FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For those who appreciate strong defensive play, Gillette Stadium was the ultimate point of interest on Friday night.
The Patriots inducted former cornerback Ty Law into their Hall of Fame late in the afternoon in front of thousands of fans outside the facility at Patriot Place. A number of former teammates attended the event, including former Patriots safeties Rodney Harrison and Lawyer Milloy. And only a short time after the event concluded, Law, Harrison and Milloy stood on the sidelines watching the Patriots take part in a once-a-season nighttime practice exclusively for season ticket holders and Foxborough residents.
Before long, Darrelle Revis -- who Harrison called the “best cornerback on the planet” earlier in the day -- joined the former players for a friendly conversation. Patriots fans can only hope that the newest addition to the Patriots' secondary generates the same type of success those who preceded him provided.
“I don’t even have words for it, man,” Revis said. “I respect those guys so much, growing up watching them and watching Ty [Law] and learning from [him] and seeing Rodney play as well.”
Revis and Law both grew up in Aliquippa in Western Pennsylvania, which has produced other NFL greats such as Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett and Sean Gilbert. They share a number of similarities ranging from the same type of shutdown play to the No. 24 Patriots jersey and are close family friends. And while Revis was hesitant to say he felt any type of pressure to perform similarly to the talented secondaries of the past, he acknowledged that today’s “moment” was special.
“Those guys are legends, they’re definitely legends, I respect all of those guys,” he said. “I think the one thing as you look at it is you just try to enjoy this moment. Guys got honored today, and you just enjoy their success and what they do and go from there.
Law spoke at length in his induction ceremony about playing for Bill Belichick and the types of freedoms Belichick allowed him to take within the defense. When asked, Revis echoed that sentiment.
“Coach Belichick is very open about football, it’s football talk,” Revis said. “He’s very open about it. You can go to him about anything, you can ask him about anything, and we’re just trying to get ready and get prepared.
Seeing Revis presumably shadow the opposition’s best receiver could create flashbacks for many fans. And while Law, Harrison and Milloy will all be remembered as up-front, vocal leaders, Revis isn’t ready to make that type of proclamation about himself yet.
“I think we got a great group of veteran guys on this team,” he said. “This is my first year on this team and I’m just trying to come in and make sure I’m getting accepted by everybody and one thing I’m just trying to do is lead by example.”
On a day that celebrated the accomplishments of Law and those who surrounded him, many fans hope the newest No. 24’s example can replicate that of his predecessor.