Law, Belichick renew family feud: At odds over bonus pay
By Kevin Mannix/ Patriots Notebook
Friday, August 20, 2004
FOXBORO - Even though Ty Law [news] was back on the practice field yesterday, the relationship between the Pro Bowl cornerback and coach Bill Belichick [news] is apparently not so warm and fuzzy anymore.
It's not back at the low point where it fell during the winter when Law called Belichick a ``liar'' following a dispute over contract negotiations. But those camera shots of coach and player smiling and chatting casually before practice may not be seen again in the near future.
Money is, not surprisingly, at the root of the dispute. Specifically, their earlier ``misunderstanding'' regarding negotiations over a new contract. While Law repeatedly took verbal shots at his coach in the offseason, Belichick refused to publicly respond, saving his retort until now when he delivered a hit to Law's wallet.
Law's absence from practice for several days earlier in the week was supposedly a reaction to his learning that the team was not going to pay him a $106,000 workout bonus for his offseason preparation.
Technically, Law has no beef. He didn't qualify for the bonus because he worked out on his own out of town, rather than with the rest of the players in Foxboro. Usually working out under the supervision of team officials is a prerequisite for earning a bonus.
But Law has been the exception to the rule, receiving the bonus because he showed up for training camp in terrific condition. That much didn't change this year. He showed up for the start of camp in as good a shape as he's ever been, expecting to receive the bonus.
Ted Johnson [news], who missed eight of the first nine games last season because of a leg injury and only returned to practice on Wednesday after missing most of training camp with the ever-popular ``undisclosed injury'' is confident he can contribute to the Pats defense.
``I just know what I can do,'' he said after yesterday's practice, only his third of the summer. ``I'm still here after 10 years. I must be doing something right for them to sign me to a new (three-year, $4.8 million) contract last year.
``I still feel secure. I'm still confident. I'm not cocky but I do feel that what I do is an asset to the team and that I'm here for a reason. I intend to stay here. My role stays the same. I'll do what I do best - play the run, be a physical presence out there and be a good zone and man defender. I'll continue to play to those strengths as long as they let me.''
How much longer that goes on is the question, as Johnson knows.
``I also know this is a league of youth,'' he said. ``There are new guys coming in and out all the time. That's out of my control.''
Players work overtime
Yesterday's workout was the longest practice of the preseason, lasting nearly 30 minutes beyond the scheduled two hours. One possible reason for the extra work was the agitation displayed by Belichick because of subpar performances.
At one point he dispatched the defensive unit, including coach Pepper Johnson, who was running the scout team, on a lap around the practice field.
A couple of minutes later, he called the entire squad together in the middle of the field. It was impossible to hear what he was saying but it was obvious the final practice of training camp did not go as well as he had hoped. . . .
Veteran receiver J.J. Stokes was back at work, doing what he's done all summer, making big catches, particularly down near the goal line. . . .
Russ Hochstein, who started the Super Bowl at left guard, is getting some serious competition for that spot from veteran Bob Hallen. The former Falcon and Charger, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, has also been getting work at center and right guard.