By Daniel Friedman
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In honor of Darrelle Revis returning to the Jets, here are 10 notable players (some more than others) who came back to their New York roots:
NOTE: Players who returned only as coaches (i.e. Jason Kidd, Butch Goring) were not included on this list.
10. Scott Gomez, Devils
His career was never the same after he left New Jersey, the place he’d won a Rookie of the Year award and two Stanley Cups. At age 35 he’s back, and he’s got a respectable 27 points in 43 games this season.
9. Bryan Berard, Islanders
Another player who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. Berard won it in 1997, joining Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy as the only Islanders to do so (which still holds true today). Like everyone else who was an integral part of the team’s future, Berard was traded away by GM Mike Milbury. In 2007-08, he was brought back for one final circuit.
8. Alexei Kovalev, Rangers
A fan favorite on the 1994 Stanley Cup team (honestly, who wasn’t a fan favorite?), Kovalev was traded to Pittsburgh in 1998. In 2003, he was traded back to the Rangers and would spend parts of that season and the next with the Blueshirts.
7. Tino Martinez, Yankees
A four-time World Series champion and a Silver Slugger winner in 1997, Martinez came back to the Yanks in 2005 after spending three years elsewhere.
6. Alfonso Soriano, Yankees
Soriano played in the Bronx from 1999-2003, but would not return for 10 years. He recorded at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in both ’02 and ’03, among other accomplishments. In 2013, Soriano was traded back to the Yankees by the Chicago Cubs. He played the rest of that season and the next one before calling it quits.
5. Andy Pettitte, Yankees
Pettitte actually had three different stints with the Yankees. He started out his career with them in 1995 and played eight years in the Bronx before signing with the Houston Astros as a free agent at the end of the 2003 season. He came back to the Yankees in 2007, “retired” in 2010 and then came back after taking a year off. After the 2013 campaign, he retired again — this time for good.
4. Darrelle Revis, Jets
He’s one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history and likely the best one playing right now. After being inexplicably traded to Tampa Bay, only to go to New England and win a Super Bowl, Revis is coming back home to where it all began — back to the J-E-T-S (Jets, Jets, Jets).
3. Willie Mays, Mets
OK, so this one’s a bit of a stretch considering Mays never actually played for the Mets. However, he did play for the Giants, and the Mets were the continuation of National League baseball in New York; a tradition that should never have been disrupted. Fans that flocked to the Polo Grounds to see Mays in his Giants days were now cheering for the Metropolitans, and to see him back where he belonged (so to speak) was surreal for those who had the opportunity.
2. Mark Messier, Rangers
Messier spent six seasons in New York, including one in 1994 that was somewhat noteworthy. In 1997, he signed with the Vancouver Canucks, which never quite looked right for multiple reasons. He also didn’t play very well there. Messier returned to the Rangers in 2000 and was given his captaincy back. He announced his retirement in 2005.
1. Tom Seaver, Mets
No comeback story on this list can top Seaver’s return to the Mets in 1983. Never mind the fact that he was (and still is) the greatest player in franchise history; he was No. 1 in the heart of every Mets fan. That trade to Cincinnati was a nightmarish experience for them, and so it couldn’t have ended any other way than by Seaver coming back to them. Thankfully, that’s exactly what transpired.