FOXBOROUGH -- When former teammate and fellow Patriots draft classmate Ted Johnson was honored at halftime, Ty Law was in the Jets' locker room. ''I would have been more than happy to stand out there and support him," said Law.
There weren't many positives for Law to take out of yesterday's 16-3 loss to the Patriots, but he still has his memories. Noting that he and teammate Curtis Martin, also a 1995 Patriots draftee, are still playing, Law dwelled on his accomplishments after another frustrating loss for the 2-10 Jets.
''Unfortunately, we had a game to play but I wish Teddy well," said the cornerback, who won three Super Bowls with the Patriots before signing with the Jets over the summer. ''[Johnson] was a great player for a long time. For us to be still here today, still playing, myself and Curtis, we made it this long and had so much success. I think the GM who picked our class [director of player personnel Bobby Grier] should get a standing ovation because they did a great job."
Law, who has five interceptions this season, had a quiet day. Tom Brady decided to stay away from his side of the field for the most part, though Brady did complete a 7-yard pass to Andre' Davis in front of Law on a second and 4 near the end of the third quarter during the Patriots drive to their final field goal.
Deion Branch also got in front of Law to grab for a 10-yard reception on a third and 6 that brought the Patriots to the Jets 7 en route to their first touchdown earlier in the third quarter.
Branch was covered by Law, who made five tackles, more often than David Givens or Troy Brown were, but he made five catches for 44 yards (8.8 yards per catch).
Law, who came out of a couple of series in the fourth quarter when his surgically repaired foot stiffened, drew some boos after tackles, but for the most part was cheered.
He downplayed his return to Gillette.
''It was cool," said Law, who looks as if he's bulked up. ''It wasn't something I had circled on my calendar like I was going to anticipate it. But it was another football game and it happened to be against my former team. As a team we're still searching to get another win. It's been tough for us as a whole because we played hard throughout but for some reason we're not making enough plays."
Law continued to lament how difficult the year has been. It's not the first losing campaign for Law. With the Patriots, he endured a 6-10 season under Bill Parcells in '95, and a 5-11 season under Bill Belichick in 2000.
''It's been very tough," Law said. ''If you're a competitor you want to go out there and win a football game, but it's not taken away from the way I approach the game -- 2-9 or 9-2 I try to approach it the same way. It's very disappointing for me because I had such great expectations for this team and we thought we'd be making a strong push for the playoffs. We've been playing hard but unfortunately this isn't the way we wanted it to go. You're not going to be on top every year but when you're not you have to bounce back somehow, some way. I've been fortunate enough to be on some great teams for the past few years but I've also been on teams that didn't make the playoffs."
Law wasn't baffled by the Patriots offense, even kidding during the game with Branch that he knew what route the receiver was running.
''They did some quick outs and hitches and things like that," said Law. ''I was expecting a couple down the field because I play aggressively and Deion ran a couple of them, but I was on him and we laughed about it because he knew I knew it was coming. It's one of those things where I'm pretty much used to it. They're going to pick and chose how they're going to throw against me. Why would it be any different because I'm playing against the Patriots? If you look at my track record and the history of my career, you're going to take a chance here, take a chance there. But basically Tom took what he thought he could get and what he needed. He didn't need to go at me. I wouldn't think anyone would. I mean, I wouldn't if I was a quarterback. I mean not on a consistent basis anyway."
Law said his foot ''gets a little irritated at times. It's one of those things where I have to come out and take it easy for a while. I came back in. It's just one of those things. I still feel positive that I can go out there and play at a high level."
Reports have suggested that Law, who is due an $11 million option bonus from the Jets next year, might move on after just one year with New York. If it were to happen, Law knows the drill.
''A lot of great players have had to move on to other teams and that's the way I look at it," said Law about leaving the Patriots. ''Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith -- guys who really had an impact on their teams all moved on and contributed to another team. I don't see myself any different. It's become a normal thing in this game."
Eleven years after he, Martin, and Johnson were drafted, Law remembered his battles with Parcells and how they made him tougher for what was ahead. Parcells once chided him, ''You're going to be the first first-round draft pick ever cut."
''He used to get on me all the time and we used to have our war of words because you know me. I'm going to come right back at him. He did tell me that and I said, 'Go ahead. You already gave me a million six.' But that's fine. He helped prepare me for all the things that I was facing and all the things I'd face down the road. I was young and pretty brash and he was a coach who'd spend a lot of time just coaching me. I'd tell him to get out of my face and go coach somebody else for a change. But the years I was with him was great for me. I've carried that with me through my career."