Rex Ryan: Jets OK sans Darrelle Revis
The absent cornerback filmed two commercials for a popular sporting-goods chain, and they've been receiving plenty of air time during his contract holdout. Linebacker Bart Scott called them "pretty entertaining." Tackle Damien Woody agreed, but he added: "Hopefully, we'll get to see the real, live person instead of somebody on TV."
That's not going to happen anytime soon -- at least that's the feeling in the Jets' organization.
One day after owner Woody Johnson said his "gut feeling" is that Revis won't play this season, coach Rex Ryan delivered a not-so-subtle message to his missing defensive star: No-show, no problem.
"Don't feel sorry for us," Ryan told reporters Tuesday, displaying his trademark bravado. "We have everything we need here on defense."
The Jets turned down the latest contract proposal from Revis' agents after a sit-down meeting last Friday, and general manager Mike Tannenbaum said it was "hard to say" when the sides would talk again. In an interview with 1050 ESPN New York on Tuesday, Johnson said the gap between the sides is "insurmountable." Johnson added that the Jets "haven't made that decision" on whether they would consider trading Revis, "but I doubt it."
It is believed one major sticking point is the lack of guaranteed money included in the Jets' offers, something Tannenbaum disagrees with.
"As I said at the start of training camp, our offer to Darrelle Revis conveyed that we are flexible on how the guaranteed money is structured, including the areas of signing bonus, roster bonus and option bonus," Tannenbaum said in a statement Tuesday night. "This situation revolves around a fundamental disagreement in total compensation."
Johnson also told the radio station that he was "rebuffed" by Revis' agents when he asked to be part of that meeting. Agent Neil Schwartz told The Associated Press: "That's a blatant lie. Whoever gave him that information is incorrect. I wanted Mr. Johnson's thoughts on the proposal, so why would I not want him there?" Schwartz added that he would meet with Johnson "any time, any place."
On Day 10 of the Revis holdout, Ryan ratcheted up the rhetoric, claiming that no individual is bigger than the system. Recalling his first season as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator (2005), Ryan noted how they survived without stars Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who missed 10 and six games, respectively. The Ravens still finished fifth in total defense, although the team slumped to 6-10.
Ryan also mentioned last season, when the Jets finished No. 1 in total defense even without nose tackle Kris Jenkins for the final 10 games.
"We have a great collection of individual talent," Ryan said. "These guys will play great as a team. That's what we'll do. Obviously, Revis is a tremendous player. Ray Lewis, a tremendous player. Ed Reed, tremendous player. Kris Jenkins, a tremendous player. But it's about the unit, and we've been selling that from the day we walked on here.
"We can get it done," Ryan continued. "We're not afraid of anybody."
Clearly, the Jets have stepped up the posturing, with Ryan and Johnson talking openly -- almost defiantly -- about the prospect of life without Revis. There's a huge gap in negotiations, and both sides seem entrenched in their positions. Revis, who has three years remaining on his contract, has told friends that he won't play for $1 million -- his 2010 salary.
Inside the locker room, reality is starting to set in, with players reluctantly acknowledging it could be a protracted holdout. Publicly, no one has questioned Revis' motivation. Players say he still has their support. Wide receiver David Clowney made a public appeal to Revis, telling his teammate via Twitter, "Come on back to practice so we can win this Super Bowl. I'll hook you up with half my check."
Clowney is due to make $545,000, which isn't going to cut it. The two sides are tens of millions apart on a long-term deal.
"You hope that one day in a meeting he walks in, but the more time that passes, the more it hits home a little bit," cornerback Dwight Lowery said. "You realize there's a possibility he won't be here."
Said Scott: "Are we a better defense with him? Yes. Are we probably historic with him? Yes. I'm still optimistic that he'll be here."
Scott said he has sent two texts to Revis, expressing his support and commenting on his TV commercials. He was sitting in his dorm room the other night when Revis came on the screen. Talk about surreal.
Fortunately for the Jets, they addressed the cornerback position in the offseason, trading for Antonio Cromartie and drafting Kyle Wilson in the first round. That helps, but it wouldn't be the same without Revis, arguably the best corner in the league.
Ryan has changed his tone over the last 24 hours, going from hopeful to resolute.
"It's part of the business," he said. "For whatever reason, I think the worst I've ever finished on defense is sixth ... We'll find a way to get it done. I can't do much, but I know one thing: We can call a defense. We'll take what we have."
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