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Question of the Day
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The NFL's top shutdown cornerback likely will be shut down for the season.
Darrelle Revis has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee that will require surgery, a huge blow for the Jets that leaves coach Rex Ryan without his best defensive player.
A somber Ryan stopped short of ruling Revis out for the season Monday, saying he just learned of the MRI results. But Revis will have to wait two or three weeks before surgery, Ryan said, and the recovery from an ACL tear is usually six to nine months. So the chances of Revis returning this season appear extremely slim.
Ryan added that he will speak with Revis first before the team decides whether he will be placed on injured reserve.
"It's just disappointing," Ryan said. "This guy wants to win. As great a player as he is individually, he's a great teammate and just wants to win. That's why he was so excited about this year."
The 27-year-old Revis was injured in the third quarter of the Jets' 23-20 overtime victory at Miami on Sunday, falling awkwardly and grabbing his knee even before he hit the grass. It was a noncontact injury, and he covered his face with gloved hands in obvious pain. He was able to walk off the field, but was taken into the locker room on a golf cart.
Ryan suspected the injury was serious when talking to Revis on the plane ride home. MRI results the next day confirmed the team's worst fears.
"It's something we have to overcome as a football team. ... We're going to lose that presence. I don't know what else to say about it," Ryan said. "I guess that's the horrible thing that came out of the game."
This was Revis' first game after missing a week with a concussion from the season opener against Buffalo. He had missed only three games before this season, all in 2010.
"I know the way Darrelle is that this is a guy who's as competitive as it gets, and I don't think there's any doubt that he's going to come back strong from it," Ryan said.
The Jets will now be without perhaps the league's top cornerback on a defense Ryan had considered his best since coming to New York. Kyle Wilson, the team's first-round draft pick in 2010, will now step into Revis' starting role opposite Antonio Cromartie.
While Wilson has not lived up to expectations and the drop-off from Revis is great, the Jets still have two first-rounders starting at the position.
"Most teams have just one No. 1 corner and some teams don't even have any," Ryan said. "We're fortunate that we have the best in the league in Darrelle and a No. 1 corner in Cromartie. We're fortunate there. We drafted Kyle Wilson to basically be a No. 2 corner, and that's what he's going to play, that role, and I'm confident in Kyle."
Ryan insists he is not panicking.
"It never happens," he said. "We have enough to get it done here. ... We'll find a way to get this done."
Ryan also did not rule out looking to sign a free agent. The Jets released defensive lineman Marcus Dixon on Monday, and Ryan said the move was made in part so the team could pursue other players. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill has a hamstring injury that could sideline him a week, so the Jets might need help at that position, too.
Seven of the Jets' current players have had ACL operations during their careers. Among them is Cromartie, who missed his final year at Florida State with a similar injury before being a first-round pick of San Diego in 2006.
The Jets, despite their mistake-filled win at Miami, are in first place in the AFC East at 2-1, holding the tiebreaker over Buffalo. But tough home games against San Francisco and Houston coming up.
"This is a team game, and as a team, we've got to step it up," Ryan said. "I think we'll respond. We certainly have to accept the challenge, and we're going to come out and compete. We might do it a little differently, but we're certainly going to give it our best shot, without question.
"Is it a major blow when you lose a great player like Darrelle Revis? Of course, it absolutely is. But this is a football team, and I think we showed that yesterday, too."
While having a talent like Revis in the secondary allowed Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to be more creative with defenses, the Jets have no plans to be less aggressive now.
"The most aggressive defense in the history of the National Football League was the Bears back when my Dad was there," Ryan said. "He played with three college safeties and a college receiver from Yale. That was how his back end was made up."
The injury further clouds the contract status of Revis, who reported for training camp in July despite saying he was unsure if he would because he was hoping the Jets would rework the $46 million, four-year deal he signed in 2010. He is set to earn $13.5 million during the next two years after the deal — reached after a 36-day holdout in 2010 — was front-loaded with $32.5 million in the first two years.
But after not getting a new deal this offseason, many thought Revis and the team would re-visit the matter after this season. If he doesn't have a new contract by training camp next summer, he could become a free agent after the 2013 season.
"Yeah, I want to be a Jet for life," Revis said in July. "If management don't see fit (to) that, then I have to move on."
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