Ty Law (24) makes the game-changing interception and returns for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVI. (AP)

Ty Law (24) makes the game-changing interception and returns for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVI. (AP)

FOXBORO — Ty Law and Darrelle Revis go way back. They both hail from the small, football-rich town of Aliquippa, Penn., the same town that has produced an extraordinary number of athletes.

Just in recent football lore alone, there’s been defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, Law and Revis. In past years, Mike Ditka and Tony Dorsett also hail from the Western Pennsylvania town. In basketball, there’s the late, great “Pistol” Pete Maravich and in baseball, pitcher Doc Medich.

So when Law knew that Revis would be a free agent in the offseason, the two talked and Law was pretty sure that New England would step up to the plate and offer him a deal. Law was also sure he could get more money – and years – elsewhere.

“Sometimes, learning from experience, I think he made an incredible decision to not go and take the money and have a chance to win because winning are the things that are going to be remembered for a long, long time when you get a chance to win a championship. So yeah, I’m glad he made the decision to come here and not go get the money,” Law said.

“I don’t want to say if I was influential or not, because it was ultimately his decision. I just had an opinion. I had to learn even from some of my own decisions I made. Sometimes, when you’re in the heat of battle, I didn’t have a mentor. The only person that I could depend on was me and make the decisions so some decisions I made were great and some decisions I made were not so great. If I can instill that and just tell him what I’ve been through, and same thing with my son, live and learn through me and take my mistakes and use those as a lesson as well. I think Darrelle ultimately did what was best for him but coming here was a great decision and I encouraged that.”

Revis agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal. Prove yourself in New England and millions more will follow. Of course, when Law left after the 2004 season, he had already proven himself to the tune of three Super Bowl titles. But the Patriots couldn’t afford his $12.5 million cap hit for the 2005 season and was released.

Law signed with the Jets for the 2005 season and had a career-high 10 interceptions and was the only Jet voted into the Pro Bowl. Law was released by the Jets after only one season as the Jets were a projected $26 million over the salary cap for 2006. Law was due to make $7.6 million for 2006. In came the Chiefs, who signed him to a five-year deal worth $30 million. He only saw two seasons in KC before being released, eventually playing one more time for the Jets and finishing in Denver in 2009.

Law and Revis have talked and joked about all of this before, as Revis is already working on his third team, himself.

“I talk to him very often, especially that he’s up here now. We live in the same community down in Florida. We train together. I’m there for Darrelle as much as possible. When he comes here, he comes by the house and we sit out in the back and talk because it goes beyond football with us. We’re from the same [town] and we can relate to each other on a different level other than just football.

“We’ve been through the same hardships, we’ve seen the same things, we played the same positions. It’s just been a great friendship, a great bond and I’m just here for him if he needs me. There are things from a football perspective that I can talk to him that big Uncle Sean [Gilbert] can’t because he was not a cornerback. He can talk about the NFL experiences and guide him in the right way in that aspect. But playing the cornerback position is different so we can definitely talk football on a different level. But it’s not all about that. Sometimes it’s just about life and growing up and maturing and winning.”

Law believes this much: if the Patriots stay healthy on defense, something woefully missing last season, they will be back in the big game in Glendale, Ariz.

“I think that was one of the weaker links in the defense for the last few years but now you’ve strengthened that five times with Darrelle Revis, and now you have [Brandon] Browner there and you think of Ninkovich getting another year of experience,” Law said Monday. “And with Wilfork, you have the different type of leadership. Chandler Jones with another year of experience. So, it’s going to be amazing what these guys can do and I think the key is to stay healthy. You can have all the talent in the world but if you can’t stay out there on the field, you’re going to be hurting your team.

“If these guys can stay healthy and the offense can continue putting up the numbers consistently the way they’ve been doing, and you’ve got Tom Brady leading the pack and you can protect him, good things are going to happen. They shored up the secondary and I think if they had had better secondary play, they would’ve had a championship last year.”

Fans have been wishing for a shutdown corner like Law ever since he left. Now, Law says, they finally have him.

“They got him now,” Law said. “I really do believe [they have another shut down corner]. People tend to remind you that you were a pretty good player. I look at it as I did my job, tried to do the best I could as a player. I think being an analyst now, looking at the team, that’s what they need, a marquis cornerback.

“They had one in Aqib Talib but it just wasn’t enough for whatever reason because I think he was a great cornerback but Darrelle is special. He’s a different level so when you look at the secondary now, look at another [No.] 24 out there and he’s that elite of a cornerback and football player, you can really see these guys getting over the hump again and bringing back home the trophy where I think it belong. We always strived to be champions and we were fortunate enough to achieve that three times.

