It is very easy to forget that athlete's are people too.
They have dreams and ambitions, wants and needs, families that need to be taken care of, and day-to-day lives that need to be lived in a particular way if they would like to be successful. In the world of Football - there are few who are able to negotiate a deal better than Darrelle Revis.
His close family and agent, as well as his own natural business acumen, have made him very successful when it comes to negotiating deals with the most powerful individuals in the NFL - the owners. It is the result of these various discussions, as well as a few holdouts and hard stands, that have given Revis the reputation of being a "mercenary" or simply a gun-for-hire who has no sense of loyalty, and cares for nothing and no one but himself and his money. With a reputation like that it's no wonder we forget that he is just another man fighting to survive in this crazy world.
Mina Kimes - one of ESPN's senior writers has written a very personal article on this very subject. If one of the best CBs to play the game and his ability to negotiate a killer deal fascinates you - then it is definitely worth the read. After reading it myself, I'll summarize a few of the key points about Darrelle Revis:
1. - He is incredibly intelligent
2. - He likes to snuggle
3. - He believes in himself and his principles above all else
It is the 3rd fact about Revis that makes him such a powerful negotiator, that not only does he not see himself as greedy or a mercenary, but he actually feels he is doing the rest of the players in the NFL a favor with his negotiating tactics.
It seems like a very far leap to make - to go from one end of the spectrum to the other so quickly - but again, I'll try to summarize a few key facts to help you see my point. Darrelle Revis knows his worth. He knows that he is one of the best to play at his position, and when he enters into contract negotiations - he uses that knowledge, along with his own confidence in his current abilities, to ensure that the gets a fair deal and he's paid what he's worth. Another focus of Revis - is guaranteed money. As we all know, football contracts are incredibly complex and convoluted - and when a headline reads "player signs deal with X team for 5 years, 103 million dollars!" it is not all that it seems. Revis goes in with the knowledge that non-guaranteed money isn't real money.
This is the part where owners and GMs get upset - because guaranteed money is money you pay without results - you are paying it based on the belief that the player will live up to expectations - there is so much uncertainty there. But Revis, unlike most players, negotiates financially with a level head and the business side of football in mind, rather than emotion and feelings of "loyalty" which have no monetary value in a contract discussion. He sticks to his guns - he does not allow anyone to undervalue him, and therefore, underpay him. His stance and long-term contracts with lots of guarantees give other talented players the confidence to do the same for themselves (see what Kam Chancellor is doing to the Seahawks) which is why he feels he is doing the players a favor.
Ultimately, the facts are what they are. Revis is one of the highest paid football players ever and his career is not over yet. Whether you label him as a mercenary or a visionary is entirely up to you and your perspective. As a Patriots fan I miss seeing him in our uniform - but I can't help but respect his decisions when it comes to a new deal.
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