When Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season comes around, Darrelle Revis will be 50 weeks clear from his ACL injury. The last step in the process of recovering from ACL surgery is a huge mental hurdle allowing the player to essentially throw himself back into the fire. It’s about trusting the reconstructed portion of his body, and believing it will hold up.
Every athlete is different and every recovery is different, but that last step is always the same. Some guys come back and play right away, see Adrian Peterson. Others wait, see Derrick Rose. In both cases, the athlete has the final say because they are the only one who truly knows how it feels.
In the case of Darrelle Revis, I can’t sit here and write that I’m positive he’ll be mentally ready. But I can tell you a few things. First, Darrelle Revis will be nearly a year off his injury, one that has an estimated recovery of eight to 12 months. Next, Darrelle Revis signed a non-guaranteed contract, and will be eager to prove himself. Finally, Darrelle Revis holds ill will against the New York Jets organization after the way they handled his departure.
All are factors that should lead you to believe he’ll be back by the time the games matter. But the final point is the one I see as the most significant. As mentioned, it’s up to the player to get over the hurdle of getting back on the field. Competition runs in the veins of any great athlete, but something that fuels that competitive spirit is motivation.
And what better carrot could the NFL have hung out in front of Revis than the opportunity to show up his old employers in Week 1. He has all the motivation he needs.
I honestly believe the chances that Darrelle Revis would have returned Week 1 if the Bucs were playing anyone else still would have been in the 90th percentile. But with the schedule landing the way it did, I’m setting the bar much higher, maybe just a fraction below triple digits. And a motivated, healthy Darrelle Revis should be quite the attraction for Week 1 of the NFL season.