“It’s been a long time. It’s high standards around here, high expectations so now I think they have some pieces to the puzzle so hopefully they can put it all together. But it feels good to still be mentioned as part of those championship teams. Some of the fans are so loyal. They let you know how much they appreciate it when I was playing and what I was able to do for the team.”

As for Law, he provided some insight to his likely Friday afternoon speech when he stands up in his new bright red jacket and addresses the crowd as the newest member of the Patriots Hall of Fame.

“This is always going to be home for me,” Law said. “I keep a home here. I’m here. I’m home. I will never have a home in Denver. I will never have a home in Kansas City. I will never have a home in New York. Those were pitstops as far as I’m concerned and I had some great experiences there as well for what it was worth. This is where I’m going down [in history] now and you guys helped me go down in history as one of the all-time greats to play in a Patriots uniform. This is home and I’m happy and hopefully, I can still do my job if I’m being an analyst. Deep down inside I have to be critical but I’m [rooting] for the Patriots every time.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Patriots announced Monday they have claimed rookie running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers from Carolina and released veteran linebacker Josh Hull. Here’s a portion of the release from the team on the moves.

The Patriots announced Monday they have claimed rookie running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers from Carolina and released veteran linebacker Josh Hull. Here’s a portion of the release from the team on the moves.

Gaffney, 23, was originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (204th overall) out of Stanford. He was injured in training camp and was released by the Panthers on July 27. The 6-foot, 220-pounder, had a productive senior season in 2013, starting in all 14 games and finishing with 330 rushing attempts for 1,709 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. Gaffney played as a true in 2009 and then took the 2012 season off to play professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system, before returning to college football for the 2013 season.

Hull, 27, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2010-12) and the Washington Redskins (2013), who was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on April 24. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder was originally drafted by St. Louis in the seventh round (254th overall) out of Penn State in 2010. He was released by St. Louis at the end of training camp in 2013 and signed with Washington as a free agent on Oct. 15, 2013. Hull has played in 39 NFL games with one start and has registered 25 total tackles. Last season with the Rams, Hull played in 11 games and finished with 14 total tackles.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Leave it to the Jets to make a Patriots off-day still worth paying attention to the NFL.

Calvin Pace, here getting to Tom Brady, says the Jets have the best defense in the NFL. (AP)

Calvin Pace, here getting to Tom Brady, says the Jets have the best defense in the NFL. (AP)

Leave it to the Jets to make a Patriots off-day still worth paying attention to the NFL.

Jets linebacker Calvin Pace says his team’s defense is not only improved for 2014, he insists it’s the best defense in football, not the defending champion Seahawks, not the vastly improved Patriots or Broncos or the young and hungry Bengals. The Jets.

‘€œ[Compared to] the rest of the defenses in the NFL? S’€”, man, we’€™re the best,’€ Pace told the New York Daily News. ‘€œYou ask anybody around the league, we’€™re not the team you want to see coming in, even in a down year.’€

Why would Pace make such a statement? He believes the basis of such confidence lies in his head coach Rex Ryan.

‘€œThere’€™s a certain type of aggression when we come [play you]. You know we’€™re going to come with a lot of stuff and teams don’€™t want to see that,’€ he said. ‘€œThey want to see a vanilla defense, that just lines up and you know where they’€™re going to be. I’€™ll take these guys and Rex and this system any day.’€

Pace is hardly the first Jet to pop off this summer. After all he’s learning from the best. Ryan has already labeled David Harris the most underrated linebacker in the NFL and Ryan describing himself as ‘€œa great coach” while corner Dee Milliner says he’s the best corner in the NFL.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia


FOXBORO — The common thinking is that Darrelle Revis is going to be the next Ty Law, if not better.

Even Law admitted Monday – after getting fitted for his Patriots Hall of Fame jacket for this Friday’s ceremony – that Revis is what fans have been longing for.

The physical Brandon Browner was flagged for five penalties in eight games last season. (AP)The Seahawks' Super Bowl formula was one that is bound to spawn countless imitators. Some teams decided to supersize their secondaries with the addition of big and rangy defensive backs. Others decided to beef up their ground game. And other teams started looking for the next Russell Wilson.

FOXBORO — The common thinking is that Darrelle Revis is going to be the next Ty Law, if not better.

Even Law admitted Monday – after getting fitted for his Patriots Hall of Fame jacket for this Friday’s ceremony – that Revis is what fans have been longing for.

