The poet John Donne was wrong.
There is one man who is an island.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets has earned the nickname "Revis Island" because of his man-to-man coverage skills.
It is a talent that enabled him to miss most of training camp, yet not miss a beat when the 2010 season opened.
And despite playing most of the season with a strained hamstring that made him wince with every back-step, he held the respect of opponents, who voted him into Sunday’s Pro Bowl. Revis earned his third consecutive invitation despite not making an interception during the 2010 season.
"Hard work pays off," Revis said following yesterday’s AFC practice at Kapolei High School. "I still have to keep working hard to stay on top, and stay where I’m at. Don’t get complacent. Don’t get lazy. Just keep working."
He said he maintained that approach even during his holdout this past summer. Revis was entering the fourth season of a six-year contract in which he was set to earn $1 million in base pay. He was a noticeable absentee as the HBO series "Hard Knocks" documented the Jets’ training camp.
"No regrets," Revis said. "Everybody has different situations. My situation was getting a new contract and negotiating. … I had to do what was best for me, and the organization had to do what was best for them. When negotiations were going on, we came in the middle, and agreed on something that was fair."
Revis signed a new four-year contract that reportedly guarantees $32 million. The timing was strategic, especially with the impending expiration of the NFL’s collective-bargaining agreement with the players union.
During the second week of the season, Revis suffered the strained hamstring. He missed two games, then aggravated the injury upon his return. But he bit his mouthpiece and kept playing.
"Just being tough," Revis said. "I was doing everything I could to try to get back to where I needed to be. Most part of it was just being tough, and fighting through the pain, and just trying to help my team win."
The Jets did that, qualifying for the postseason as a wild-card team, then upsetting Indianapolis in the first round of the playoffs. Revis held the Colts’ Reggie Wayne to one catch, on the only pass in his direction that game.
The following week, the Jets beat the Patriots. But they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC title game. It was a difficult loss for Revis, who was raised in the Steel City and attended the University of Pittsburgh.
"We’re just moving on," Revis said. "We’re learning from that experience, and we’re just moving on. … If we get back in that situation again, we have to get a win. I think that’s the biggest thing, just winning. We felt this was the year for us. A lot of guys stepped up. There was a lot of improvement for the organization. … We’re very disappointed, but we know we’re going to get (to the Super Bowl). We just have to keep working hard."
Revis praised Jets head coach Rex Ryan, whose bold talk often sparked controversy.
"He’s great, man," Revis said. "I think he’s the best coach in the league. Everybody wants to play for him because of how much fun he is and how he makes football fun."
Noting there are a few free agents at the Pro Bowl, Revis smiled, then mused he would serve as Dwyane Wade.
"I’m doing a little recruiting around here," he said, laughing. "Rex put me up to it."