility until June before heading to Alabama, where he continued the Jets' rehab regiment at the school.