TAMPA — Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis, whose one season in Tampa was hindered by his recovery from knee surgery, declared himself in the best shape of his career on Friday.
The Bucs traded a first-round draft choice to the Jets for Revis in April, 2013 and he made the Pro Bowl as the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player ($16 million) last year.
“Coming off the ACL injury was tough for me,’’ Revis told reporters in New England. “I finished all 16 games last year, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be physically as a player. So this is my first offseason where I can really focus on, not rehabbing, but just working out.’’
The Bucs released Revis in March, one day after signing free agent Pro Bowl corner Alterraun Verner from Tennessee. Revis faced New England often during his years with the Jets and now he finds himself playing with quarterback Tom Brady instead of facing him twice a season.
“They say it takes a year and a half or two and I think I’m at a point now where I’m there,’’ Revis said. “This offseason was a full offseason for me, where I could just focus on working out instead of doing rehab as soon as you get the injury. I’m fine. I’m in the best shape of my career, and I’m looking forward to the season.’’
Although Revis wasn’t at full strength, Tampa Bay’s defense improved markedly with Revis on the field last fall.
“I’m excited about having the opportunity to come here and be a New England Patriot,’’ he said. “But also I’m back to where I can move around a little bit better. Last year was really tough coming off the injury. Even though I played all 16 games, it was just tough. I wasn’t where I needed to be. Now I’m a little bit more excited. I feel the butterflies a little bit more. I’m just ready to play and get ready for the season.’’