FOXBORO -- Remember that word association game Darrelle Revis and Rob Gronkowski played on SportsCenter back in 2012? The one where Revis called Bill Belichick a "jerk" and made Gronkowski's eyes bulge from their sockets?
All in the past.
Just before signing as a free agent this offseason with New England, Revis said his opinion of Belichick -- a longtime rival during Revis' time with the Jets -- has changed course.
"I think it changed the first time through the whole process when I got released from Tampa and talking to teams," Revis said. "And I actually got to sit down and talk with Belichick, and I think it changed during that conversation when we sat down together and just had a good conversation. We moved forward. Whatever we had in the past, we put it behind us. I think it changed during that moment."
During offseason workouts, OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Revis said he and Belichick have gotten to know each other better.
Though the corner has long been unafraid to speak his mind, he explained on Thursday that he understands the hierarchy: Belichick is the boss. And he's OK with that.
"When you're on the outside looking in when you're playing with another organization, you look at things totally different," Revis said. "Especially coming from New York and New England being up here, it's a lot. You look at things totally different. That's with any player. Shaun Ellis came here -- there are a bunch of guys who crossed over. Once you cross over and see -- when you're on the inside looking out -- it's a totally different perspective. That's how you look at it. Everybody here has accepted me as much as they can to make it feel like home. Even Bill has. I feel fine with it. I'm fine. We're on good terms."
Following Thursday's workout inside the Dana Farber Field House, Belichick brought soccer balls onto the turf -- perhaps inspired by World Cup play -- and let his players kick them around for a bit.
For a player new to the system, like Revis, those are the kinds of moments that are kept out of sight of the cameras that endear Belichick to his players.
Though it's still early in Revis' tenure in New England, he already has a glowing impression of his new coach.
"One, he's a great coach. I really respect him for winning three championships. I really do," Revis said. "Another thing is that I feel like he's a players' coach. A lot of people might not say that outside looking in, but we're with Bill everyday. We hang out with him every day. We're in the meetings with him every day, so we're around him all the time. I really feel like he's a players' coach. I feel like he runs it how he wants to run it, but at the same time, you have to go out here and work."
Revis was not out at mini-camp on Wednesday, but he was back on the field Thursday participating in drills with the Patriots defense. He said Wednesday's absence was nothing to worry about.
"I'm fine," Revis said. "I'll leave the injury report up to Bill. Whatever he says, he says. But I'm fine. I was here today and I practiced today."
Last season was Revis' first coming off of ACL surgery. With a full season and offseason under his belt since the procedure, he says the health of his knee is not on his mind.
"That's not a concern," he said. "Even though that has been a long process, it's not a concern. I'm moving good. I'm happy to be where I'm at, physically, and just keep on building on top of that and getting ready for the season."