In what could be a significant step toward his planned return to the NFL, free agent cornerback Ty Law will work out on Monday for Detroit Lions management officials and coaches, his second visit with the team this offseason.
The four-time Pro Bowl performer, released by the New England Patriots in February, has been rehabilitating his surgically-repaired left foot in Miami. The injury limited the 10-year veteran to just seven appearances in 2004 and he finished the season on the injured reserve list.
The session in Detroit will be at least the second recent workout for Law, who had a June 22 workout in Jacksonville for Jaguars officials.
It is not known how extensive the audition will be. But if the Lions are serious about the possibility of pursuing Law, they likely will want to see him make hard cuts as they try to determine exactly where he stands in his recovery. Law has said in recent weeks that he is close to being 100 percent recovered from the injury.
Last week, Lisa Kearns of the Miami-based SportFit Rehab and Training, the physical therapist and exercise physiologist who has been working with Law for months now, told ESPN.com that she felt the star cornerback was very close to being able to audition for any interested suitors. Kearns said she was confident Law would play in the NFL in 2005 and would perform at a high level.
"He's just about there [in his recovery]," said Kearns. "He's able to make hard cuts now and we've just got to turn that up some. But I think he looks just great."
That sentiment was echoed by another Kearns client, former Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch, who recently threw to Law during one of his own rehabilitation sessions.
"I don't want to place a percentage on where I feel like he is," said Couch. "That wouldn't be fair to him. But I know that he looked good and he moved well. [It's] just my opinion, but I think he'll be a big-time player again."
About a half-dozen franchises, with varying degrees of interest and potential commitment financially, have continued to monitor Law's rehabilitation. Agent Carl Poston told The Boston Globe that he has received contract proposals from some clubs, and characterized the offers as varying between "hamburger and filet mignon." Law has reiterated several times during his recovery that he will not sign a minimum salary contract.
The Lions have not been mentioned lately as one of the teams still chasing Law. But if the veteran cornerback performs well in his workout, Detroit could become serious about him. The Lions have one Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback in Dre Bly and their other starter, Fernando Bryant is viewed as a solid defender, but one coming off a subpar season that was affected by injuries.
Detroit signed veteran free agent cornerback R.W. McQuarters two months ago, after he was released by the Chicago Bears, and invested a third-round draft choice on former Stanford corner Stanley Wilson.
Law, 31, has 36 career interceptions and 122 passes defensed in 141 games, all with New England, which selected the former University of Michigan star in the first round of the 1995 draft.