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With 15 seasons of Hall-of-Fame caliber play behind him, former Patriots cornerback Ty Law thinks he might have at least one more season in front of him.
While last year’s cup of coffee with the Denver Broncos may have smacked with finality, it was Law’s offseason workouts mentoring Jets cornerback Darelle Revis that continue to prop the door open for return.
“It was cool to go out there, kept me young, kept me in shape to point where I was saying, ‘Maybe I might go back out there, one more year’,” Law said.
While skills often diminish with advanced age, the fire inside an upper echelon athlete rarely dies. The Aliquippa, PA natives both worked out together in South Florida during Revis’ much publicized holdout. “I understood the process he was going through, been there before with contract negotiations, and it was killing him not to be out there,” Law said. “But he was working hard and the passion this guy brings to the game and his job – He wants to be the best.”
Law is no stranger to being the best, a distinction he held during the halcyon days of the Patriots Dynasty. Revis, currently considered the best at his position, sought out Law for help in playing off of receivers as he normally plays a bump-and-run style up close and jamming his opponents’ closer to the line of scrimmage.
“It was a great experience to spend that time, working and helping him on some little things he has to get better at with his game, and he doesn’t have an ego to where it’s like, ‘Whatever, I almost won Defensive Player of the Year,’” Law said. “Nah. He knows.”
Fully expecting Revis to play this season, Law knew it would be best to simulate a professional training camp, right down to double session practices. Law emphasized conditioning, understanding the challenge involved when Revis will be relegated to shutting down many of the league’s most talented – and fastest – receivers. “So getting up in the morning, even though I didn’t want to, because I don’t have to? That’s his youth (rubbing off), I wanted to because I knew how serious this guy was taking it. It’s unfortunate he went up there and tweaked his hamstring up, but he is absolutely the best defensive back in the game. Period. I’m not saying that because he’s a friend and we have that relationship. He’s the best young guy that I’ve seen, ever.”
The more Law spoke, the less a return seemed likely. While the Revis workouts proved he could still hang around, Law seems fully prepared to concede the stage to the next great number 24. “I live through him vicariously through him,” Law said. Some may remember that when the two were teammates in New York, Law didn’t even ask the youngster to turn over his preferred jersey number. “When he got that 24 on, I knew why he got it and that’s an honor, that he chose to do so. … I wouldn’t (ask for it). If that was somebody else? You gotta turn that over. But not for him, because I knew a lot of it had to do with paying homage, so I’m like, ‘You know what? I’ll leave that alone.’ And to actually get to play with him? That’s the reason I went. Not only to go there with Eric (Mangini), but for two Aliquippa guys to be there on the corner at one time? That’s a dream come true.”
When you’re Ty Law and you’ve collected the trophies and accepted the praise that he so well deserved, maybe there isn’t much left to prove.
After all, it’s a lot easier to cover your friend in the newspaper than it is to cover a Brandon Marshall or Anquan Boldin on the field.