Ty Law 'a Patriot to the core'


Ty Law 'a Patriot to the core'

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.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There's nothing like a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the Tennessee Titans remember how to protect their home field.

Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns to end his home struggles and the Titans had their highest point total of the season in a 36-22 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

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Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up


Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up

FOXBORO -- Once the Patriots traded AJ Derby to the Broncos for a fifth-round pick earlier this week, they were left with just two tight ends on their roster. While those two tight ends -- Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett -- have played as two of the best tight ends in football this season, it's a position group that has been considerably thinned. 

Until coach Bill Belichick adds another player at that spot, James Develin would be the logical "next man up." A position group unto himself as the team's lone active fullback -- the other fullback in the locker room is practice-squad player Glenn Gronkowski -- Develin meets with Patriots tight ends and coach Brian Daboll on a daily basis because the fullback and tight-end responsibilities in the Patriots offense are similar, particularly in the run game.

As much time as he spends with that group, Develin tries to absorb what he can when it comes to the nuances of the position. 

"I always kind of try to prepare, obviously, for my fullback role, but then in any other role that I might be called upon for," Develin said on Thursday. "A couple years ago, we had a bunch of injuries during the offseason program, during OTAs, and I filled in a little bit at tight end. I try to keep myself familiar with all those techniques and that tight end role so if the day were to come where I needed to go out there and do it, I'd be able to go out there and do it."

When the Patriots began the season relying more on the run, Develin was called upon to play a relatively significant role in the offense. He averaged 21.3 snaps per game through the first three games of the season, but that number has fallen to 13.6 since Tom Brady's return from a four-game suspension. Still, his role can be a critical one. 

The Patriots' running game faltered last season after both Blount and Dion Lewis went down with season-ending injuries. Having Develin in the mix as an extra blocker would not have guaranteed a more efficient attack, but it may have helped the team's running-game woes late in the year. 

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now has the luxury of bringing Develin onto the field when he wants some added muscle for his blocking schemes, and should the Patriots need a tight end in a pinch, Develin could do that too.

"A lot of times, especially in the blocking game, really the only difference [between fullback and tight end] is that I'm five yards off the ball in the backfield and they're up on the line," Develin said. "The angles are a little bit different. But a lot of times the assignment is typcially the same thing. It's just the technique of getting there and the angles that you take.

"Then in the passing game, as a tight end, there's just a lot more routes and stuff like that. I try to work on that to help me as a fullback to be a little bit better in space . . . It's a sybiotic relationship." 

As it is, Develin will line up occasionally outside. Though not a threat as a receiver in that spot in the same way that Gronkowski or Bennett would be, he understands some of the different looks tight ends have to be comfortable with.

If an emergency arose and he was asked to fill that role, he wouldn't hesitate.

"There's a little bit of carry-over depending on what we're doing or whatever play we have called where I'll line up on the line," he said. "But that's kind of what a fullback has to do. You kind of have to be able to be thrown into whatever position on the field that you gotta do and you gotta just do your job."