On the first day of the 2013 NFL regular season, Darelle Revis is expected to suit up and run out of the tunnel at MetLife Stadium.
But this is far from just another season in the star cornerback's six-year career. Not only will he be returning from a torn ACL which sidelined him for most of the 2012 season, he will be wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey.
There's a sort of symmetry in the fact that Revis, who spent his first six seasons with the New York Jets, will play his first game for the Bucs against the team that drafted him.
Of course, earlier this year many fans didn't know when to expect Revis back. While he tore his ACL early in the 2012 season (Week 3 against the Dolphins), these injuries are all different. Adrian Peterson came back about eight months after a similar injury, while Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose was sidelined for more than a year after tearing his ACL.
But all reports from Tampa indicate that Revis is running, cutting and feeling good about his knee.
“That’s the goal is to be out there Week 1 and play,'' Revis said during the Bucs' recent OTAs. "If there’s anything other than that, we’ll have to see when the time comes. But yeah, we’ve got to have the goal set and coach has the same goals, too, for me to be out there from Day One."
Perhaps it shouldn't come as a total surprise that Revis has worked his way into shape. The 27-year-old is known for his grueling offseason workouts. But because he hasn't been able to resume football activities, there's still some question as to whether Revis will be able to stick to his Game 1 timeline.
Until then, Bucs fans will have to rely on updates from Revis and team executives. And so far, so good.
"Totally confident," general manager Mark Dominik Dominik said of Revis' chances to play Week 1. "He's in great shape right now, he's running full speed, he's cutting, he's doing all the things we'd want him to do from a training standpoint, a rehabilitation standpoint."