Darrelle Revis was in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend when he was recognized by a Hispanic boy. The kid didn't speak much English, but he ran up to the Jets star and started shouting, "Revis Island! Revis Island!"
Revis couldn't help but laugh. Cornerbacks aren't supposed to receive the rock-star treatment -- a phenomenon usually reserved for quarterbacks -- but he has transcended boundaries. He's got the game, the charisma and the catchphrase -- Revis Island, which he has copyrighted. It's the perfect storm for athletic celebrity.
"I'm not saying this because I'm his best friend, but it's out of control," said John Geiger, who has known Revis since their childhood days in Western Pennsylvania.
Geiger, 24, was hired two months ago as Revis' business manager. He has witnessed Revis' growing popularity from the best seat in the house.
They met as high school basketball rivals, Revis from Aliquippa, Pa., Geiger from nearby McKees Rocks, and they became friends while playing on the same AAU summer team. Revis was the point guard, Geiger a 6-5 shooting guard. Their team made it to the nationals before getting blown out by a squad that featured Rudy Gay, currently of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.
Since then, Geiger has been riding shotgun in Revis' career, going from friend to confidante -- man-to-man coverage, if you will. At times, he marvels at Revis' stature.
He was with Revis when rapper Ice T approached and told him, "I'm a fan of yours."
He was with Revis at a nightclub in Miami during Super Bowl week when they were informed by a bodyguard that rapper Lil Wayne wanted to meet Revis.
"That's when I knew he was big," said Geiger, who graduated in December from Point Park University in Pittsburgh with a degree in criminal justice.
One time, they bumped into rapper Snoop Dogg, who simply said, "Revis Island."
Geiger travels with Revis around the country, and he's amazed that so many people use the "Revis Island" reference. When the mayor of New York refers to Manhattan as Revis Island, as hizzoner Michael Bloomberg did in January during a pep rally before a Jets playoff game, it's bound to catch on.
Part of Geiger's job as business manager is to sift through endorsement opportunities. He said he's flooded with them on a daily basis. In the coming days, Revis will debut in new commercials for Nike and Dick's Sporting Goods, the latter with a Revis Island reference in the spot.
Geiger handles publicity for Revis, makes travel arrangements and manages his schedule -- pretty much everything except negotiate his football contract. That job falls to Revis' New York-based agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, who are trying to secure a long-term extension.
Asked to describe a side of Revis that fans may not know, Geiger mentioned his friend's fledgling career as a rap artist. Revis writes his own lyrics and performs, sometimes spending several hours in a studio.
"I've seen him in a studio until 3 a.m., then go to practice," Geiger said. "He's like a damn machine."
Geiger knew Revis was destined for something special on Dec. 14, 2006, the night of the Pitt star's famous punt-return touchdown against West Virginia. It was voted ESPN's College Football Play of the Year.
"I was at my aunt's pizza shop, making pizza," Geiger said. "I had the dough in hands when I saw the play on TV. I'm like, 'Hey, that's my best friend.'"
Four years later, Revis is making the dough, and Geiger is helping manage it.