- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- He broke up two passes, made a one-handed interception and came close to another. It left some players shaking their heads, wondering how Darrelle Revis could be so good, so fast.
If the New York Jets' All-Pro cornerback felt rusty Tuesday in his first practice since ending his 36-day holdout, he hid it well. Revis Island appeared intact, but he still expects the Baltimore Ravens to "attack" him because of the long layoff.
Rex Ryan's response: Go ahead, attack him. Please.
"They should do that," the Jets' coach said. "Find him and go to him and go after him."
Ryan paused, turning off the sarcasm drip.
"They're not that ..." he said, stopping himself before he used "dumb" in reference to the Ravens. "They're smarter than that. They're not coming after him. No way. No chance."
Revis' return will be one of the juiciest subplots in the Monday night season opener. He's in serious catch-up mode and has only three more practices to get ready for the Jets' most highly anticipated opener in years.
Less than 24 hours after signing a four-year, $46 million contract, Revis was on the practice field for the first time since the June minicamp. He participated in 15 to 20 defensive snaps, about 50 percent of the practice plays, proclaiming afterward that he felt fine.
"I just need to get my legs under me a little bit," he said. "We're focusing on that."
Revis wasn't the only returnee. Fullback Tony Richardson, who re-signed Monday after being released Sunday, was in uniform and back on the field. The Jets cut him in a procedural move as they tinkered with the 53-man roster after the final cutdown.
"It really wasn't upsetting," Richardson said. "It's the nature of the NFL, and NFL stands for 'Not For Long,' so you try not to let it get to you."
Revis reported about four to five pounds above his usual weight, which puts him at about 203. Ryan didn't seem concerned by that, saying, "He was all over the place. He was Darrelle. He's an amazing guy."
But he's also a guy who missed the entire preseason, so the Ravens, with their revamped receiving corps, might be tempted to explore the Island.
"In my mind, I think they're going to attack me because I haven't played football," Revis said.
One of the common misconceptions about Revis is that opponents stayed away from him last season, rarely throwing in his direction. In fact, he was one of the most targeted cornerbacks in the league. The reason is two-fold: He almost always covered the opponents' No. 1 receiver and he was in single coverage a majority of the time.
The Jets' opponents didn't have much success, as Revis shut down a Murderer's Row of receivers, from Randy Moss to Andre Johnson to Steve Smith. The batting order will be similarly difficult in the first three games: Anquan Boldin of the Ravens, Moss of the New England Patriots and Brandon Marshall of the Miami Dolphins.
Teams could test Revis' conditioning, making him cover some deep routes early in the game to get him winded. He said he did a lot conditioning work during his holdout, but it's difficult to simulate the backpedaling and change-of-direction demands at cornerback unless you're actually playing football.
"I think they're going to come after me," Revis said of the Ravens.
Linebacker Bart Scott, himself a former Raven, is down with that.
"That would be great," he said. "We'll be on a short field."
Translation: A lot of three-and-outs for the Ravens.
Unlike Monday, when the team ribbed Revis upon his return from holdout limbo, the mood was serious on the field. He spent the early part of practice with secondary coach Dennis Thurman, working on backpedaling and short sprints. Later, he rejoined his teammates for team drills.
Nervous? Nah, not Revis. But he went to bed early the night before, resting up for his long-awaited debut.