Darrelle Revis stood on the sideline during practice, his helmet off and speculation rising.
The sight of the New York Jets cornerback not on the field Sunday had many fans and media wondering if it was related to his sticky contract situation.
”I knew you were going to bring that up,” Revis told reporters after practice. ”Come on, now. No. It has nothing to do with that. I’m here. If I wasn’t going to be here, I would’ve held out. That’s not the case.”
Revis was held out of team drills with tightness in his right hamstring, with the team taking a cautious approach to the health of their best player.
”I have had a lot of hamstring problems, so this is just something where we’re just trying to take care of it before it even occurs,” the All Pro cornerback said. ”It’s just a little tightness. Loosened it up this morning and was ready to go, but (head trainer) John Mellody was telling the coaches to sit me out. I think that was the deal right there today, for me to sit out and get ready for the next practice.”
Revis felt the tightness during a rain-soaked practice Saturday, but said he felt ”great” during individual drills Sunday. Still, the trainers opted to keep him out of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 team drills.
”If we were playing a game, then I’d be concerned – and he would’ve played,” coach Rex Ryan said. ”He’s had some hamstring issues in previous training camps where he probably fought through some and then pulled them. We don’t want that to happen. It was just a minor thing. He thinks he’ll be out there tomorrow. Anytime you get that situation, wait, hit the brakes and let’s not do something foolish.”
Revis said the team didn’t need to take any tests or an MRI exam on his hamstring.
”No, no,” he said. ”I don’t think it’s that serious.”
The contract-related speculation began because Revis has sat out practice because of unhappiness over his deal in the past. He took himself out of some drills two years ago in minicamp two years ago because he said he had a tight hamstring and was a bit ”lightheaded.” Later that summer, he missed all of training camp during a contentious contract holdout.
He signed a $46 million, four-year deal before the season began, but pulled his left hamstring in the second regular-season game and missed two weeks.
Revis reported for training camp at SUNY Cortland on Thursday, but acknowledged that he was close to holding out while looking for a new deal. He was hoping the Jets would rework his contract after being paid $32.5 million in the first two years, but that didn’t happen. However, Revis’ contract could potentially be revisited by the team in the offseason, or the Jets could risk losing him as a free agent after the 2013 season.
”I’ll be back next practice,” Revis said. ”It’s really nothing. It’s just a little tightness. We’re just trying to make sure we take care of it as best we can.”
NOTES: OT Jeff Otah, acquired from Carolina last week but on the physically unable to perform list with a balky knee, still hasn’t passed his physical – something he needs to do by Tuesday or the deal is canceled. ”It’s getting better,” said Otah, who has spent the last few days of practice working with trainers. ”It’s not 100 percent, but that’s what I’m doing right now. All this work on the field, working with the trainers, they’re getting me ready.” … A day after Ryan said he was disappointed with the progress of Jeremy Kerley, sidelined with a hamstring issue, the second-year wide receiver said he’s up to the challenge. ”If the head coach wants me to step up, I’ll step up,” Kerley told reporters. ”It’s as simple as that.” … FB/TE Josh Baker broke his nose early in practice but was able to get back in – wearing a red no-contact jersey. … Ryan singled out DL Damon Harrison, calling him ”The Wrecking Ball,” and OT Austin Howard as standouts in practice Sunday.