Former 17th century English clergyman and poet John Donne once said, “No man is an island.”
It’s safe to say that Donne wasn’t referring to NFL cornerbacks.
As every fan knows, cornerbacks play on a proverbial island and the best ones thrive there.
Darrelle Revis, for instance, shut down receivers so well that he was nicknamed “Revis Island.”
When Darrelle Revis gets into the Hall of Fame, the Jets should announce the return of these unis. pic.twitter.com/ofdQ3tKOsT
— NFL Fashion Advice (@fashion_nfl) January 5, 2023
During his NFL career, Revis was hands down one of the best corners in football, if not in NFL history.
After 11 seasons, he retired with nearly 500 tackles, 139 passes defended, and 29 interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns.
Revis also won Super Bowl XLIX as a member of the New England Patriots.
Then, in 2023, Revis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This is the story of Darrelle Revis.
All-World Prep Athlete
Darrelle Shavar Revis was born on July 14, 1985 in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.
Today is Darrelle Revis's 35th birthday.
He's a 7x Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champ.
Revis, Patrick Peterson & Richard Sherman were the only cornerbacks selected to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.
Reply with your favorite Revis Island moment . pic.twitter.com/x7KEHd5Lxn
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 14, 2020
Given Aliquippa’s sports history, Revis was destined to be an NFL athlete.
So, it was no surprise when Revis blossomed into an athletic star for Aliquippa High School.
“He had his own dreams and aspirations,” Revis’ mother, Diana Askew (a former athlete herself), said. “He was a very motivated, very driven, very competitive guy. It was his drive and desire to compete.”
During his time at the school, Revis played football, basketball, and track for the Quips.
In track, Revis blew the doors off fellow competitors as a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) 2A champion in the 4×100 meter relay.
Darrelle Revis has been elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame. That means Aliquippa now has more HOF members (3) than any high school in U.S.
Revis was outstanding in football – but little factoid about his athletic ability: He led WPIAL hoops in scoring in 2002-03 (26.2 ppg). pic.twitter.com/nU6zd6irxy
— Mike White (@mwhiteburgh) February 10, 2023
On the hardwood, Revis slashed and gashed through defenders while averaging 25 points per game (a team high) during his junior and senior years.
He also led the Quips to consecutive WPIAL basketball championships in 2003 and 2004.
As great as he was as a basketball player, there was virtually no equal to Revis on the gridiron.
Given his tremendous skill set, Revis lined up for the Quips as a cornerback, return specialist, receiver, quarterback and running back.
During his senior season alone, Revis piled up a combined total of 1,637 yards and 13 touchdowns.
He was then named the 2003 WPIAL Class 2A Player of the Year by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2003 Player of the Year by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and chosen for the Post-Gazette’s “Fabulous 22” for 2003.
Darrelle Revis, Aliquippa High School (Pennsylvania) Class of 2004: pic.twitter.com/H6pv9TIJ
— SI Vault (@si_vault) December 19, 2012
To further cement his prep legacy, Revis won a state title for Aliquippa by himself in 2003.
Playing against Northern Lehigh in the state championship game, Revis rushed for three scores, went to the house on a punt return, and also took a blocked field goal attempt into the end zone for another score.
In addition to his five touchdowns, Revis threw a pass, caught a pass, and intercepted a pass.
The final result was a 32-27 victory for the Quips.
Revis wrapped his prep career as Aliquippa High’s all-time leader in interceptions and he had several choices where to play college ball.
To the delight of his family and friends, Revis decided to stay close to home and attend the University of Pittsburgh.
Immediate Starter at Pitt
Most incoming freshmen need at least a year to acclimate to the college game.
Revis was not like most people, however, and he became the first true freshman to start a game at Pitt since 2000.
During his first year in 2004, Revis played in all 12 of the Panthers’ games and co-led the team with a dozen passes broken up.
He was also third on the defense with 49 tackles while picking off two passes.
Meanwhile, Pitt went 8-4 and lost to fifth ranked Utah in the Fiesta Bowl.
After the season, Revis was named a freshman All-American by a number of media outlets.
In 2005, new Panthers head coach Dave Wannstedt had Revis return punts in addition to his cornerback duties.
