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    For Revis, a Different Sort of Homecoming

    Published: 11-15-07

    By John Beattie

    The black and gold ensemble of Sunday’s enemy is sure to spark some memories for one Jets rookie.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers were the team in cornerback Darrelle Revis’ hometown of Aliquippa, Pa., — a precarious town located 30 minutes northwest of Heinz Field.

    “We are definitely a football town,” Revis said of his old stomping grounds.

    “At the same time, it’s a very tough town. There have been shootings and stuff of that nature,” he solemnly added. “But there are some great people there and they would always come together to watch football.”

    It’s no big surprise that residents in western Pennsylvania view football as not just a sport but a way of life. And the deity was and will always be Steelers football.

    In fact, the town of Aliquippa has a historical role in the legendary franchise. The town is best known as the location of Jones & Laughlin Steel – a corporation on the Ohio River that in 1905 ignited the Steel City’s most prominent product.

    But growing up in that quaint town oozing with Steelers-crazed fans, Revis separated himself from his friends and neighbors when it came to Sundays.

    “I supported them. It’s just that I wasn’t a diehard fan like everyone else was in town,” he explained. “I would watch them, but when my uncle was playing it was more so that what team he was on was the team I liked — I grew up wanting to be just like him.”

    Many kids wanted to be like Revis’ uncle. He is the nephew of Sean Gilbert, a defensive tackle for the Rams, Redskins, Panthers and Raiders. The third overall pick in the 1992 draft by the Rams, Gilbert spent 11 seasons in the NFL and was a 10.5-sack Pro Bowler in 1993.

    The 6’5”, 318-pounder — just like his nephew — went to both Aliquippa High and the University of Pittsburgh.

    The Aliquippa Fighting Quips program is a hotbed for producing football talent. The school has fashioned such NFL players as Mike Ditka and former Jets cornerback Ty Law in addition to Gilbert and Revis.

    Revis’ high school career was nothing shy of stellar, even playing in Law's footsteps. Besides dominating the hardwood and the track for the Quips, Revis played quarterback, defensive back, wide receiver and kickoff returner and was named AP's Pennsylvania Class AA Player of the Year in 2003 for the football team. In his senior year, he compiled 1,637 total yards, averaging 15.4 yards per touch, and 13 touchdowns.

    A Stay-at-Home Kind of Guy

    “It has a great tradition. A lot of players went to a D-1 college and even to the NFL,” he said of his alma mater. “It’s a winning program and it’s always been and always will be in the future so it was great.

    “In my senior year we won states and everything. It was great to experience that and win it with the guys we had. We had a lot of heart on our team and we pulled it out.”

    The decision to go to Pitt after Aliquippa was an easy one for Revis — so easy that he signed his letter of intent prior to that memorable senior season. Located 40 minutes from his high school field, the university was a perfect fit for the local boy and the local boy was a perfect fit for the Pitt Panthers.

    “I only took one visit. I knew where I was going,” he said of his recruitment process. “I was going to Pitt and basically that was the end of it.

    “I didn’t know much about Pitt except that my uncle went there,” he added. “I didn’t even know if I was going to get recruited in high school until the coaches started coming to the school and talking to me. By the end of my junior year, Pitt came in and offered scholarship.”

    After tallying 129 tackles, eight interceptions and four touchdowns (two on punt returns and two on interceptions) in just three seasons, Revis decided to forgo his senior year at Pitt for the NFL Draft.

    After watching their favorite son dominate the western Pennsylvania gridiron for seven seasons, Pittsburgh's local football crazies undeniably spent nights dreaming of Revis donning the Black & Gold of their beloved Steelers.

    And this past April, Revis was perhaps just one pick away from having that become a reality. The Steelers had the 15th overall selection and were drooling at the thought of stealing Revis with that pick to shore up their defense that had helped them win the Super Bowl just two years before.

    “He was high on our list,” said Steelers first-year head coach Mike Tomlin.

    “He's got a nice combination of size and speed, and he's a young guy. You would imagine there's a lot of football in front of him," Tomlin said of Revis prior to the draft. “He seems to have his head on straight and he's a sharp young man, so he has a lot of things that are attractive about him.”

    Predraft Hype in Steel City

    The Steelers’ pre-Tomlin staff got plenty of good looks at Revis last season when the Panthers would practice and play home games at Heinz Field. The cornerback couldn’t help but picture himself on that same field in the coming years.

    “I used to watch those guys practice,” he said. “I thought one day I wanted to either be over there with them or with another team. It's just a joy to be in the NFL. It's exciting.”

    The Jets spoiled a homecoming for Revis when they traded up from their 25th pick to get Carolina’s No. 14 — one selection in front of Pittsburgh, which took FSU linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

    “I didn’t know what was going to end up happening in the draft. I mean, I really didn’t care wherever I went or what team I went to. It’s just that there was a lot of hype around me playing for the Steelers,” said Revis, who has made 57 tackles and one interception in his first nine professional games. “That was the whole talk. But if it happened, it happened. If not, oh well.”

    Revis is now the starting cornerback for the Green & White and leads them in solo tackles with 50. (He, fellow rookie David Harris and Eric Barton share the team total-tackle lead with 58 each.) On Wednesday, Tomlin, just a few days before his offense takes on Revis and the rest of the Jets defense, praised the rookie for his ability to perform this well this early.

    “Revis at corner is what we thought he was. He’s playing good ball for them, holding down the corner spot,” said Tomlin. “When you’re a young guy in this league at any position, you’re going to have a bull's-eye on your back, probably even more so at corner. He’s wearing it well.”

    Revis and the Jets will have to wait until Sunday afternoon to see if Tomlin plans to pepper that bull's-eye with throws from QB Ben Roethlisberger. Regardless, it will be an exciting and challenging day for Revis.

