FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Ty Law walked through the locker room, looking comfortable again in Jets green and white, when Kerry Rhodes yelled over to him.
"Hey, Ty!" Rhodes said with a big grin. "I love you, Ty!"
Talk about a warm welcome back. The five-time Pro Bowl cornerback passed his physical and practiced with New York on Tuesday after signing a one-year deal to rejoin the team he played for three seasons ago.
"I'm just happy I got another opportunity to come up here and play and help this team," Law said. "I think they're on the right track and they're moving in the right direction. And, I'm not the oldest guy in the locker room anymore. Thanks, Brett."
Law, who at 34 is five years younger than Brett Favre, spent the last two seasons with Kansas City. He sat out the first 10 weeks as a free agent, but coach Eric Mangini said Law was in excellent shape and could play Thursday against the Patriots (on NFL Network).
"We'll see how it goes here today," said Mangini, who knows Law from their days in New England. "I think there's definitely a chance."
The Jets released cornerback Justin Miller, a Pro Bowl kick returner in 2006, to make room for Law.
"I think he's an excellent returner," Mangini said. "I think he's got a really bright future ahead of him."
For now, the Jets believe Law helps them more in the secondary despite showing few signs during the last two seasons of being the shutdown cornerback he once was. He has 52 career interceptions, but just six in his two seasons with Kansas City.
"We know Ty," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "He's very competitive, good ball skills. We have to be careful throwing around him."
Mangini, who coached Law as New England's defensive backs coach for five seasons, said he liked the versatility Law brings and the ability to play him at both the cornerback and safety positions. Mangini added that Law would likely be more of a role player at first rather than step right into the starting lineup.
"I feel like a rookie again, as far as how they're going to utilize me," Law said. "I'm looking forward to it."
He garnered interest from New York, Cleveland and New England, where he played the first 10 years of his NFL career.
"I just didn't want to go anywhere and play my last few years," Law said. "Where I'm at is right. I didn't take advantage of a couple of opportunities and that's my fault. I could've been out there playing."
Law said he was very close -- holding up his thumb and index finger barely an inch apart -- to signing with the Patriots.
"There's always going to be a relationship with the Patriots organization and the fans," Law said. "I just chose to come here to New York. I'm a Jet right now and they've got to be the enemy."
Law is wearing a new jersey number this time around, taking the No. 22 he wore during his college days at Michigan. Second-year cornerback Darrelle Revis wears No. 24 -- in honor of his mentor -- but Law didn't ask him to give up the number.
"He told me I can still keep it," Revis said with a laugh. "I guess that's the friendship side of it, that I can keep my number."
Revis, who has started every game in his first two NFL seasons, looked up to Law while growing up in the same hometown of Aliquippa, Pa.
"He called me before it even went on the air, but I didn't believe him, though," Revis said. "I was like, 'No, you're not coming.' He was like, 'Yeah, I am. I'll be up there in an hour."'
Law, a first-round pick by the Patriots in 1995, helped New England to three Super Bowl titles. He signed with the Jets in 2005 after being released by the Patriots, and had a career-high 10 interceptions and was voted to the Pro Bowl.
He was released by the Jets after that season and followed coach Herm Edwards to Kansas City, which cut him after last season.
Miller, 24, was a second-round pick by the Jets in 2005, but struggled with injuries the last two seasons and never firmly established himself as a starting cornerback.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press