But Revis and those close to him think the events of this season changed him, added maturity, perspective, growth.
From his prolonged training camp holdout to the worst hamstring injury he ever sustained to the regular-season finale Sunday against Buffalo where he could rest, Revis looks forward to 2011. Because 2010 was rough.
“This feels like a lifetime, all the stuff that happened in the last six months,” he said recently. “This year was the worst. Nothing’s going to top this.”
Last month, Revis finished the installation of a recording studio in his New Jersey home. He filmed a Google commercial with forward Amar’e Stoudemire in which Revis dunked on Stoudemire. He has endorsement deals with Google, Nike, Motorola and Range Rover. His face graced billboards in San Francisco and Times Square. He owns a T-shirt company.
This is all part of a detailed plan developed by his inner circle when Revis starred at the and implemented when he turned professional a year early. But lately, Revis has taken a greater interest in his business affairs, part of his personal renovation, the growth spurred by two unlikely events: the holdout and the hamstring.
“Truly, it has changed him, the way he acts, the way he looks at life,” said Diana Gilbert, Revis’s mother. “I see a whole different person this year.”
The low point? Pretty much all of August. Revis described that month as a whirlwind. His body sensed it needed to be somewhere, at training camp, on practice fields. Instead, he worked out and watched movies and played catch with a football in his pool.
Revis never once spoke publicly during his holdout, even when negotiations turned acrimonious. An uncle, the longtime defensive end Sean Gilbert, said last week that “the situation got a little bit out of hand.” Revis heard all of it, the Me-vis nickname, those who labeled him greedy, selfish. At one point, his mother looked into his eyes and thought: “Oh, no. He can’t take it.”
Revis reached a resolution shortly before the season started on a four-year deal worth $46 million, $32 million guaranteed. He arrived to a hero’s welcome, captured by ’s cameras as he walked slowly onto the practice field.
Two weeks into the season, he pulled his hamstring against New England. He struggled with the same injury throughout college, but never to this degree. He missed two games, but in hindsight said that he should have sat out more.
Looking back, Revis said he would not change anything. He said he represented his family well. He learned not to read news reports or watch television. He learned that the public would recognize him even wearing an Afro-style wig. He learned how quickly perceptions shifted. He learned patience.
From such struggle came change not even Revis had anticipated. Diana Gilbert said her son stopped going to nightclubs, asked more questions about his finances, tightened his inner circle. He spent more time with his two children, more time planning his future.
“Darrelle has matured,” Sean Gilbert said. “It’s like he’s smelling the air for the first time. I always told him, don’t live in a surreal world. Smell the air. Feel what’s going on. Know what’s happening to you and around you. Then do something about it.”
At present, Revis’s closest confidants include his mother, his uncle (Sean), his agents (Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod), his best friend (John Geiger) and another uncle (Mark). Each serves a specific role in what is essentially the Darrelle Revis Corporation.
Mark understands the stock market and works on the finances. Geiger handles the bulk of myriad requests. The agents have turned down more than 100 potential business deals, focusing on the quality of their partnerships.
Offers and proposals (some marriage, some business) arrive six times each month, or more often. Diana Gilbert said the family sometimes sat around and laughed at the contents. Asked for an example, she said one prospective company wanted Revis to invest $500,000, for which he would have owned nothing, not even 1 percent.
Sean Gilbert said the circle functioned in large part to dissolve perception, to balance what is real and what is not. But Revis gives more input lately.