Since signing with the team last week, all that Revis seems to be talking about is his respect for the Patriots organization and its winning ways over the past decade. On the surface, one might think that the high-profile cornerback had been pining to play under Bill Belichick for years, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to don the red, white and blue and storm the field at Gillette Stadium to the cheering adulation of his long-awaited Bostonian faithful.
Those with long memories, however, likely recall a much different relationship between the Patriots and Revis when he roamed the secondary for the New York Jets.
In March 2012, Revis famously referred to New England head coach Bill Belichick as a "jerk" for an off-color suggestion he had for the Jets defense after their Nov. 2011 regular-season meeting—a drubbing that ended in a 37-16 New England victory.
Two months later, he would defend his criticism of Belichick in an ESPN interview:
When you say certain comments about the Jets, some things are disrespectful. It's OK to have a rivalry, it's OK to compete. But when it gets personal, then it gets disrespectful.
Revis was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following offseason, bringing the mutual admonition society between the two an abrupt halt. Even with Revis gone, however, it would be hard to imagine that Belichick didn't file those comments deep away in his vault of personal contempt.
After all, we're talking about a coach who wouldn't so much as utter Wes Welker's name when he all but called him a dirty player for the hit he put on Aqib Talib during last season's AFC Championship game.
Belichick does not forget.
It appears that he may be willing to forgive, though. In a recent interview, Revis says that those criticisms of his current head coach are water under the bridge: "It’s in the past. We’re excited about working together and trying to win games. That’s the biggest goal here,” said Revis.
While the two may have been able to put their differences aside for the time being, don't expect them to be simpatico on the sideline, sharing man hugs and bellowing witty repartee at the expense of opposing offenses. For both parties, this is most likely a case of simply doing what's best for business—pushing their respective egos aside for the sake of winning a championship.