The Patriots welcome back a familiar face this Sunday to Gillette Stadium as former cornerback Ty Law returns as a member of the New York Jets. Law was a key component for two of the Patriots Super Bowl titles. Law spent 10 years in New England before signing with the Jets this summer.
Law missed most of the 2004 season with a broken foot that required surgery. The surgery Law had was serious and it caused many teams to shy away from signing him. The Patriots did make an effort to resign him but Law decided to take a one-year deal with the Jets instead.
Law's surgically repaired foot is still not 100 percent. The corner has admitted to playing at a weight that is a little heavy for him because he wasn't able to run as much as he normally does this offseason. Law has had an up and down season with the Jets. He has five interceptions but he's also been called for nine pass interference/illegal contact penalties, while six more have been declined.
Even though he is still working himself back into shape, Bill Belichick said on Wednesday Law continues to be a very dangerous cornerback.
"I think Ty is playing well," Belichick said. "He has five interceptions and has been close to picking off many more passes this year. You don't want to throw a bad ball around him. Ty likes to hit receivers and make plays and we know he can do that with the best of them."
Belichick and Law had a strained relationship towards the end of his stay in New England but Law told ESPN Radio on Tuesday the two have reconciled any differences they may have had in the past and he has no personal grudges against the Patriots.
Law did, however, say he is aware of the problems the Patriots are having in the defensive backfield and feels like things might have been different if he was still with the team.
"You're not a true cornerback if you don't have an ego," Law said. "I do look at the Patriots and the problems they're having and say 'I could have made that play,' but I look at a lot of teams and say that because a lot of teams passed on me."
Law called Tom Brady the best quarterback in the NFL but said he wouldn't mind if his former teammate picked on him this Sunday.
"If he picks on me, it will be fun because I don't get that much action," Law said. "There will be some opportunities for us to go at it and I look forward to that as a competitor. Neither one of us wants to go out there and lose because we are both so competitive."
Law and Brady had numerous battles in practice over the years and if anyone knows the Patriots offense it's Law. Some people may be worried the former Pat will be able to provide the Jets with valuable information on how the Patriots like to run certain plays on offense. Belichick is not one of the people concerned.
"You know Ty," Belichick joked. "He commented on how hard it was to learn the defense so I'm not sure how much he knows about the offense."
After getting a laugh from the media, Belichick went on to say how much he appreciated Law and what he meant to the Patriots organization.
"Ty had a great impact on two of our championships," he said. "I have a lot of appreciation and respect for Ty as a person and what he did here. He had a lot to do with our success."
Law is due an $11 million roster bonus at the end of the season. If the Jets decline to pick up that option, and they probably will, that would once again make Law a free agent. And with the current state of the Patriots secondary, who knows what the future holds but as far as this Sunday goes, Law and the Jets will try and spoil the Patriots quest to win another AFC East title.
"I just want to win the game," Law said. "But to beat your old team, I can imagine that feels pretty good."
Patriots release Mike Cloud
The Patriots released running back Mike Cloud on Tuesday. Cloud played in four games for the Patriots this season but only rushed the ball nine times for eight yards. Cloud's release now puts the Patriots roster at 52 players, leaving them with one open spot. Belichick said at his Wednesday press conference the team had yet to sign anyone. Letting Cloud go probably means Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk or both of them are going to return this weekend against the Jets. Belichick told the media both players are day-to-day but with Cloud gone, that leaves the Patriots with only Patrick Pass and Heath Evans at the running back position. Unless the team signs another back, expect to see Faulk or Dillon suit up on Sunday.
NotesThe Jets lead the all-time series with the Patriots 47-41-1, including a slight 23-22-1 advantage in New England…In the previous 90 games, only four points separates the two teams. The Jets have scored 1,975 points, while the Patriots have scored 1,971…14 different defensive backs have been on the Patriots roster this season…Despite their 2-9 record, Belichick doesn't think the Patriots will just roll over the Jets on Sunday. "We've played two division games and they both went down to the final play," he said. "I expect the same kind of hard-fought game against the Jets."