BY BARBARA BARKER
NEWSDAY / MCT
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It didn’t happen the way anyone would have scripted it.
In fact, with all the noise that was being made over Geno Smith’s coronation, it was hard to notice that it happened at all.
But it did happen. Darrelle Revis played his first football game in more than 11 months Sunday. And his surgically repaired knee felt fine. So did his ego, as he didn’t really seem to mind the smattering of boos he got from the very same Jets fans who had cheered him for the first six seasons of his career.
“That is really not my concern,” Revis said when asked about the fans’ reaction to him at MetLife Stadium now that he is wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform.
The one time when the crowd really got a chance to weigh in was late in the second quarter when he broke up a short pass intended for Santonio Holmes. Maybe that’s because Revis, who usually is considered the best defensive player on the field, wasn’t a huge factor in Sunday’s game.
The Jets threw at Revis four times and completed one pass, a 13-yarder to Holmes in the first quarter. He deflected two passes and had one tackle in his first game since he tore an ACL in Week 3 last season.
When Revis played with the Jets, he was such a tough cover corner that he earned the nickname “Revis Island” in reference to the fact that teams preferred not to throw in his direction. On Sunday, no man was an island as the Jets seemed willing to test their former teammate.
“It was great,” Revis said when asked if he felt he had been targeted. “Like I said earlier in the week, those guys have a game plan. Those guys, I know most of them really well. To me, it is all competition.”
Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said the coaching staff had worked it out with Revis to play only as much as he thought he could.
“I think that Darrelle played well,” Schiano said. “He got gassed out there. It was a warm day on that field turf when the sun was out. But from all preliminary signals, he came out OK.”
The Buccaneers, of course, are betting that Revis will be much better than OK very soon, which is the biggest reason why they were willing to make him the highest-paid defensive player in the league by handing him a six-year, $96-million contract.
Said Revis: “It was just great for me to be out there and ready to go.”