By Jeff Capellini, CBSNewYork.com
NEW YORK (CBS 2) — What went down on Wednesday was more like a surprise party that lacked a guest of honor.
Jets fans flocked to their favorite social networking site or blogger for the latest, mostly because a daring columnist from Texas convinced better than half of the passengers at the airport that Darrelle Revis would end his three-week holdout and catch a private jet back to Florham Park, N.J.
The green and white loyal were ready to have a championship celebration because Revis was reportedly “really close” to signing a monster contract that would in essence lock him up for life.
But alas, there was no party. In fact, someone left the cake out in the rain.
I promised myself and my readers I’d never mention Revis’ name in print until he was signed. I know. I failed. I don’t care.
The bottom line is there’s just too much at stake right now to pretend like he doesn’t exist, even if he continues to stick to this misguided notion that the Jets don’t exist.
You can criticize Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw all you want for being wrong after coming off supremely confident in his tweets regarding the Jets’ all-everything defensive back, but the bottom line is the sports media is filled with brave souls who often stick their necks out because someone they supremely trust told them to do just that.
I, for one, applaud Cowlishaw for trusting his sources and taking the criticism now coming his way like a man. The ambiguity of his tweets has left a window open for him still to be right. He did initially say Wednesday or Saturday would be the day the deal got done. He has since taken back some of what he prognosticated, but other media types have found their own sources who are confirming similar notions.
Ultimately, I trust the New York beat writers because they are with the Jets every day and they are not in the business of making mistakes. I said when the ”news” broke about Cowlishaw’s source information that I’d withhold judgment — or excitement as the case may be — until I heard something positive from Bob Glauber of Newsday, Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com or Manish Mehta of the Daily News, among others, because they have been giving us the skinny and been correct far more times over the years than they have been wrong.
But in truth, this Revis thing is not about the writers. They are trying to provide you with a service. If you want someone to be angry at, focus your angst on No. 24, himself. He’s not providing anything useful to anyone.
If the various reports of a 10-year contract offer for anywhere from $122 million to $150 million with as much as $65 million guaranteed are correct — and I believe they are because too many people I trust to get this story right are reporting those numbers — then it’s Revis who needs to look in the mirror and stop this nonsense once and for all.
Just to confirm, I have supported Darrelle’s right to hold out from the beginning. There’s no reason why, considering his last two seasons, he should be the Jets’ eighth-highest paid defensive back in 2010. I have cast some blame for this debacle on general manager Mike Tannenbaum for opening Pandora’s box in the first place. He did, after all, tell Revis after the AFC championship game loss to the Colts that the team was ready to tear up his old deal and give him something fair for both sides.
The problem has been the differing opinions on what “fair” is.
There are many out there who are crusaders for the cause of the true and just. They say you sign a contract, you live by the terms of that contract for as long as it runs. These people aren’t wrong, but they are living in ancient times. Holdouts and contract squabbles are as attached to the hip to professional sports as statistics and outrageous PSL prices. It’s just the name of the game.
I now have a problem with Revis because he’s taken the fans’ trust and exploited it, much like he did when he skipped plays at mini-camp. Many, myself included, agreed that this guy should get every last dollar he thinks he deserves, but we have the right to ask for it to be within reason, or, there’s that word again, ”fair.” Our support of his cause came before hundreds of millions of dollars were put on the table and before we saw that Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman, the potential replacements at corner, had not come into camp that much better than they were last season.
So, are we panicking? No. We’re not fearful of the unknown. We’re furious at what’s right in front of our faces.
Ultimately, I think many of us really think being the highest paid anything in the NFL – even for a few months because you know eventually someone will get more — means little. If Revis signs today he’d have more money than the working capital of many nations. He could purchase 10 islands to hold his shutdown corner instructional camps and film God only knows how many Modell’s commercials.
It may be time to question whether winning a championship is even important to Revis. It’s obviously important to Nick Mangold, but that’s a story for another day.
The second Revis signs the Jets become Super Bowl contenders. Right now, they are a playoff team that could play deep into January and, possibly, February if everything breaks right, meaning if they don’t suffer serious injuries and quarterback Mark Sanchez makes even a slight improvement over his rookie season.
But the Jets know just how important Revis is. They don’t shut up about him on “Hard Knocks.” I didn’t see or hear LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene, Santonio Holmes, David Harris, D’Brickashaw Ferguson or Jerricho Cotchery once on Wednesday night and they are all vitally important pieces of the puzzle. But I heard the name “Revis” mentioned no less than 25 times.
The time has come, Darrelle. Your teammates need you and the fans would sell their first born for you.
Get some perspective on what “fair” means and get your butt in camp.
(Jeff Capellini is a senior editorial editor for CBSNewYork.com. He also writes under the moniker “The Green Lantern” on the Jets, Yankees, Islanders and many other things Gotham sports. Please follow him on Twitter at @greenlanternjet)