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Revis returns to Jets after agreeing to deal

- Associated Press - Monday, September 6, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - With loud, welcoming cheers and some good-natured ribbing from his teammates, Darrelle Revis returned to the New York Jets.

Finally.

After months of waiting and wondering about his future, the All-Pro cornerback strolled onto the practice field Monday for the first time since June and ended his long contract holdout with a four-year deal.

"It was kind of funny," safety James Ihedigbo said. "A bunch of guys started the Rudy clap, that nice slow clap, as he came out. We welcomed him with open arms."

Revis agreed to a four-year deal late Sunday night and took an early morning flight Monday from his home in South Florida. He arrived at the Jets' training facility after 1 p.m., and rejoined his teammates.

"This has been a long saga," owner Woody Johnson said.

"There was an energy in our building, in this team, when we knew that Darrelle was coming back," coach Rex Ryan said.

Revis didn't practice, but was there in time to address the team and break down the practice huddle, with NFL Films cameras capturing the moment for HBO's "Hard Knocks" series. Some Jets players shouted, "Revis Christ!" at him, while others poked fun at Revis' bushy beard.

"It was just good to see him," defensive tackle Kris Jenkins said. "He is a big part of this team and as much as some of us like to stick our shoulders up and our chests out about how good we are, this is a 53-man game and you need everybody. Having him back really puts the icing on the cake."

Revis was expected to officially sign his deal _ reportedly worth $46 million, including $32 million guaranteed _ later Monday.

"He's a tremendous player who allows us to do a lot of things, allows us to open up our playbook a little bit," linebacker Bart Scott said.

He'll likely practice Tuesday and be ready to play in the season opener next Monday night against Baltimore.

"I do think we may play Revis, I'm not sure," Ryan quipped. "I think he might need to practice for several weeks before we play him, but don't be shocked if he's out there. In other words, he's definitely playing."

Revis, nicknamed "Revis Island" for his ability to routinely shut down opposing receivers, held out for 36 days. Both Johnson and Ryan flew to South Florida on Saturday to meet with Revis, mother Diana Gilbert and uncle and former NFL player Sean Gilbert to try to solve the contract impasse.

That's when things took a turn toward optimism after appearing so bleak just hours before.

"I had a better feeling than when I went in," Johnson said of the three-hour meeting. "(But), it wasn't complete confidence."

Both the Jets and Revis' agents spoke all weekend until reaching what general manager Mike Tannenbaum called "a breakthrough" before coming to an agreement around 11 p.m. Sunday night.

"I think the thing was, the season is upon us," Johnson said. "It was basically, let's see if we can leave this room with something."

During the discussion with Revis, Johnson brought up the cornerback's Hall of Fame potential.

"We talked about how important it is to keep on the right track," Johnson said. "If he continues his progress, I think Hall of Fame and Darrelle Revis don't sound like they're a strange pair."

Revis began his holdout Aug. 1, when the team reported for training camp in Cortland without him. Tannenbaum said the nearly $600,000 in fines Revis accrued for sitting out would be handled internally.

He was scheduled to make $1 million in the fourth year of his six-year rookie deal, but wanted to become the league's highest-paid cornerback. While he didn't get that this time around, he's getting the guaranteed money he sought during negotiations over the last several months.

"It not has only been hard on u guys, but it has for me too," Revis said on his Twitter page early Monday morning. "I just want to tell yall that I'm sorry for this process and I can't wait to get back on the field."

Since early August, the team and Revis' agents agreed to keep all negotiations confidential after things got testy through the media. With the silence came the fear that Revis could sit out the entire season, as his uncle once did.

"I didn't think it was going to get done," Scott said. "I was preparing myself to go into the game without him. Thankfully, we got it figured out and I think we're a better team because of it."

Added Ryan: "I only lost faith in everybody about three or four times."

Ryan said he heard Revis was at his New Jersey home a week or so ago, and drove there to try to meet with his star player. But, Revis wasn't home.

He also acknowledged storming out of a meeting room Sunday night in frustration while negotiations with Revis' agents were being done over the phone.

"I was ripping everybody on both sides," he said. "After I threw my little tantrum and the deal was getting done, they brought me back up."

Revis' holdout has been a major story line on "Hard Knocks" without him ever appearing in an episode. He'll certainly be a major focus in Wednesday night's series finale.

"We didn't look down on him in any way and weren't upset with anything he was doing," Ihedigbo said. "We understand that this is a business. We're just happy he's back with us."

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