Law working hard for right spot


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Jan 22, 2006
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Law working hard for right spot
Cornerback is looking for team with chance to win — which includes the Chiefs.
The Kansas City Star

“I’d love to have the opportunity to play for (Kansas City) … and being reunited with Herm Edwards.”

| Ty Law

ST. LOUIS | - ST. LOUIS | The morning air hangs like a wet rag, and they clop around the track again. One guy bobbles a football. They drop and do 15 pushups.

It’s an ordinary oppressive summer day in suburbia. Then a teenager points to two well-sculpted men circling a high-school track and asks, “Are they famous?”

Ty Law zooms past a senior citizen in the slow lane, then finally slows down, his shirt soaked to his chest. He flashes a smile.

“How you doin’?” he asks.

At least a half-dozen teams are pursuing him — about half can afford him — and on this particular day, Law’s cell phone is in the proverbial off position. Training camp starts in two weeks. Law still doesn’t have a job, but he’s told his agent not to jangle until the serious offers roll in.

Law is in training.

He’ll spend four hours outside today, in the sticky St. Louis heat, working with famed track coach Bob Kersee. They call it the “House of Pain,” and Law knows that if he can make it through this, if he can run with Olympians and stomach Kersee’s constant orders to “Go, go, go!” he can hang with any Pro Bowl receiver.

And make a difference in any NFL city. His main suitors are New England, Arizona, Seattle and Kansas City, and it’s assumed the Chiefs and Patriots are the front-runners. Law hates it when people assume. But it’s obvious that New England and Kansas City are heavily on his mind, in part, he says, because “they have a pretty damn good chance of winning.”

Sentimentality may play into it, too. Kansas City is where Herm Edwards is now the coach, and Law and Edwards are longtime friends. Edwards coached him in New York last fall, when doubters wondered whether Law could come back from a serious foot injury, and Law ended up with a league-high 10 interceptions.

New England is where Law won three Super Bowls but was a salary-cap casualty after the foot injury.

“I’d love to have the opportunity to play for (Kansas City), especially going up there and being reunited with Herm Edwards, because we have some unfinished business,” Law said Tuesday. “If we get together again, fine. But at the same time, we both know this is a business, and all fairy tales don’t come true. It’s not out of the question that I can return back to New England because I didn’t leave on bad terms. It was business. Me and coach (Bill) Belichick, contrary to what everyone might believe, we’re fine.

“I’m not opposed to going to either (place). Do I have preferences? Hmmmm, I can’t even say that. That puts myself at a disadvantage.”

It has been 16 months since Law hobbled into Arrowhead Stadium for a free-agency visit and made Kansas City atwitter. He was considered the missing piece for a team with an explosive offense and shaky secondary. Some fans proclaimed that Law’s acquisition would send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.

But instead of risking big money on a cornerback with an iffy foot, the Chiefs signed two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain last spring. Surtain, who happens to be a neighbor of Law’s in Florida, called Law this week.

Law said Tuesday that the idea of playing with Surtain and safety Sammy Knight is appealing.

“They’re proven,” Law said. “I know they can play back there in that secondary. It would be great to have an opportunity to play with them and play in Kansas City. When I took a visit there last year, I was like, ‘Man, I can work with this.’ But unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

Law said his decision isn’t just about money. He wants to go somewhere he feels comfortable. He said he’s turned down some deep-pocketed teams that he didn’t think could win in 2006. After enduring a 4-12 season in New York last year, Law said he can’t go through another rebuilding season.

That’s why he’s spending another summer with Kersee, who has coached Olympic gold medalists Gail Devers and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who is his wife. Kersee also has trained NFL stars Jerome Bettis and Marshall Faulk.

The first year Law started working with Kersee, he made it to the Pro Bowl. He flew his coach to Hawaii, and when Law returned an interception for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVI, Kersee said it was as big as an Olympic moment.

“He always has the attitude that he’s either going to finish the workout or pass out,” Kersee said. “Whatever I give out, he’s going to eat it in full portions. He reminds me of some of my collegiate athletes. He wants to be the best corner in the business.”

Though they’ve worked together for seven summers, Law may have had his best season in 2005, when he was too hurt to train with Kersee. Arriving long after the start of training camp, Law had 62 tackles and had a career-high 10 interceptions.

Throughout his career, Law has dominated by outmuscling his opponents. In 2005, he had to outthink them.

He isn’t ruling out the possibility that he may not sign by the start of camp. He said he wants fair-market value as one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks. Law commanded around $6 million from the Jets last year.

At 32, he’s ready to prove that he still deserves that label as premier cornerback … again. Law isn’t sweating, because he’s been through this before. And he’ll be somewhere again.

“I think I’m a proven commodity,” he said. “A lot of people want to bring up the age factor. I’ve been hearing that for the last few years. ‘He’s getting older, he’s getting older.’ … But yet I’m still in the Pro Bowl, I’m still leading the league in interceptions, I’m the only one who has three Super Bowl rings out of all the guys we’re talking about.

“Deep down, people understand that. That’s why they’re called negotiations. They try to leverage, you try to leverage. I’m at a point where I’m comfortable with myself. I’m not out there chasing. I love the game. I know I’ll be playing football. Am I going to rush in and not do the right thing? I won’t do that.”

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