Congratulations to Darrelle Revis on being named to the NFL HOF class of 2023! It was an honor to coach you as a Pitt Panther. pic.twitter.com/MIjuPrgRd2
— Paul Rhoads (@CoachPRhoads) February 10, 2023
While the Panthers stumbled to a 5-6 record, Revis hauled in four interceptions (team leader) and also made 33 solo tackles.
On special teams, he had 28 punt returns for 324 yards and a 79-yard score against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Proving he could play against elite competition, in Pitt’s opening week loss to Notre Dame, Revis picked off a pass, broke up three more and had seven tackles.
In a mid-November tilt against Connecticut, Revis blocked a field goal attempt that led to a scoop and score for a Panthers’ touchdown.
For the season, Revis was honored as a first-team All-Big East athlete.
Revis Jumps Ship Early
After a 6-1 start to the 2006 season, the Panthers lost their final five games to end the year at 6-6.
In the midst of the losing streak, Revis made one of the best plays in school, if not college football, history.
During the Backyard Brawl on November 16, the West Virginia Mountaineers punted the ball and Revis caught it.
He then proceeded to weave through traffic and take the pigskin 73 yards to paydirt.
— This Day In Sports Clips (@TDISportsClips) November 16, 2021
Revis’ touchdown was later named the “Best College Football Play of the Year” by ESPN and also dominated as the “Best Play” at the 2007 ESPY awards.
That season, Revis had 33 solo tackles and two interceptions that were both returned for scores.
Additionally, he had 22 punt returns for 190 yards and his touchdown against the Mountaineers.
At the end of the season, Revis was named All-Big East for the second time, 2006 College Football Player of the Year by ESPN, and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award.
Furthermore, he was named third-team All-American as a “utility” athlete.
With not much left to prove, Revis announced in early 2007 that he would not be returning to Pitt for his senior year and was declaring for the NFL Draft.
First Round Pick
In the lead up to the 2007 NFL Draft, Revis was listed as one of the three best corners along with University of Texas’ Aaron Ross and Michigan’s Leon Hall.
Wannstedt, for one, made sure that NFL teams knew how good his former player was.
“Darrelle (Revis) is probably one of the best tackling corners I’ve ever coached,” Wannstedt said. “He’s the whole deal, the whole package. Darrelle returns punts and could have returned kickoffs. He blocked field goals; he blocked punts. That’s not just athletic ability. You’ve got to have great hand-eye coordination to do that … You have to have good hands, and Darrelle has great hands, combined with quickness, toughness and ball skills.”
Revis did not partake in the NFL’s annual Combine due to a muscle strain, but he shined on Pitt’s Pro Day.
After completing the session, scouts were even more sure that Revis was a bona fide, first day pick.
2007 NFL draft
The @nyjets select Darrelle Revis who would go on to become one of the greatest players in franchise history.
Let's hope the same happens with tonight's pick.
— New York Jets History (@nyjetshistory) April 27, 2023
Sure enough, the New York Jets were so enamored with Revis that the franchise traded up from the 25th spot to the 14th position in the first round and selected him.
For the record, Hall was taken 18th overall by Cincinnati and Ross went to the New York Giants at the 20th spot.
In 2007 the Jets were coming off a Wild Card playoff loss to New England after a 10-6, 2006 season.
After holding out initially to negotiate his contract, Revis joined a secondary that included safety Kerry Rhodes and corner Hank Poteat.
He then exited training camp as the Jets starting left corner and had a good year with 88 combined tackles, 17 passes defended, and three interceptions.
PFWA then named him to its All-Rookie Team.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much Revis could do about the rest of the talent on New York’s roster and the team won only four games.
New York improved to 9-7 in 2008 after former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre joined the organization.
However, a third place finish in the AFC East kept the Jets from the postseason again.
Top 7 Players From the 2007 NFL Drafthttps://t.co/BwDLWC8EGc
#4. Darrelle Revis
Originally Drafted: 14th overall pic.twitter.com/1nTlypyMyV
— TTL Pop Culture (@TTLPopCulture) August 16, 2016
Revis firmly staked his claim as one of the sport’s best corners in ‘08 when he nabbed no less than five interceptions and one pick-six, broke up 16 passes, forced a fumble, had one sack, and made 58 combined tackles.
