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Darrelle Revis has extra motivation to be back on the field by Week 1, when his new team takes on the New York Jets, who traded the 27-year-old cornerback to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two draft picks.
"It feels like that team is giving up on you," said Revis, introduced in Tampa one day after taking a physical and completing a six-year, $96 million contract with no guaranteed money.
The Jets received the Bucs' No. 13 pick in the first round and a fourth-round pick in 2014 that could become a third-round selection if Revis is on the roster the third day of the 2014 NFL year. Revis is coming back from a torn ACL, and his ability to return in time for training camp isn't certain. Revis gave no predictions on an exact timetable for taking the field for the first time in the Buccaneers' pewter helmets, but left no doubt he's motivated to get going.
"I think I'm a great player," Revis said Monday. "I feel like I'm a great player in this league."
At $16 million per season, Revis became the highest-paid defensive back in the NFL. The Jets, according to first-year general manager John Idzik, weighed short-term and long-term ramifications of the deal and the financial commitment weighed heavily in the ultimate decision to part with Revis, the 14th overall pick in 2007 and a three-time All-Pro with the Jets.
"Darrelle, as everyone also knows, is in the midst of rehabbing a very significant knee injury, the first significant injury that he has had to deal with," Idzik said via conference call Sunday. "So really until we see him through completion of rehab and playing without inhibition and playing the way we know Darrelle can play, there would always be a degree of uncertainty there. ...
"We feel like even though (the trade) was hard, very hard to do, it was the best for all concerned. Ideally we would have wanted to wait, let things play out a little bit more. We ultimately came to the conclusion that this was the best thing to do for the Jets at this time."
Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik, who once worked with Idzik in the Tampa Bay scouting department before each advanced to higher roles -- Dominik with the Buccaneers and Idzik with the Seahawks -- said there was no hesitation in acquiring Revis and that his injury is not a concern.
The next time he sees his former teammates will likely be in Sept. 8, when Revis returns to MetLife Stadium as a member of the Jets' opponent Week 1.
"It's going to be fun," Revis said. "It's Week 1. You can't go around it. It's Week 1. I'm excited for it. I'm sure our coaches are excited."