With the 2004 Patriots convening for the first time as an entire team at their lone mandatory mini-camp, this has become the week to make everything better. First, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis made clear that he is not unhappy with his contract and his situation in New England, and then on Thursday it was cornerback Ty Law's turn.
Law, who engaged in a verbal assault of head coach Bill Belichick during the offseason regarding what he termed an "insulting" contract extension offer, met with Belichick in the morning and then addressed the media following the team's first mini-camp practice. Like Weis earlier in the week, Law cleared the air.
"We talked and it's business as usual," Law said. "It's time to move on. The past is the past. We shook hands because it was a good meeting, but we're going to keep it in house. We talked about our differences and now we're out to accomplish the same mission – that's to bring home another championship.
"I'm under contract and like I said from day one, I was always willing to stand up to the contract I currently have. I never had a problem with it. As long as I'm playing under that contract, I'm more than happy."
Law is scheduled to make about $17 million over the next two seasons and was offered an extension that guaranteed him $15.6 million over those two years in what was a four-year, $24 million offer. His response to that made it clear he wanted out of New England.
"I can't even see myself putting on that uniform again. That's how bad I feel about playing there," he said earlier in the offseason.
Thursday, he had a much different tone as he smiled and claimed that there were no hard feelings on his end about what happened in the offseason.
"None as far as I can tell," he responded. "This is a business. Things that happen during the offseason are offseason. But the season has started now. During the offseason when you're talking about contracts, everybody is an independent contractor. But when we're out here as a team together, we're all trying to accomplish the same thing and that's to bring home another championship. [Bill and I] have to be out here together fighting for our championship. He's going to coach and I'm going to play."
Law stopped short, however, of apologizing for his offseason words, but rather claimed some of his comments were taken out of context, specifically his now infamous "I gotta eat" comment.
"You all got a big kick out of that. [Heck,] I've been eating well for a long time. People didn't understand the question that was asked, which was would I hold out of camp. I thought that was a pretty ignorant question because I never threatened to hold out and never asked for more money in the first place. I made a comment that I have a family and I have children. I said "I gotta eat" and that's all anyone heard. Nobody heard what was asked. People took a story and ran with it, which is what you guys do.
"It's not about apologizing for anything I said. I'm a man and can stand up to anything I said. It is what it is. I still believe certain things and have my own feelings, but I'm not going to keep badgering about it."
Quarterback Tom Brady said he believes that players are not concerned with Law's offseason squabble, but rather winning football games.
"I think the only thing guys care about is what Ty does on the field," Brady said. "I think the only thing that can be a distraction is what's a distraction for you. All the guys here are just trying to make the team, trying to do their best. You let all that outside stuff play out with the people who are involved."
One of those people was Belichick, who offered little on the situation. "It's my job to coach the team and get it ready. It's his job to play," Belichick said. "I have a player-coach relationship with every player and it's between a player and a coach. I have nothing more to say [about it.]"
For his part, Law has reversed his stance on playing for the only NFL from which he has earned a paycheck.
"I'm a Patriot and I'm glad to be. We're world champions so you can't be upset or mad too long. I would love to play here and retire as a Patriot. This is where I started. This is where I want to finish," he said.
Law had one of his best seasons last year and finished with 77 tackles and six interceptions, not including his three postseason interceptions in the AFC Championship Game. He also broke up 23 passes. Law's 35 career interceptions leave him one shy of Raymond Clayborn's franchise record.
With the situation apparently behind him, Law can look forward to perhaps breaking Clayborn's record in 2004. And like Weis, he is moving forward and focusing on helping the team win.