Ex-Patriot Willie McGinest has closed the book on his NFL career. But his old teammate Ty Law isn’t ready to do so quite yet.
If last year’s abbreviated stay with the Broncos, in the 15th season of a decorated career, is it for Law, he’s fine with that. However, if the right situation arises — he says he’s had opportunities in 2010, just not an ideal one yet — he’d consider giving it another go. And he has those much ballyhooed summer workouts with fellow Aliquippa, Pa. native Darrelle Revis to thank for that.
Revis and Law worked out down here in South Florida during Revis’ holdout, and it was enough to light a little bit of a fire underneath the mentor in those drills.
“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. “I understood the process he was going through, been there before with contract negotiations, and it was killing him not to be out there. But he was working hard and the passion this guy brings to the game and his job – He wants to be the best.
“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.”
Law said that the similarities between the styles of the two players made the format for the workouts ideal. For example, Revis went to Law looking for help playing off — since he’s up on his man playing press so much — and Law remembered having to do the same thing years ago.
“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.”
The two tried their best to simulate training camp — Going with two-a-day practices and mixing boxing and extra conditioning in. Since Law once was the guy shadowing the best receiver, he knew to emphasize how important being in top shape was for a guy playing Revis’ role, and so things were tailored to making that happen.
Law feels connected enough to Revis now where he feels as if the pain of leaving the game will be eased by being able to watch the new No. 24 play. That’s why, in fact, when the two played together for the Jets in 2008, Law didn’t even inquire about getting his number back.
“I live through him vicariously through him,” Law said. “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.
‘We’re representing for the whole community, and he took the torch and ran with it. He’s probably going to surpass everything that I’ve ever done in my career. As long as he play long enough and stay healthy and get some championships, man.”
Knowing how prideful Law is, I asked how tough it was to concede that the next kid from his town to make it big could wind up surpassing his legacy. He flashed a slight grimace, then smiled.
“You gotta call a spade a spade,” Law said. “When you look a guy and can say he’s got a chance to be the greatest, you have to say he’s on the right path. I feel like I can go toe-to-toe with anyone in my prime. But he’s special. He’s definitely special.”
And so it seems like, for Law, if his career has run his course, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to stay connected to the game.