Pewter Report Intern
Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis practiced with his new team on the first day of training camp and said he was humbled by his knee injury. Revis is taking his rehab step-by-step, but the goal is to be ready for Week 1 so he can help the Bucs get to the playoffs.
After months of anticipation, Buccaneers fans – and even Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis himself – were anxious to see No. 24 on the football field wearing red and pewter for the first time. On Thursday, everyone got their wish as Tampa Bay's 2013 training camp got under way behind One Buc Place and Revis walked onto the practice field to a loud ovation from the crowd.
“It was great,” Revis said. “I’ve been looking forward to this since I’ve been injured, so it was awesome to be out there with my teammates, with my coaches and just do what I love doing, which is play football.”
No one knew exactly how much Revis, who tore his ACL in Week 3 last year as a member of the New York Jets, would participate. He didn’t have a noticeable limp, nor was he wearing a knee brace. However, head coach Greg Schiano still limited him to less then half the practice, just working on cornerback and special team drills, along with walk-throughs with the entire defense.
“He did drill work, which was the plan,” Schiano said. “I think he did 11 periods, and then he did rehab the rest of the time.”
Schiano has made it very clear that they were going to ease him in slowly up until Week 1 of the regular season against his former team, New York Jets. Schiano and Revis both said it’s a day-to-day process.
“There are milestones for sure,” Schiano said. “Going up against another guy will be a big one. Right now it’s all independent movements. Then you get into a team setting, and then you get into a padded team setting, you get into a live setting. You play him in the preseason – that will probably be the biggest milestone other than opening day. Step-by-step, I don’t know what exactly is going to happen – none of us do. But he looked good today.”
Although Revis is anxious to participate fully and actually play with his new teammates, he understands the process and the goal – to be ready for Week 1.
“If that’s what’s best for me to be healthy on Sept. 8, that’s what it has to be,” Revis said. “It’s all on Coach. We’re all on the same page here. The biggest thing is they might have to hold me back, because I’m competitor, I’m so anxious to get back out there and be with my teammates and play and compete and coach is doing a great job, [head trainer] Todd [Toriscelli] is doing a great job of that, too.”
Revis is much more patient going into his seventh year in the NFL. He understands the risks of rushing the process, and he says maturity plays a big part in that.
“I’m going into my seventh year,” Revis said. “So I’ve matured and it’s a learning process that you have to go through. And now the younger guys on the team are calling me Grandpa. I’m like, wait I’m only in my seventh year. But I had to learn that over the years, being around other veterans, learning to be patient because I love to play the game, I love to compete, but also I have to take a step back and listen to coach and to Todd (Toriscelli), our head trainer.”
One of the toughest things for Revis and the training staff will be to figure out when he will be ready to go 100 percent. That involves a lot of communication between the player, the training staff, and coach Schiano. There needs to be a trust between them.
“It’s really all on the player at the end of the day,” Revis said. “When you have to make a call. And I’m feeling good. Now, even though I’m saying that I’m feeling good, it’s still a type of ease-in type of thing. And I’m fine with that. Like I said, it’s Coach’s call and we’ve talked about it numerous times, and it’s up to him.”
“So much of it will be input from Darrelle,” Schiano said. “This guy knows what he needs to do to get ready to play. And we’ll just communicate; I think communication is more important than anything.”
If Revis and the staff don’t communicate properly, it could lead to him being rushed back and cause a re-injury. Being injured last year in Week 3 against the Dolphins really humbled the Pro Bowler and gave him extra appreciation for the game.
“That did hit home when I was laying on the field,” Revis said. “I didn’t know what it was. I could have blown my whole knee out. At that time I started thinking, it could be gone that fast. Then when I heard Doctor Montgomery talking to our head trainer, he said it’s an ACL. I just started crying because I knew I had a second chance. So it’s humbling and that’s how you have to look at it. It’s humbling to get a second chance and do what it is you love to do.”
Revis and the coaching staff fully expect him to be ready for Week 1, and along with the additions of safety Dashon Goldson and rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks, expectations are high for this Tampa Bay team and its improved defense. Players like linebacker Lavonte David and safety Mark Barron have a year's worth of experience under their belts. Along with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive ends Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn, the defense has the potential to be a real team strength, as opposed to the weakness it was against the pass last year.
“Our expectations are very high,” Revis said. “This is a new beginning for this team. We did great in OTAs. Now we just have to carry it on through training camp and move forward to the season. I think we’re going to contend in our conference and go from there. It’s about winning games, winning our conference and getting to the playoffs.”
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