Patriots owner Robert Kraft returned home late Friday night from a weeklong mission to Israel to the realization that one of the players he's most fond of is no longer with the team.
The Patriots released veteran cornerback Ty Law Friday afternoon in a salary-cap move.
Law joined the team as a first-round pick out of Michigan in April 1995, 15 months after Kraft bought the team.
"Speaking as a fan, I'm very sad," Kraft said by phone yesterday morning. "I've always had a warm affection for him. So it's with mixed emotions that this day had to come."
Kraft laughed at the recollection of Law playfully forcing the owner to cut a rug in front of City Hall during the Patriots' celebration of their first Super Bowl victory three years ago. Kraft even has a photo of the moment, signed and given to him as a gift from Law, in his office.
"Everyone from that team has a special place in the hearts of Patriots fans," Kraft said. "And Ty is right at the front of that group.
"I hope maybe we'll have a chance one day to bring him back and honor him in some way. Our organization and fans want to thank him for all he did for us.
"We wish him well -- except when he's playing the Patriots."
Kraft and his wife, Myra, traveled to Jerusalem, where they were part of a rededication ceremony at the Kraft Family Stadium, which sports a new $500,000 artificial surface courtesy of the Krafts.
The festivities included football tossing between Kraft and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the only field in Israel that can host American football.
"I thought about how special it was to be outside the United States, and hear our national anthem played followed by cheers," Kraft said.
The trip began on the day Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was released from the hospital after a short stay following a minor stroke.
Kraft said he promised Bruschi he would say a prayer for him at the Western Wall.
After doing so, Kraft said three people, from Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and New Jersey, approached him at different times and asked if he had, indeed, said a prayer for Bruschi.
"I was moved that these were people I didn't know and we were a half a world away," Kraft said. "It shows the power of the NFL and the impact that Tedy has had as a leader and a spiritual person."