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NFL Media's Andrea Kremer goes inside Darrelle Revis' comeback

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NFL Network on Tuesday night presented "A Football Life," looking at Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis' comeback from an ACL injury last season and talking to him every step of the way.

Buccaneers.com interviewed Andrea Kremer, NFL Media's player health and safety chief correspondent, about her work in documenting Revis' return to the field for "A Football Life."

Kremer discussed how the idea for documenting Revis' recovery originated.

"About a year ago, just sitting in an ideas meeting at the network, I threw out, 'What if this season we have an Adrian Peterson-type name who is injured and out for the season?'" Kremer recalled. "Should we see about documenting that and following that story for the season?' And everybody looked at me kind of like I had four heads. Then Revis got injured."


As Kremer would soon learn, Revis was a reserved man despite his star status, and the type of teammate who preferred to blend in as just another in the locker room. NFL Films wasn't the only organization interested in his post-injury story, but Revis turned down an offer to be paid to have his rehab chronicled. He wasn't easily sold on Kremer's offer, either, but he trusted her and the NFL Films crew and agreed to bring them along for the ride.


"Darrelle is a very private person, and this is not something that he in any way sought out or in any way thought, 'I really want to do this,'" said Kremer. "There were times that he didn't want us around and we had to kind of ... talk him into it, but he couldn't have been more professional.


Kremer said the taping took immediate action because there was little time between Revis' injury in Week 2 last season and his surgery.


"What really stuck out for me was the hospital," said Kremer. "Because, you know what? These guys are world-class athletes, multi-millionaires, first-round picks. ... but when you're in the hospital and you've got that little nasty shower-cap on your head, going into surgery, you're just as vulnerable as any other patient."


When this process began, Kremer and her crew weren't completely sure what they had on their hands. It was, to some extent, uncharted territory. Was it a documentary? Was it a news report on the process of ACL recovery, following Peterson's amazing comeback? In the end, it was just real life, there in the NFL margins, even for one of its biggest stars. Especially for one of its biggest stars.


"People have complimented the access we got here, and it's real," said Kremer. "There's no question that there was nothing staged in this year-long process. Nothing in the hospital, nothing. You're getting them at their most vulnerable, and that humanizes them.


"He wouldn't admit, but he admitted it was there, and that was the bar set by Adrian Peterson, which is unrealistic. One of the things I have learned is that every single ACL is different. You don't know the extent of it until the doctor gets in there. Every ACL is different, every body is different, not to mention that Revis and Peterson play different positions."


Kremer said Revis' mother, Diana Askew, impressed her throughout the shooting. Kremer praised Askew for the way she raised Revis and her involvement in his college and pro football life.


Revis' mother, Diana Askew, is a critical part of the story that Kremer tells. Kremer describes Revis as "a man who was brought up the right way," and promises that Askew will be the star of Tuesday night's show. And if that's not enough, Askew even provided Kremer with her favorite moment of the documentary, or at least the best bit of comic relief.


In a development almost too good to be true for Kremer and the NFL Films folks, Tampa Bay's season opener -- and thus Revis' Buccaneer debut -- came in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets. The Football Life crew spent the game in a luxury box with Askew, and they captured a classic moment when Askew got caught up in the game's excitement.


"She's got a big personality and a loud voice and she's a great cheerleader, and she screams out at the top of her lungs with all the enthusiasm of the biggest fan in the world: 'Go Jets! Go Jets!'", related Kremer with a laugh. "We showed [Darelle] the video and he says, 'What did she say?' And it's a very funny moment. Then she started to talk herself out of it -- 'I really wanted the Jets to hurry up.' He said, 'It's on camera, you can't hide it!' That was a funny and real moment."


-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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