By Adam Hart
Despite playing for the hated Jets and making "pit stops" in Kansas City and Denver, Ty Law has again pledged allegiance to the New England Patriots.
Law began his career in New England, winning three Super Bowls and intercepting 36 passes over 10 seasons. He returned to Boston Tuesday night as an honoree at the 10th Annual The Tradition.
"I always get a great welcome home when I come back. It's humbling to realize the fans don't forget about you," Law said as a guest on Comcast SportsNet's Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight. "They say you always were a Patriot no matter what team you played for, so it feels good for me because that's how I feel in my heart: no matter what other uniform I ever wore, when you stripped me down I was a Patriot to the core."
At times, there was a lot to be stripped. Embroiled in a contract dispute in 2004, Law betrayed his core. "That bridge is burned," he reportedly said. "I can't even see myself putting on that uniform again, that's how bad I feel about playing here."
He suited up for just seven games with the Patriots in the 2004 championship season, after which Law was released. He then had two stints with the rival New York Jets, played two seasons for the Chiefs and ended his career in Denver. But, as they say, time heals all wounds.
"Those were pit stops for me. Sometimes you've got to do what you got to do. I'm happy to be back. I'm a Patriot, man. I'm a civilian, man, and I can say that's my team right there," said Law. "The Patriots are my team for the rest of my life."
Prior to the The Tradition event, he expressed a desire to officially end his career as a Patriot with a one-day retirement deal.
A championship run, McCourty's ceiling
With renewed allegiance to the Patriots, Law predicted the team has another championship run coming in the near future.
"There's going to be another championship coming around real soon; as long as you have No. 12 you have a chance," said Law. "I'm looking forward to seeing those guys play and pick up where they left off last year."
The Patriots lost to the New York Jets 28-21 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs Round, after a 14-2 regular season. The team received major contributions from rookies on both sides of the ball, most notably cornerback Devin McCourty and his seven interceptions.
"He's a great young corner," Law said of McCourty, the latest heir to the position Law anchored during New England's three-Super Bowl run. "He's a different style of corner than myself, but he's remarkable in his own rite. He can do it all: he can play aggressively, he can play from bump-and-run, he can play off.
"The sky's the limit for this kid. To come in your rookie year and accomplish what he accomplished, there's no telling what he's going to do once he gets more experience and plays a lot longer."
It's the promise shown by McCourty and his rookie classmates -- Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham, et al -- that gives Law hope the Patriots will build on a successful 2010 regular season.
"There's been a lot of transition with the team, and you've got to think to be such a young team to get as far as they have this year we're going to look forward to another exciting season -- whenever they get it started this year," said Law, who predicts cooler heads will prevail in regard to the ongoing NFL lockout.