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For Law, vote of confidence

Pro Bowl is where he feels he belongs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Another Pro Bowl. Another validation of Ty Law's contract.

 

You could see the dollar signs floating through Law's mind and could hear the ringing of cash registers when Law was named to his fourth Pro Bowl last week.

It was a tribute to the veteran cornerback, who overcame two injuries to have another outstanding season. First, he underwent serious groin surgery in the offseason, a procedure which Law kept quiet and took him part of the season to recover from. He also struggled early in the season with a high ankle sprain.

The Pro Bowl berth earns Law a $250,000 bonus and, at a time when teams are asking their highest-paid players to reduce their salaries, helps make a case that Law is worth the $5.9 million he is scheduled to earn next season. In fact, he can even make an argument that his deal should be enhanced.

Throughout his career, Law has contended that he's one of the top three corners in all of football. And once again, his deeds have backed up his words. This season, teams often have chosen to simply not attack his side of the field.

"I've always thought of myself as one of the best, and when you think that, you have to go out and prove it," Law said. "I have no doubt I can play this position as well as anyone in the league." Law and the Patriots could very well tweak his contract during the offseason. Law's agent, Carl Poston, isn't against restructuring the deal to give the team fiscal flexibility, as long as the restructure means more cash in his client's pocket.

Whatever the dealings, Law has proven he's a player the Patriots can't live without.

Also involved in this equation is the other corner, Tyrone Poole. In training camp, he nearly quit football for the second time in three years, because he didn't want to be away from his family. Poole ended up moving his family to New England, but his wife had to put her business career on hold. Poole seems to make career decisions on a year-to-year basis, so a decision on his plans may not come until after this season is over. . . .

Damien Woody might have deserved a spot in the Pro Bowl, but his not making the AFC team should help the Patriots in their offseason negotiations with the guard. One factor that could hurt Woody in negotiations is a report, which came from someone in the Patriots organization within the last couple of weeks, that Woody has battled weight problems all season. It's not a deal-breaker, but disappointing.

It may not make sense for the team to place a franchise tag on Woody, because the price tag could be about $6 million -- an amount Woody would gladly take to stay with New England next season. But the Patriots could make Woody their franchise player for the sole purpose of trading him, as they did with free safety Tebucky Jones last offseason. There would appear to be a strong market for Woody, with all of the other AFC East teams as well as Dallas, Carolina, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Washington all expected to make a play if he's a free agent. . . .

Go Figure Dept.: How on Earth can the Patriots offense function successfully without a reliable running game? One AFC executive said last night, "They protect the passer well, but they could use a boost in their run blocking. Yet it hasn't hurt them one bit." . . . Last night, Tom Brady was right where he's put up most of his numbers: on the road. Going into the game, he had 17 touchdown passes. Only three have come at Gillette Stadium, two in last week's 27-13 win over Jacksonville. On the flip side, while he had 12 interceptions on the season, he hasn't thrown one at home . . . Patriots rookie quarterback Kliff Kingsbury isn't just hanging around doing nothing during his time on injured reserve. The former Texas Tech star says he's in on every quarterback meeting and has spent the time fine-tuning his knowledge of the offense. Kingsbury, who was placed on IR in training camp with an arm injury, is throwing again, and like most Patriots first-year quarterbacks, he's vastly improved his physical conditioning, adding a few pounds of muscle. It's the first time he can remember spending a fall not playing football. "I've never experienced this before, but this is the NFL," said Kingsbury, the son of a high school football coach. "I'm so honored to be here just watching how our quarterbacks go through the day and prepare for the game. That's quite an education in itself." . . . The $5,000 fine Matt Chatham was hit with for a late hit in last week's Jacksonville game is no small deletion from a special teams player's paycheck. Chatham has not decided whether to appeal.

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