Success Tips from NY Jets Cornerback Darrelle Revis

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Just a few weeks ago, Darrelle Revis once again became a New York Jet.  In doing so, he became the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.  While writing The Common Thread of Overcoming Adversity and Living Your Dreams, I had the opportunity to sit down with this legend in the making and am happy to share his story with you.

“Motivate yourself.  Be consistent in everything you do.  Write down your goals each day and post them on your wall – I still do it.” These are just a few of the tips that NY Jet cornerback Darrelle Revis shared when I sat with him while interviewing people for The Common Thread book.

Perhaps it is this mindset, along with his talent and ability to overcome adversity and rise above situations that keep most people down, that has made him the player who many consider the best cornerback in the National Football League.

The New York Jets signed Revis to a five-year $70 million contract on March 10, 2015.  The deal will pay him $48 million in the first three years, including $39 million in full guarantees.

“I believe everybody in this world can be great but you won’t be if you don’t begin,” said Revis.

Darrelle Revis began playing sports in his home town of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.  Aliquippa was a rundown neighborhood riddled with drugs and gangs.  According to Darrelle, the only thing that kept the town going was Friday night football.

“There was a lot of peer pressure as a teenager.  A lot of guys did not know how to do the right thing.  I listened to the right people and clung to their words.  You have to block out adversity and focus on that one thing you need to do and do it great.  I decided to make sports my thing.  My goal was to be a pro.”

Darrelle’s mom and dad separated when Darrelle was only a boy.  His mom, Diana Gilbert, worked three jobs and served a positive role model for her son.  “I wanted to be positive and productive like her.”

Another strong role model for Darrelle was his Uncle Sean Gilbert, who played high school football for Aliquippa as well and had a 12-year NFL career as a defensive tackle.  “I listened to him every step of the way.”

Other Aliquippa players to make it in the NFL include Mike Ditka and fellow cornerback Ty Law, who is a very close friend and mentor to Revis.

In high school, Revis’ athletic ability was not only displayed on the football field, but also on the basketball court and in track and field. He was named the 2003 Player of the Year by several Pennsylvania newspapers.

After high school, following in his Uncle Sean’s footsteps, Darrelle played football for the University of Pittsburgh.  He had an impressive collegiate career which culminated in being nominated for several awards.  Most memorable is his 2006 73-yard punt return, breaking several tackles, and finally scoring a touchdown late in the second quarter against rivals West Virginia Cavaliers.  The play was nominated for “Best Play” at the 2007 ESPY Awards and was voted the best College Football Play of the Year.

Revis was drafted in the first round (14th overall) by the Jets in the 2007 NFL Draft.  The Jets named him the starting cornerback after his first pre-season.  He was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014.  He has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013)  and the New England Patriots (2014), where he earned his first Super Bowl Championship.

When I asked Darrelle what he feels holds people back from reaching their fullest potential, he replied:

“People are sometimes afraid to be the best they can. They are held back by what might happen in the future.”

“You have to enjoy the stuff you do.  I have no anxiety before a game. I am prepared. I’m always thinking about then next play.”

Have you found what you enjoy doing in life?  What steps are you taking to prepare for the next play?

by Jerry  Gladstone