Word associaton with Darrelle Revis

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Word associaton with Darrelle Revis

Darrelle Revis called Bill Belichick a "jerk" yesterday on SportsCenter, and there are at least two reasons why this shouldn't be a big deal.

1. If Belichick is a jerk, Revis is a loud mouth. A dude who never shies away from public controversy, whether he's calling out Randy Moss for a lack of effort or angrily hanging up on Mike Francesca. To be honest, it probably would have been a bigger shock if Revis went on ESPN and didn't say something stupid. So in a way, his jerk comment is almost soothing.

2. Belichick kind of is a jerk. Even as a Patriots fan, you have to admit that. If you played that same word association game with any NFL player, coach or fan on the planet, how many would say jerk when it came to Belichick? A lot, right? Whatever. It doesn't change the way we view him and will forever remember him here in New England.

Belichick's a jerk? To quote a guy, "It is what it is." And it's not a big deal, especially within the framework of one of the league's fiercest rivalries.

If you ask me, I doubt Belichick's nearly as upset with what Revis said as he with the fact that Rob Gronkowski was on camera with the cornerback to begin with. That Gronk's crusade for the cover of Madden '13 led to him fraternizing with the enemy on National TV. That said fraternization led to someone calling Belichick a jerk was just insult to injury.

That's not to say the Revis jab will go unnoticed by the coach. I don't think anyone will be surprised if Belichick has a little something for Revis (a la Derrick Mason) the next time the action brings him over by to the Patriots sidelines. But until then, I'm sure he's far more riled up by the non-stop media circus that has been Rob Gronkowski's offseason.

You know Belichick likes to keep tabs on his players, but he doesn't like it to be so easy.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Steelers descending into disarray?

Steelers descending into disarray?

Less than 48 hours removed from openly wondering if the AFC Championship Game stage was “too big” for some of his young teammates, Ben Roethlisberger has decided to play the latter-day Hamlet/Brett Favre game.

Speaking on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday, Roethlisberger hinted at retirement.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options,” Roethlisberger said. “To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season. All those things. I think at this point in my career, at my age, that’s the prudent and smart thing to do every year.”

The soon-to-be-35-year-old Roethlisberger is a likely Hall of Famer who’s still arguably one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL. But for whatever reason, he’s got an insatiable need for people to register concern about his status. Whether it be limping around the field, lamenting injuries or this, few quarterbacks in the league go through the same histrionics Roethlisberger does in order to get those, “Attaboy, Ben!” backslaps.

I remember being at Steelers training camp in 2009 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and having veteran Steelers writers roll their eyes as Roethlisberger started hopping around like he was on hot coals after a throw. The quarterback having an owie act was a daily tradition.

Roethlisberger’s also got a passive aggressive side in which he’ll deftly twist the knife on coaches and teammates but leave himself enough room for plausible deniability.

In addition to openly wondering if his young teammates took the AFC Championship Game seriously enough, Roethlisberger gave the “just running the plays as I’m told” answer when asked about the Steelers resistance to running a quarterback sneak when they were at the Patriots goal line before halftime. Roethlisberger could have taken offensive coordinator Todd Haley off the hook there – he’s lobbied for Haley to get a head coaching shot after the two had a bad relationship when Haley arrived. But he opted not to.

Similarly, earlier this year, Roethlisberger’s critiques of the way head coach Mike Tomlin was running the team were aired. 

So, this could be part of a Roethlisberger power play aimed at the Steelers bowing to his wishes.

That wasn’t the only tidbit from Pittsburgh that looked bad for the AFC finalists. Linebacker Bud Dupree said the Steelers were surprised by the Patriots using an up-tempo offense earlier in the game. 

Do they not have electricity or internet access in the Steelers facility? Up-tempo is a staple part of the Patriots offensive diet. You can see it on the television or the internet through your smart phone.

While there’s no doubt that defensive coordinator Keith Butler – and defensive minded head coach Tomlin – were aware and talked about the Patriots going no-huddle, the fact Dupree (and his teammates) were unable to recall the preparation or adequately fall into an emergency plan to address it does fall on the coaches.

Need more? It’s also being leaked out of the building that Antonio Brown cares too much about his statistics. He made clear last week how much he cares about advancing his personal brand at the expense of Tomlin and the team with his Facebook Live video. 

If there’s an upside for anyone in all this, it would have to be Joey Porter. Nobody’s even talking about his off-field fracas anymore.

As this season ably demonstrated, the Patriots have plum run out of authentic rivals in the AFC. That the team they just pulverized is steamrolling into an offseason of dysfunction and uncertainty isn't good if you like parity. But it's terrific if you couldn't care less.