After another good afternoon embarrassing NFL receivers, members of the press approached Revis for a comment.
“It was in the locker room with a bunch of reporters and they asked, ‘How do you feel out there being on an island?’” Revis recalled. “I (responded), ‘It feels like Revis Island.’”
A moniker was born that day and pass catchers were constantly asked what it was like competing on Revis Island.
“The only way to handle pressure is to apply it,” Revis said. “I just have a knack for having a competitive nature and not settling.”
Revis’ 2008 stats led to the first of seven Pro Bowl nods.
New York Just Misses in 2009
Favre retired and then unretired when he signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
That left the Jets with a giant hole to fill at quarterback and the franchise selected USC’s Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Sanchez was named the starter and struggled all year with 12 touchdown passes against 20 interceptions.
Thankfully, Revis and the defense were the best in the NFL that season and kept New York competitive.
Due to career highs in interceptions (6 for 121 return yards and a touchdown) and passes broken up (a league best 31), Revis was selected as a first-team All-Pro and named to his second Pro Bowl.
Revis Island 🏝️
— NFL (@NFL) July 12, 2023
He also just missed being voted the Defensive Player of the Year to the Packers’ Charles Woodson.
“This, in my opinion, was the best year a corner has ever had, the most impact a corner has ever had in the National Football League. That’s my opinion,” said Ryan.
New York made the playoffs with a 9-7 record then shocked the NFL when they beat Cincinnati and San Diego in the first two rounds.
The Indianapolis Colts finally ended the Jets’ run with a 30-17 victory in the AFC Championship game.
Another Near Miss in 2010
In 2010, Sanchez greatly improved and passed for over 3,000 yards and got his interception count down to 13.
On the other side of the ball, Revis had an off year with no interceptions, but he did break up 10 passes and made 32 tackles.
I mean @Revis24 literally shut down prime Calvin Johnson for an entire game in 2010.
3 forced incompletions
— Jake Asman (@JakeAsman) July 10, 2023
The Jets won 11 games and returned to the AFC title game for the second straight year after beating the Colts and Patriots in the playoffs.
During the Wild Card contest against Indianapolis, Revis held Colts receiver Reggie Wayne to only one reception for one yard.
New York met the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship but lost again, 24-19.
Revis is Traded to Tampa Bay
In 2011, New York couldn’t sustain its run and fell to 8-8.
Revis continued thriving on his island and had four interceptions for 184 return yards and an NFL best 100 yard pick six against Miami in Week 6.
He was awarded with another Pro Bowl after the season along with a third consecutive first-team All-Pro selection.
The following year, Revis was just getting warmed up when he was laid low by an ACL tear in Week 3.
New York placed him on injured reserve for the remainder of the 2012 season.
Months later, Jets fans were incensed when the team traded Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 2013 NFL Draft.
— American Football 画像 (@AFpicture_japan) February 23, 2014
Tampa Bay then announced that they were paying Revis $96 million over six years, making him the NFL’s highest paid defensive back in history.
“We’re thrilled. It’s rare that you get a chance to add a player of this caliber to your football team. That’s what motivated us,” Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said.
For his part, Revis was sad to leave the Big Apple, but also excited for his new opportunity.
“I been sitting around for the last hour trying to figure out what to say to the Jet Nation & I came up with this,” Revis posted on his Twitter account. “The six years I played for the New York Jets were unbelievable. I put my body on the line everyday & did everything I could to help the team win. I experienced a lot & learned a lot. The memories I had in New York I will keep dearly to my heart. I want to thank all the Jets fans for making me feel welcome.”
Revis Becomes a Patriot
Revis was arguably the most talented player on the Bucs roster by far in 2013 and it showed.
Second year coach Greg Schiano couldn’t do much with the lack of talent and Tampa Bay ended the year with a 4-12 record.
Then, instead of keeping their highly paid mercenary, the Buc released Revis.
“Anybody can play on our football team, in our scheme, if they have talent, and that’s what we have right now,” Tampa’s new coach, Lovie Smith, told reporters. “And as far as the money — yeah, there’s only a certain amount — and as you look what we were able to get: three very good football players, almost for the price of one.”
