When Darrelle Revis became a free agent in 2014 and 2015, he was in such demand that it took him only a few hours to sign with his next team -- yes, hours. Clearly, the third time isn't the charm. The hours have turned into months.
Revis, released by the New York Jets on March 9, still hasn't found a team. Think about that: The most accomplished cornerback of the past decade, a likely Hall of Famer, has been unemployed for 74 days. He's not coming off a major injury and he's not ancient, even by NFL standards -- two months shy of his 32nd birthday.
Yet he hasn't generated any legitimate interest on the open market. It's almost as if Revis Island has become Three Mile Island -- radioactive.
ESPN.com contacted officials from four different teams -- a head coach, a team executive, a personnel director and a scout -- and the consensus is there's no market for Revis because of a significant decline last season and whispers about his commitment.
At the same time, those same four believe there's a place for Revis in the league if he agrees to a relatively modest contract and convinces team brass he still has the passion to play. They also said he'd have to find a scheme fit. No longer a shutdown, man-to-man corner, he might be best suited to a zone-based system.
"He has lost a step with his age and some change-of-direction [ability] with his knee [surgery in 2012]," said the head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I still believe he can do an adequate job at corner. I'm not sure if he has the range for free safety. He used to be a physical tackler, but with age that's gotten worse, so playing strong safety is out of the question. Let him play corner with some protection and he'll do fine."
Revis hasn't spoken publicly since March 15, when he addressed reporters outside a Pittsburgh courtroom after being exonerated on felony assault charges stemming from a February street fight. He reiterated his desire to keep playing, saying, "The hunger is definitely there." He vowed to rededicate himself, saying he expected teams to start calling.
Two months later ... crickets.
"I think he can still play -- not an elite player, but at a good level," the team executive said. "I'm a little surprised he hasn't signed yet."
Prospective employers no longer have to worry about potential league discipline relating to the Pittsburgh incident. The NFL, which continued to review the matter even after the charges were dismissed, has cleared Revis, according to a league spokesman.
Revis is in an unusual situation because he gets paid $6 million from the Jets even if he sits out the season, the final guarantee in the five-year, $70 million contract he signed in 2015. If a team offers him the $1 million minimum, the Jets are on the hook for the remaining $5 million. Basically, he'd be playing for free. That might be a tough swallow for someone who has made $118 million in his 10-year career, according to Spotrac.com.
His new agent, Zach Hiller, didn't return messages seeking comment on his client's future. Revis hired Hiller after a bitter divorce last spring from his longtime agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod. Hiller, a certified agent since 2014, hasn't negotiated any player contracts, according to the NFLPA website.
One former teammate said he wouldn't be stunned if Revis decides to retire.
"No, I wouldn't be surprised," Jets tackle Ben Ijalana said last week. "He has played at a high level and he's done everything, including a championship. [He has] all the accolades -- all-this, all-that, all-world. If he retires, I'd respect that decision. If he still wants to play, I'm watching him."
Linebacker David Harris, drafted the same year as Revis (2007), believes his ex-mate has too much pride to leave the game after a bitterly disappointing year.
"I think he'll keep playing," Harris said. "I think he has a lot of football left in him. He didn't have his best year last year, and he knew that. I'm sure somebody will pick him up. He knows too much about the sport and he's too good a player to be finished."
It was a humbling season for the seven-time Pro Bowl selection, who didn't record his first interception until the 55th minute of the 16th game. Privately, the Jets were taken aback by his decline and how, at times, he appeared disinterested. Revis himself admitted he showed up for training camp out of shape.
On March 1, he was informed of his pending release -- hardly a surprise. What does it say that the Jets were willing to pay him up to $6 million not to play for them?
"His tape is so bad that it's probably scaring a lot of teams away," the scout said. "If he still thinks he's a starter -- and wants to be paid like a starter -- that will be an issue."
Based on the cornerback market, it's hard to imagine him landing a deal for more than $6 million. Even though his resume is far superior to that of any free agent, it's a cutthroat business with no room for sentimentality. No one will pay him for what he did in 2014, when he won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. It's possible he won't sign until August, waiting for injuries across the league to take their toll. He also can use the extra time to work out.
Since his junior year at Pitt, Revis has trained at the Fischer Institute in Phoenix, working under defensive backs guru Will Sullivan. Like clockwork, he showed up there every offseason to prepare for training camp.
Sullivan said he hasn't heard from Revis since last season -- Week 3, to be exact.
"I don't know why," Sullivan said in a phone interview. "We never had a problem."
Sullivan said he wouldn't be surprised if Revis, his oldest client, called in a couple of weeks to set up a visit.
That might be wishful thinking. Truth be told, very few people know what's happening in Revis' mind. He keeps a small circle of confidantes, mostly family members. Since the incident in Pittsburgh, he has maintained a low profile.
"I hope he plays," Ijalana said. "I always want to see guys end on good notes. But, more importantly, I want to see a guy end on his own terms."