Law and Revis have long-established roots, dating back to Western Pennsylvania, where they both attended the football-frenzied Aliquippa High.

Now that Revis is playing for Bill Belichick just like Law did when the Patriots were winning three Super Bowl titles, Law has some specific advice for perennial Pro Bowl corner.

“It’s going to be different because it’s going to be more structured here with Coach Belichick,” Law said. “I did tell him don’t get caught up [with] the Belichick that you might see on TV because he’s not like that. He’s not going to give much but once you get to sit down and talk to Coach Belichick you understand how cool he is, how flexible he is with a player of your caliber. You’re not going to be pigeon-holed into anything. He is approachable. You can go up to coach Belichick and say, ‘Hey, I want to play this.’ He’s going to listen to you. A lot of people don’t understand that but you have to be a certain type of player to get away with it. And he is that type of player.

“I think he’s going to have a lot of fun and he’s going to be out there doing his job. What they paid him to do is taking out the best guy but you’re probably going to go inside, you’re probably going to do a little bit of blitzing. It’s just going to be a fun overall scheme for Darrelle because normally he goes into a situation where ‘This is who I have.’ You’re there all day.

“I said [to him] you’re going to do a lot more things because you’re not going to know from week to week if you’re playing a 4-3, a 3-4, you’re not going to know. That was the enjoyment as a player, when you come in and you have no idea what the hell is going to happen in the game plan and you’re looking forward to it. Sometimes, you’re going to get disappointed and say, ‘Aw man, why are we playing this?!’

“But Coach Belichick, it’s ‘In Bill We Trust’ so you’re going to have the best chance to win. And I think he’s going to enjoy it. He’s going to have a lot of fun.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Julian Edelman knows he’s a wanted man.

Since the departure of Wes Welker, he’s become the No. 1 wide receiver target of Tom Brady and second only behind Rob Gronkowski in terms of priority passing options for the Patriots quarterback. Defenses last season began to understand this and that figures to be the case again this season as Edelman draws more and more attention.

But like Welker, Edelman’s value goes far beyond the passing game. He is one of the best weapons in the game as a punt returner – ever.

Surprised? Consider that he is tied for fourth best all-time (minimum 75 returns) with Devin Hester at 12.3 yards per return and is only a half-yard from George McAfee and Jack Christiansen for the best average in NFL history.

No one is calling Edelman’s return skills “ridiculous” as was the case with Hester but still, those are lofty numbers and explain why Bill Belichick wants to devote such important resources to give Edelman the best chance at making big plays on retuns. Sunday, he was back again receiving punts as Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis were defending the opposing gunner while Brandon Browner was on the opposite side.

“I think it’s key just because we have a returner in Julian who can make big plays and he can score touchdowns,” McCourty said. “For us, we just have to go out there and give him a chance. We’re all guys that have been in the league. We’ve all done it before, and if we give him a chance, I think he can make big plays and that helps the team win.”

Edelman’s numbers fell a bit in 2013, averaging 10.7 yards per return with a career-high 23 fair catches.

“When you get 10 yards that’s your goal and when guys are working together you get a little more which is great,” Edelman said about the importance of the entire special teams unit. “But our number one job on that unit is to get the ball in the offense’s hand and make the right decision.”

Sunday, it paid off as Edelman thrilled the 10,000 fans in attendance by breaking free down the right sideline on one return. For Edelman, it’s part of his roots with the Patriots, something he has always enjoyed because it earned him a spot on the roster.

“That’s a part of the game that gave me an opportunity to make this team,” Edelman said. “I love returning punts. I want to do that and if they ask me to do that, I’m going to do it.”

If he doesn’t do it or is unable to perform those responsibilities, the duty will fall to Danny Amendola or possibly rookie Roy Finch, assuming his makes the team. Finch took some return reps Sunday, including a bobble, but recovered quickly.

“You guys remember when I was a rookie bobbling the ball around everywhere and getting booed by the crowd, but he’s just got to get some experience, repetition,” Edelman said, adding perspective. “You got to work on catching punts, finding the tip of the ball — if it turns over, if it doesn’t — what foot punter it is, the trajectory of the punt, what return you have — if it’s a return, if it’s not a return — the situation in the game,” Edelman said. “All that stuff. It comes with experience. I still have to try in practice every day to improve what I have to do because it’s a craft. If you don’t do it every day, it will slip away.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Despite the fact that the NFL is throwing the ball now more than ever -- one of the reasons behind the fact that the 300-carry “bell cow” appears to be dying out -- the market for fullbacks appears to be pretty robust.