Harris: Revis' actions wouldn't suit Steelers
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
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Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for -- such as a scenario in which the Steelers selected Pitt cornerback Darrelle Revis in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
That nearly happened, if you go by all the speculation and conjecture before and after coach Mike Tomlin's first draft three years ago.
I, myself, see the glass being half empty rather than half full.
The Steelers have a track record for trading up in the draft if they want a player badly enough. They did it for Troy Polamalu in 2003 and Santonio Holmes in 2006.
In my opinion, if the Steelers truly wanted Revis -- whom they saw practice and play first-hand throughout his college career -- they would have traded up to the No. 14 spot instead of "settling" for linebacker Lawrence Timmons one pick later.
Revis has produced for the New York Jets. He had six interceptions in 2009, 14 career picks and two Pro Bowl appearances in his three-year career.
Those numbers would make Steelers fans happy.
However, I don't think fans would be happy about Revis' off-the-field numbers if he played for the Steelers.
Revis wants the Jets to tear up the remaining three years of his contract and reward him with a new deal approaching $100 million that would make him the highest-paid cornerback in league history.
During a recent minicamp, Revis floated the possibility of holding out during training camp. He also pulled himself out of a practice because of what he said was a hamstring injury after getting burned for a touchdown pass by Braylon Edwards, then amended his story to say he wasn't hurt but felt "light-headed" and took himself out because of unhappiness with his contract.
Revis' me-first actions made Jets coach Rex Ryan, who originally defended Revis' decision to miss practice until Revis changed his story, look stupid.
Also, Revis' public display of placing his personal goals ahead of the Jets' runs counter to the team-first philosophy endorsed by the Steelers.
"I can't speak for him (Revis)," Steelers assistant head coach/defensive line coach John Mitchell told me a couple of weeks ago. "I always was taught you sign a contract, be man enough to honor it.
"I think players get in this league, they have some success right off the bat, and they think they're the best thing since sliced bread.
"If this guy is an eight- or nine-year veteran, yeah. This guy's been in the league three years. His football's ahead of him, not behind him. I just think the economical situation now in professional football is leading a lot of guys down the wrong path."
Mitchell said he couldn't envision a Steelers defensive player embarrassing him the way Revis did Ryan.
"I have a pretty good relationship with my players. I don't think they would do it," Mitchell said. "If they did, I think my relationship with them is one where we could sit down, talk and iron it out without it getting to the head coach, or without it getting to the owner."
Without mentioning Revis -- a local fan favorite from Aliquippa -- Mitchell suggested the Steelers don't always draft the most talented player because they're more concerned with acquiring players who fit their system.
"When the draft comes, there's a lot of good football players. A lot of times, the Steelers bypass them, and people want to know why. They're great football players, but they don't fit what we do," Mitchell said.
"Everybody wants to get paid as much money as they can. But the Steelers have won two Super Bowls (since 2005). It shows the younger players that come here if you work hard and do your job, you're going to get rewarded.
"You're not going to be judged on how much money you made. It's going to be, 'How many Super Bowls did you win?' "
Agent Joe Linta, who represents tackle Willie Colon, said the Steelers target players who focus on team goals -- not individual ones.
"They've done a good job for the most part of bringing in lunch-pail guys like Willie," Linta said.
According to Mitchell, not everyone -- no matter how talented -- can play for the Steelers. That apparently includes Revis.
"A lot of teams try to buy players or try to buy a Super Bowl," Mitchell said. "You have to get people who fit into your program."