April 19, 2004
Dillon's The Story. Not Law
BY: Kevin Rousseau
They sure know how to celebrate their namesake of a holiday down in Foxboro, don't they?
During a day when the Red Sox came from behind to beat the Yankees, the Bruins were eliminated (yet again) by the Habs, and the Boston Marathon took place; the Patriots off-season news will be remembered as the headline maker for Patriots Day, 2004.
Let's start with the shocking trade for All-Pro running back Corey Dillon. Yet another tired Ty Law "misunderstanding" with law enforcement can wait a few paragraphs.
Dillon instantly becomes the best running back in the history of the franchise. Sure, Curtis Martin was terrific during his short tenure on Route 1. And Sam Cunningham, Jim Nance, and the immortal Marion Butts (not!) can all be put forth during a debate around your office water cooler.
But never has there been a running back in the team's 45-year history that has come close to breaking the record for most rushing yards in a game. And no Patriot running back has ever been one of only four players in NFL history to run for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons.
Dillon immediately makes the Patriots the hands-on favorite to repeat as the AFC's representative in next year's Super Bowl in Jacksonville. "This is an absolutely unbelievable trade for the Patriots. General manager Scott Pioli just made a bid to repeat as executive of the year with this move. The Patriots are already the defending Super Bowl champions yet they continue to attempt to get better," said ESPN's Sean Salisbury.
All this time, defenses have been buying Tom Brady's play action theatrics despite any semblance of a running game. Arming Brady with an elite back like Dillon will make Brady's passing game that much better; if you can believe it. And how fresh will the Patriots defense be when they don't have to run back out onto the field after three straight incomplete passes? Dillon is the type of big, strong back that eats up the clock late in a game.
Bob Barker would be proud because the Price Was Right. Corey Dillon-Come on Down!
Essentially, the Patriots traded their 2002 third-round pick for Dillon. The team originally sent this pick to the Dolphins in exchange for their second-round pick in this Saturday's draft. Realizing that picking him up for the #56 overall pick represented excellent value, the Patriots reportedly outmaneuvered the Cowboys and the Raiders for Dillon's services.
And this deal won't break the bank. With the Bengals eating a good deal of his signing bonus, the Patriots get an All-Pro back at a reasonable $3-4 million a year for the next two seasons.
A final thought on this shocking development. Let's withhold judgment on whether Dillon is a cancer in the locker room. If you had to spend seven years as a Cincinnati Bengal, perhaps you would be a little ornery, too. And we heard the same rumblings about Rodney Harrison this time last year.
Alas, this joy that you heard all over Patriots Nation was tempered by the news of Ty Law having a yet another run-in with the police; this time down in Miami. Over this offseason, this guy has turned into the off-the-field equivalent of a trip to my dental hygienist.
"I need a new contract."
"A man's got to eat."
Blah, blah, blah. You know the story.
The latest is that Law was pinched on Saturday night for resisting arrest and failing to stop his 2004 Rolls Royce for one of Miami's finest. According to his credibility-challenged agents, the Poston brothers, it was a "misunderstanding" and Law was even thinking about pressing charges against the arresting officer.
Oh, please. It would be one thing if we haven't heard this line before but the bust in 2000 for ecstasy at the Canadian border is still fresh in the back of our minds.
The only justice in this whole mess is that the incident does indeed take away whatever bargaining power Law still had with the Patriots. This is strike two and Bob Kraft usually doesn't let troublemakers stick around to be caught looking for strike three.
In a day when an alleged cancer named Corey Dillon rode into zip code 02035 wearing a white hat, Ty Law had to make us all shake our heads and roll our eyes. Thanks.
Why do crazy things like the Law arrest always seem to stand in the way of a great moment in Boston's sports history?
If you have any theories on this (or other impossible topics such as Massachusetts Legislative ethics and good governing principles), I would be happy to hear from you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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