FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets will be the first NFL team to get a look at a once-terrifying creature that devoured receivers.
Darrelle Revis, one of the best shutdown corners in league history, got the nickname Revis Island when he played for the Jets from 2007-12.
He was so dominant, the Jets were content to leave him on an island with no help, confident he could cover any wide receiver one-on-one.
“That’s the type of guy that I see as Revis," said the Jets' Morris Claiborne, now the team’s top corner. “One of the guys that can control the whole side of the football field by himself. His name just speaks for itself."
After his second stint with the team in 2015 and ’16, the Jets released the four-time All-Pro in February. He was out of football until the Kansas City Chiefs signed him to a two-year deal on Nov. 22.
Revis, 32, will make his 2017 debut on Sunday when the Jets host the Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Jets coach Todd Bowles, a former defensive back himself, said he thought Revis still had a lot of football in him. Revis still is spoken about with reverence in the locker room.
“He didn’t have the speed like Deion [Sanders]," said Jets defensive back Robert Nelson. “He had to be that much better and that much smarter. When I see him, and what I hear from a lot of guys around here when I ask them ‘How was Revis?’ they say probably one of the smartest DBs they’ve ever been around."
Nelson figures to get plenty of playing time Sunday because backup corner Juston Burris has been ruled out with a concussion.
The Chiefs lost safety Eric Berry (Achilles) for the season, and defensive back Eric Murray (ankle) has not practiced this week. Revis said the fact that he’s making his return against the team for which he played eight of his 10 seasons was merely coincidence.
“I don’t think it’s any extra motivation,” Revis told reporters earlier this week.
Nelson said he was such a fan of Revis growing up, he made his Instagram handle Nelson_Isle.
”I've seen Revis in a Buccaneers uniform, a Patriots uniform," defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson told reporters earlier this week. "So it'll just be another game with Revis lining up on the other side.”
Revis was able to maneuver a trade to the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2013, signing a six-year deal worth $96 million. He played one season before getting released and signed a $14 million deal for one season with the rival Patriots.
When he returned to the Jets in 2015, his skills were starting to decline. By last season, opposing quarterbacks found Revis Island to be a lush land of opportunity.
Quarterbacks had a rating of 91.7 against him last year, compared with the 59.3 rating that Revis held them to earlier in his career. The Jets released him, although Bowles said he thought Revis could still play.
“I wasn’t surprised at all," Claiborne said. “The type of guy that I see him as, he don’t catch me as that guy that’s going to lay it down right now and just be like, ‘After all this time, I’m just going to retire.’
“I know the time he’s had, that he’s been off, in my head he’s been working and preparing himself and getting ready for this moment right here."