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Laughter, love dominate Ty Law's Patriots Hall of Fame induction
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If last summer’s Tedy Bruschi induction was the most emotional ceremony in Patriots Hall of Fame history, this year’s Ty Law event was easily the funniest. From the introduction by owner Robert Kraft to Law’s own remarks, the assembled crowd would have been excused if they mistook the proceedings for a night at the Improv.
As is almost always the case for a Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the fickle New England weather was more than cooperative. Fans filled both the plaza surrounding the Hall, as well as the steps leading up from the plaza to Patriot Place, on a gorgeous late afternoon on the first day of August.
Law was given his bright red Patriots Hall jacket, becoming the 20th player and 22nd inductee in the Patriots Hall of Fame. The cornerback out of the University of Michigan was New England’s first-round draft choice in 1995 and spent the next 10 seasons in Foxborough, helping the team win its three Super Bowl titles. Along the way, he was invited to four Pro Bowls and named to two All Pro teams.
The festivities began with three of Law’s former teammates – running back Kevin Faulk, wide receiver Troy Brown, and linebacker Tedy Bruschi – sharing their favorite stories of their times on and off the field with Ty Law. All three had some comical quips for their pal from Aliquippa, Pa.
“Ty picks off a pass, takes it to the house, I’m chugging down there to celebrate with him and he starts doing his dance. I turn around and head to the sideline saying, ‘Oh, I can’t do that.’ I had to learn to dance to celebrate with Ty Law,” Bruschi joked with the crowd.
Faulk then entertained the audience with a story from his second year in the league. When the coaches gave them a night off, several players went out to a restaurant next to the camp facilities at Bryant College.
“I used to run my mouth about being from Louisiana and how much I could drink. Well, next morning I went to practice pretty much drunk,” Faulk laughed.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft first reminded the fans about “The Ty Law Rule,” instituted by the NFL after the 2003 season to cut down on the aggressive play by cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage, epitomized by Law.
“Every week, those receivers fought Ty Law… and the Law won,” Kraft said. “Ty was the best, and if you don’t believe me, just ask him.”
But the owner brought the house down with a story about Law following the 2004 season when the team won its third championship. Law was going through a contract negotiation with the team and had just received what he considered an insufficient final offer from the club.
“I’m walking through the locker room and Ty seeks me out,” Kraft said. “He says, ‘Hey, what are y’all doing? Do you know who I am? I’m Ty [expletive] Law! I’m Ty [expletive] Law!”
The crowd laughed, but that was only the setup to his punchline.
The crowd roared.
Finally, it was Law’s turn.
He started off slowly, thanking the fans for continuing to support him by wearing his jersey when he went on the play for several other teams in the NFL, including the rival jets.
“When I was sleeping with the enemy, you guys still had that  jersey on.”
A woman in the crowd then broke the brief silence by yelling, “Love you, Ty!”
“I love you,” he responded. “Thank you very much.”
Law then recounted how much he cared for Kraft, to whom he said no other NFL owner could compare.
“He always called me his second son (second draft pick). He cared about me as a person. What epitomized the relationship was that he was going through one of the toughest times of his life with the passing of his wife Myra. I was being honored at The Tradition in Boston. Myra wasn’t doing well and I was told that he wouldn’t be able to attend. Low and behold, when it’s time to present me with the award, he comes walking in. That was the moment for me. You left your wife’s side because you were committed to me. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Anytime you call me, I’ll be there.”
That formality out of the way, Law was free to unleash his best material.
“Look at this place,” he said, referencing Gillette Stadium and surrounding Patriot Place. “No expense was spared… but there were expenses being spared back in 1995.”
He joked about the dilapidated facilities at the old Foxboro Stadium, and how he prayed he wouldn’t get drafted by the Patriots after a pre-draft visit. Leaving “the civilization of Boston” and driving down Route 1 – not in a limo, as he hoped, but in a blue van with scotch-taped Patriots logos – he wound up at the End Zone hotel just down the street from the stadium.
“I expected an NFL owner to be ballin’,” Law said, “but Mr. Kraft was ballin’ on a budget!”
But he said he was glad God didn’t answer his prayers, calling his decade as a Patriot “the best 10 years of my playing career, and of my life.”
Law next thanked his teammates for putting him in position to make so many big plays. Those in attendance he asked to stand up and be recognized.
“Sit down now,” Law jabbed, “some of us have not aged well.”
Again, he and the crowd laughed hard.
“The Vince Lombardi Trophy… We’re going to have to reevaluate that at some point. [Belichick’s] records are going to stand for a long time.”
In the end, Law turned serious as he thanked his agent and financial advisor, then his family. That’s when he broke down and a few tears began to flow. He thanked his kids, apologizing for not being there as much for them as he wanted when he was playing.
“When I’m dead and gone, you come here and see Daddy in the Hall of Fame.”
Law also thanked his mother, sitting in the front row, for her support growing up and when they talked on the phone once he got to the NFL.
“‘Get an interception for mommy.’ That was our ‘I love you’ on game day,” he revealed.
Looking back at his past and giving thanks for his successful present as a business owner, Law concluded by pointing to the future. He acknowledged cornerback Darrelle Revis, his fellow Aliquippa, Pa. native and new owner of Patriots jersey 24. Law promised fans that more good times were ahead for the Patriots. Read