    “I saw a lot of those guys over the break. It's going to be fun and exciting to go out there and compete,” he said. “Those guys know me and I know them. The competition is going to be amped."

    The black and gold ensemble of Sunday’s enemy is sure to spark some memories for one Jets rookie.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers were the team in cornerback Darrelle Revis’ hometown of Aliquippa, Pa., — a precarious town located 30 minutes northwest of Heinz Field.

    “We are definitely a football town,” Revis said of his old stomping grounds.

    “At the same time, it’s a very tough town. There have been shootings and stuff of that nature,” he solemnly added. “But there are some great people there and they would always come together to watch football.”

    It’s no big surprise that residents in western Pennsylvania view football as not just a sport but a way of life. And the deity was and will always be Steelers football.

    “I supported them. It’s just that I wasn’t a diehard fan like everyone else was in town,” he explained. “I would watch them, but when my uncle was playing it was more so that what team he was on was the team I liked — I grew up wanting to be just like him.”

    Many kids wanted to be like Revis’ uncle. He is the nephew of Sean Gilbert, a defensive tackle for the Rams, Redskins, Panthers and Raiders. The third overall pick in the 1992 draft by the Rams, Gilbert spent 11 seasons in the NFL and was a 10.5-sack Pro Bowler in 1993.

    The 6’5”, 318-pounder — just like his nephew — went to both Aliquippa High and the University of Pittsburgh.

    The Aliquippa Fighting Quips program is a hotbed for producing football talent. The school has fashioned such NFL players as Mike Ditka and former Jets cornerback Ty Law in he compiled 1,637 total yards, averaging 15.4 yards per touch, and 13 touchdowns.

    A Stay-at-Home Kind of Guy

    “It has a great tradition. A lot of players went to a D-1 college and even to the NFL,” he said of his alma mater. “It’s a winning program and it’s always been and always will be in the future so it was great.

    “In my senior year we won states and everything. It was great to experience that and win it with the guys we had. We had a lot of heart on our team and we pulled it out.”

    The decision to go to Pitt after Aliquippa was an easy one for Revis — so easy that he signed his letter of intent prior to that memorable senior season. Located 40 minutes from his high school field, the university was a perfect fit for the local boy and the local boy was a perfect fit for the Pitt Panthers.

    Pitt came in and offered scholarship.”

    After tallying 129 tackles, eight interceptions and four touchdowns (two on punt returns and two on interceptions) in just three seasons, Revis decided to forgo his senior year at Pitt for the NFL Draft.

    After watching their favorite son dominate the western Pennsylvania gridiron for seven seasons, Pittsburgh's local football crazies undeniably spent nights dreaming of Revis donning the Black & Gold of their beloved Steelers.

    And this past April, Revis was perhaps just one pick away from having that become a reality. The Steelers had the 15th overall selection and were drooling at the thought of stealing Revis with that pick to shore up their defense that had helped them win the Super Bowl just two years before.

    “He was high on our list,” said Steelers first-year head coach
    The Steelers’ pre-Tomlin staff got plenty of good looks at Revis last season when the Panthers would practice and play home games at Heinz Field. The cornerback couldn’t help but picture himself on that same field in the coming years.

    “I used to watch those guys practice,” he said. “I thought one day I wanted to either be over there with them or with another team. It's just a joy to be in the NFL. It's exciting.”

    The Jets spoiled a homecoming for Revis when they traded up from their 25th pick to get Carolina’s No. 14 — one selection in front of Pittsburgh, which took FSU linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

    “I didn’t know what was going to end up happening in the draft. I mean, I really didn’t care wherever I went or what team I went to. It’s just that there was a lot of hype around me playing for the Steelers,” said Revis, who has made 57 tackles and one interception in his first nine professional games. “That was the whole talk. But if it happened, it happened. If not, oh well.”

    Revis is now the starting cornerback for the Green & White and leads them in solo tackles with 50. (He, fellow rookie David Harris and Eric Barton share the team total-tackle lead with 58 each.) On Wednesday, Tomlin, just a few days before his offense takes on Revis and the rest of the Jets defense,
    praised the rookie for his ability to perform this well this early.

    “Revis at corner is what we thought he was. He’s playing good ball for them, holding down the corner spot,” said Tomlin. “When you’re a young guy in this league at any position, you’re going to have a bull's-eye on your back, probably even more so at corner. He’s wearing it well.”

    Revis and the Jets will have to wait until Sunday afternoon to see if Tomlin plans to pepper that bull's-eye with throws from QB Ben Roethlisberger. Regardless, it will be an exciting and challenging day for Revis.

    “I saw a lot of those guys over the break. It's going to be fun and exciting to go out there and compete,” he said. “Those guys know me and I know them. The competition is going to be amped."

    In fact, the town of Aliquippa has a historical role in the legendary franchise. The town is best known as the location of Jones & Laughlin Steel – a corporation on the Ohio River that in 1905 ignited the Steel City’s most prominent product.

    But growing up in that quaint town oozing with Steelers-crazed fans, Revis separated himself from his friends and neighbors when it came to Sundays.



    I was hoping to get this kid myself, maybe when he becomes a free agent we will grab him like we did Farrior

  2. #2
    2nd String
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    MAN HE WOULD'VE BEEN AN GREAT ADDITION 2 THE STEELERS,PLUS MIKE SAID IF TIMMONSWAS GONE AN REVIS WAS THERE HE WOULD'VE TOOK HIM, MAYBE WE CAN GET HIM WHEN HIS ROOKIE CONTRACT IS UP

  3. #3
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    im not a big revis fan...wouldve been furious if we took him actually

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