Foxborough, Mass. - While Patriots veteran cornerback Ty Law is making progress from a broken bone in his left foot, he's also lamenting the fact he won't be matching up with Bengals' Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson when the teams meet on Sunday.
Law, who had the cast removed from the foot early last week, was without his walking boot Thursday and said he has "graduated" from the exercise bike portion of his rehabilitation. Although he is hopeful to return before the end of the regular season, he would have looked forward to the challenge and the spotlight as a result of lining up opposite Johnson.
"I kind of wish I was 100 percent healthy because I know that if I'm covering Chad [Johnson], all the cameras would be on us," Law said. " I [would be] like, 'May the best man win.'"
Johnson, who leads the AFC in receptions (75) and receiving yards (1,0171), is known as much for his sometimes-outlandish behavior as his production on the field. Earlier this season, he made headlines when he sent packages to several of the Cleveland defensive backs containing different health remedies prior to their match up against the Bengals. Law believes much of what Johnson does surrounding the game is taken in a different way then the actions are intended.
"I haven't gotten anything in my locker," Law said. "That's [Johnson] for you. I think people take out of context what he's doing. He's a fun guy. I had an opportunity to be around him a little bit at the Pro Bowl. He's just out there having fun. He'll sit there and say something, just like when we played there in the preseason and we were running around the field, 'I'm coming for you No. 24.' That's just his way of energizing it to make the game fun. Alot of people take his [actions] out of context. He goes out there and he performs, and that's what he is. He takes the opportunity when the lights and the cameras are on, to sit there - if he does beat you - to talk a little bit of trash just to bring some attention to everything.
"Chad, he is who he is. I think it brings a little bit of fun to the game. For the most part, Chad Johnson is going out there and putting up numbers, and I respect him for that."
Law wasn't so sure, at first, what he would be inclined to send to Johnson as a message.
"You know what? That's not my style," Law said before taking the bait. "I would send him me in a package. I would wrap a bow around me and pop out of a little [cake]."
Sullivan In The Mix
The Patriots may be feeling a bit fortunate with the signing of offensive lineman Marques Sullivan. Sullivan, who was listed as inactive for 11 weeks on the New York Giants' roster before being released, signed with the Patriots Dec. 3 and is projected to be the top backup at both tackle positions behind Matt Light and Brandon Gorin. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick indicated that Sullivan has the necessary skills and background, but will need time to find out whether he fits in the Patriots system.
"He's getting there," Belichick said. "I think the skills are there, I don't think that's a problem. He definitely looks the part. He looks like a tackle. He's tall, he's athletic, he has good size, runs well, has good feet. We'll have to see how quickly he can adapt to the system."
Sullivan, who has the advantage of being able to play all four line positions other than center, has started 22 of his 32 career games in four seasons. He also has the advantage of working in the system of New York head coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator John Hufnagel, who was the Patriots quarterback coach last season. It was suggested to Belichick that it's not often players of Sullivan's caliber are found so late in the season.
"That's why we brought him in," Belichick said. "Nothing totally surprises you. Teams get in situations and they make moves sometimes out of necessity because of they're being stressed in other positions."
The Patriots injury report remained unchanged Thursday. Law (foot) is out. Cornerback Tyrone Poole (knee) is doubtful, while tight end Daniel Graham (rib), cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder), and linebackers Matt Chatham (hamstring) and Roman Phifer (calf) remain questionable. The team reported all of the above players missed a portion of team practice.
Running back Corey Dillon, who missed almost the entire second half of last week's game against Cleveland, was listed as probable again Thursday with a thigh injury and also missed portions of practice for the second straight day. Cornerback Randall Gay (arm) and quarterbacks Tom Brady (shoulder) and Jim Miller (shoulder) remain probable.
As of results released Wednesday, Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri and special teams player Larry Izzo lead their respective positions in votes for AFC Pro Bowl balloting through Dec. 6. The Pro Bowl teams will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 22. ... ESPN's Chris Berman attended Belichick's daily press briefing today. Belichick greeted Berman with a "Swami" as he arrived at the podium to answer questions. ... Belichick noted that running back Patrick Pass has improved in "all areas" since he has been with the Patriots, including blitz pick up, blocking and on special teams. ... He wasn't interested in ranking him against other tight ends in the league, but Belichick said Graham was among the best blockers at his position. "He's athletic enough to get out there and stay on him. A lot of guys can initially get the position, but being able to sustain it, that's the thing about blocking at tight end."