He chose the team whose coach he once called a “jerk.”
The New England Patriots announced Monday the signing of the three-time All-Pro cornerback who used that description of Bill Belichick in a word association game on ESPN in 2012. Revis and the coach called by many a defensive “genius” have discussed that.
“Yeah, me and Bill, we had a conversation about it and it’s in the past,” Revis said during a conference call. “We’re both moving forward and we’re excited about working together and trying to win games.”
He also spoke with Tom Brady, the quarterback he faced twice each regular season with the New York Jets when both were healthy.
“He did reach out this morning,” Revis said. “It was a great conversation, but I can’t speak on the details.”
The Patriots also announced they signed former Carolina wide receiver Brandon LaFell. He started all 16 regular-season games last season and made 49 catches for 627 yards and five touchdowns. The Panthers’ third-round draft choice in 2010 also had four catches for 24 yards in a 23-10 playoff loss to San Francisco.
The 6-foot-2 LaFell adds size to a receiving group led by 5-10 Julian Edelman and 5-11 Danny Amendola.
The Patriots have won the AFC East title in 10 of the past 11 seasons and reached the last three conference championship games. The chance to win again after a 4-12 season with Tampa Bay, more than the prospect of playing twice a year against the Jets - the team Revis spent his first six years with - attracted him.
“That was never the factor,” Revis said. “My thing is all about winning. I want to win. What better organization, the New England Patriots, to be a part of? If you look at their track record, New England has won year in and year out or been to the playoffs, had playoff berths. Right now in my career, I think this is great, to team up with Tom Brady and coach Belichick and the New England Patriots team and help them win games.”
The Patriots announced his signing four days after Revis‘ business manager, John Geiger, tweeted that a contract agreement had been reached. The team did not announce details of the contract, reportedly for one year and $12 million.
Revis was released last Tuesday by the Buccaneers before he was due a $1.5 million signing bonus after his only season with them. He had been traded by the Jets while still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He played just two games in 2012 but all 16 in 2013.
“I was rehabbing my knee but, at the same time, I got to see how New England really operates, how coach Belichick runs the organization,” Revis said. “I was very excited and you can kind of see, even during training camp when we were up here, those guys are very disciplined.”
Toward the end of last season, “I probably felt my best as a football player,” he said.