It only took a few hours before New England coach Bill Belichick snapped Revis up and added him to the Patriots’ roster.
“(Revis is) a supremely talented player,” then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “He’s got such a great skill set and knowledge of the game … one of the best corners to ever play the game.”
New England missed the Super Bowl in 2013 and wanted Revis to help them return to the game.
In 2014, as he totaled 47 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, 14 passes broken up, and two picks, Revis did just that.
The Patriots went 12-4 (beating the Jets twice) and eliminated Baltimore and Indy in the playoffs before facing Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX.
Congratulations to Darrelle Revis, making the Jets Ring of Honor. pic.twitter.com/t5xf2fsYVT
— Pats Pulpit (@patspulpit) June 2, 2022
During the contest, Revis sacked Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson once and had another tackle as New England won its fourth world title, 28-24.
Weeks later, the Pats released Revis instead of keeping him in 2015 for $20 million.
Return to New York
For the third time in as many years, Revis was headed to a new destination.
It was obvious the Jets missed their former cornerback and brought Revis Island back for five years and $39 million guaranteed.
Darrelle Revis used to lock EVERYONE up at Jets practice 😱 @Revis24
(via shaweaglefootball/YT) pic.twitter.com/2FZG7odGHB
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 31, 2020
In 2015, he had five interceptions, 39 tackles, and a seventh Pro Bowl nod as New York went 10-6 and missed the postseason.
The following year saw Revis grab one interception and make 53 tackles while the Jets fell to 5-11.
Then, in March of 2017, New York released Revis for the second time.
Kansas City, Here I Come
After his exit from New York, Revis spent most of 2017 out of football.
We have signed free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 22, 2017
The Kansas City Chiefs came calling in November and signed Revis to a two-year deal, hoping to make a playoff run.
“First of all, it’s just exciting to have this opportunity to return back to football,” Revis said. “I think the reason for me returning is the fire I have, the fuel I have to continue to play this game at a high level. I’m excited. I’m excited about the signing today with the Kansas City Chiefs. Pretty great football team and I’m joining their success. They’re doing pretty well right now and I think for both parties it makes sense right now.”
Revis was pumped to be playing alongside corner Marcus Peters and Chiefs coach Andy Reid was equally pumped about having The Island in the secondary.
“We’re excited to add Darrelle to the roster,” Reid said in a statement. “He has experience and familiarity with Bob Sutton’s defense, he’s a team guy and we feel like a player of his caliber can help our football team.”
In two starts and action in five games, Revis collected 11 tackles and two passes broken up.
Kansas City went 10-6 and lost to Tennessee in the Wild Card round by one point.
The following summer, Revis retired for good.
During his career, Revis had 496 combined tackles, two sacks, 12 fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles, 139 passes defended, 29 interceptions for 466 return yards and three return touchdowns.
He was a PFWA All-Rookie, four-time first-team All-Pro, seven-time Pro Bowler, and a world champion with New England in Super Bowl XLIX.
Additionally, Revis holds Jets records with 112 career passes defended and is tied for longest interception return for a touchdown (100 yards during the 2011 season).
Revis has since been added to the Jets’ Ring of Honor and was selected to the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) February 10, 2023
In 2023, Revis’ standing as one of the NFL’s best all-time corners was assured when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Life in Retirement
Growing up in Aliquippa, Revis saw the toll street violence and gangs took on young people, including himself.
In order to help underserved kids from the inner cities, he founded the Darrelle Revis Foundation.
Our team hamming it up at the Darrelle Revis Foundation's Hunger & Health Fun Fest as we kick off Global Week of Service! #darrellrevisfoundation #h2funfest #doubletreecranberry #wearehilton #globalweekofservice pic.twitter.com/1Uik0iiFkP
— DoubleTree Cranberry (@DT_Cranberry) July 23, 2018
The organization helps kids with providing consistent, healthy meals and developing good habits such as exercise and play.
When he’s not at his foundation, Revis collects art and spends time with his family playing chess.
“Football has taught me discipline, how to survive in critical situations throughout my life and how important it is to have a strong team around you. I’ve been fortunate to have a strong ‘team’ at home as well as on the field,” said Revis.