- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Darrelle Revis' contract dispute with the New York Jets took a sharp turn toward ugly Monday, when the All-Pro cornerback admitted he removed himself from a minicamp practice as a form of protest.
"Sat out for a little bit just to let them know I can play or I can't play," said Revis, who escalated the one-sided war of words by claiming the Jets' latest contract proposal was an "insult" because it contained no guaranteed money.
Initially, Revis mentioned lightheadedness and a pulled hamstring as the reasons for his decision to take a seat, but it was clear that he wasn't serious. He said he informed secondary coach Dennis Thurman that it was contract related, but that message never got to coach Rex Ryan, who was caught off-guard when asked by reporters about Revis' protest.
"I'll talk to Darrelle," Ryan said. "That's the first I've heard of it."
Pressed, the coach finally admitted, "Yeah, that would disappoint me, sure." But Ryan also said he wouldn't want a player on the practice field if he wasn't 100 percent focused.
Ryan added that the contract issue would not be a distraction for the team. Revis was a full participant in the afternoon practice.
The latest chapter in the Revis soap opera came on a day in which the Jets held an open practice, inviting fans to their facility to watch the first practice in a mandatory minicamp. Toward the end, Revis quietly walked to the sideline and was replaced by Dwight Lowery. It's believed that Revis missed seven plays. It doesn't sound like a lot, but in some ways, it was a louder statement than if he didn't show up at all.
Afterward, Revis stepped up his criticism of the Jets' negotiating tactics, accusing them of breaking promises. He said GM Mike Tannenbaum told him "face to face" the organization wanted to make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. That title belongs to the Oakland Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha, who averages $15.1 million per year.
A team spokesman said Tannenbaum had no comment on Revis' claim, saying the GM doesn't discuss private conversations with players.
Revis isn't the only disgruntled Jet. All-Pro center Nick Mangold, entering the final year of his contract, showed up for minicamp after threatening to skip it, but he's still upset. He wasn't available to the media.
"As of right now, it doesn't look good," said Revis, who has three years, $21 million left on his deal. "To me, it's like an insult. You're sending me [proposals] without guaranteed money in the contract. That's not good."
Tannenbaum has said he'd like to re-sign Revis to a long-term deal as long as it's "within reason." The Jets don't consider Asomugha's deal within reason. It's believed they offered Revis about $10 million per year, which would make him the second-highest paid corner, but one of their proposals included no guarantees, according to sources.
The Jets say they want to do right by Revis, but they're showing no sense of urgency because he's signed through 2012. By doing so, their best defensive player is getting hotter by the day.
"It's about loyalty," Revis said. "You sit here and tell guys you're the best player in the league and you're our No. 1 priority, but you're not showing loyalty in terms of keeping your core guys here. If you want to build a dynasty, you have to be loyal to your players."
Some within the organization were surprised that Revis, regarded as one of the most competitive players on the team, took himself out. It conjured up memories of 2007, when guard Pete Kendall, claiming the organization reneged on its promise to renegotiate his contract, moped through training-camp practices. He was benched and eventually traded to the Washington Redskins.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Kendall and Revis are represented by the same agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod.
People close to Revis believe he's serious about staging a training-camp holdout. Based on a clause in his contract, the money he's due to make in 2011 and 2012 (a total of $20 million) no longer would be guaranteed if he holds out. Officially, it doesn't become guaranteed until after the 2010 season, when his deal voids and the Jets can (make that will) exercise a buyback option.
But the way Revis sees it, he'd also be taking a huge risk if he plays this season at his current $1 million salary. If he suffers a career-threatening injury before the buyback, the Jets could opt against the buyback. That would make him an unrestricted free agent.
Revis was asked if he'd settle for $1 more than Asomugha. He smiled.
"It can be 50 cents more," he said. "Just give me 50 cents more and we'll be OK."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. ESPN.com's Tim Graham contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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