What a difference six months makes for Darrelle Revis.
At the beginning of the 2016 NFL season, the New York Jets cornerback was having about as close to a perfect career as a player can have. Seven Pro Bowls. Four-time First-Team All-Pro selections. Super Bowl champion. And despite all those accomplishments, perhaps most notably, he had utterly dominated the business side of pro football.
In fact, perhaps no player in NFL history has better maximized the leverage they've had than Revis. He has parlayed his dominance of "Revis Island" into five different contracts from three different teams that have combined to pay him over $118 million in his 10-year career.
While some fans don't like when players hold out or utilize all available avenues to earn as much money as they can most of them can at least understand that Revis has been, first and foremost, a businessman. And a very good one at that.
As such, Revis has become sort of a cult hero among his fellow players as the rare guy among them that seemingly always has the leverage over the teams … and uses it.
That pristine performance on the field and clean track record off it was Revis' legacy until a little over six months ago.
Age, or "father time" as the players call it, is undefeated in professional sports in general and the NFL in particular. Guys like Tom Brady playing at an extremely high level at age 39 is almost unheard of. Revis, unfortunately, is at the other end of that spectrum.
At age 31 and in his tenth year in the NFL, Revis' play was not on a steady decline -- it fell off a cliff. He went from one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in NFL history to a liability that teams picked on throughout the season. He simply can't move as well as he used to and his suggestion that he'd be willing to move to safety is probably as much of an admission of that as anything else.
Then, to make matters worse, he gave less than his best effort on multiple occasions throughout the season and the videos of him declining to try to make a tackle made the rounds.
Poor performance of a highly paid player is frustrating for a fan base. Lack of effort is unacceptable.
Revis went from a hero to a zero over the span of four months in the eyes of the fans that loved him more than any other. He had built up a lot of trust with the supporters of Gang Green over the years, yet it only took a few months for all of that to evaporate into thin air. Revis had become a fraud, which is the one thing that NFL fans, especially in New York, absolutely will not tolerate.
Now to compound all of that, for the first time in his career, Revis is involved in a legal matter off the field, charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor because of an altercation in Pittsburgh. He awaits his next court date on Thursday.
While Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com believes that the recent TMZ video that was released will make it very difficult for Revis to be convicted, the truth is that for many people out there, it won't even matter. They'll just remember that he got into trouble with the law and two guys were knocked out unconscious. That's how it goes sometimes in the expedited news cycle in which people primarily look at headlines and draw conclusions rather than thoroughly reviewing details or allowing what can sometimes be a lengthy process to run its course.
The end result for Revis? His legacy and how folks will remember him for years is now in question. That's because how you finish, and the headlines you garner at the end of your career, matter greatly in the court of public opinion.
Quick, what's the first thing you think about when you hear the name Plaxico Burress? How about Darren Sharper? Steve McNair? Marvin Harrison?
The list goes on and on and the bad combination of Revis' 2016 season, which could very likely be his last unless he is willing to play at a significantly reduced rate, and this off-the-field incident in Pittsburgh, no matter what the resolution ends up being in the courts, will undoubtedly be one of the first things people think about when his name is brought up.
And while that's a shame for Revis, it is also the reality of life in the NFL: How you finish your career on and off the field has a lasting impact on your legacy forever.