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Patriots’ Ty Law Suspended

December 20, 2000 GMT

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) _ The New England Patriots suspended Ty Law for Sunday’s season-ending game against Miami, two days after the cornerback was caught at the Canadian border with the illegal drug Ecstasy.

Coach Bill Belichick announced the move Wednesday but declined to comment on the reasons for it. He did not say whether wide receivers Terry Glenn and Troy Brown, who were also late for Monday’s team meeting, would be disciplined.

``It’s a closed case,″ Belichick said. ``I really don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about details and circumstances.″

Belichick said the decision was made by the team, without consultation with the NFL. League spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday the league will review the episode to determine if Law violated the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Patriots (5-10) beat Buffalo 13-10 in overtime on Sunday in a game that ended in a driving snowstorm. Law, who is uncomfortable flying, asked Belichick for permission to wait out the storm and return Monday instead.

Belichick gave Law, Brown and Glenn permission to return the next day as long as they were back in time for a 1 p.m. meeting. The players were all late for the meeting, team spokesman Stacey James said.

Law said he went to a nightclub on the Canadian side of the border with friends who live in Buffalo. A friend of his friends offered him a ride to the airport, but when they reached the border at 5:30 a.m., there was a problem with her car’s registration, and U.S. Customs began searching the car.

After finding a marijuana cigarette on the woman, inspectors searched Law’s luggage and found three pills of MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, and four partially crushed pills in Law’s bag. The pills were later tested and came up positive for Ecstasy, according to Mark MacVittie, chief inspector with the Customs Service in Buffalo.

The inspectors told Law he wouldn’t be prosecuted because of the small quantity involved. Law was issued an administrative penalty of $700, which he paid on the spot before being released.

The only other person in the car, Tania Edwards, was fined $500 for possession of a marijuana cigarette, MacVittie said.

On the team’s off-day Tuesday, Law appeared at Foxboro Stadium to read a statement to reporters. Talking softly and interrupting his prepared remarks to speak extemporaneously, he apologized to Patriots owner Bob Kraft, his teammates, his family and the New England fans and offered to take a drug test to prove he’s clean.

``I’m willing to do whatever it takes _ drug testing or whatever _ to have some sort of peace of mind, and give you guys peace of mind,″ he said.

He said that the bag and the drugs inside belonged to a relative who stayed with him at his house and left it behind. Law grabbed it when he packed to go to Buffalo without checking it first, he said.

``I had no idea that it was in the bag,″ Law said. ``I know this sounds stupid and maybe a little bit unbelievable, but that’s the honest-to-God truth.″

Law said the relative has talked to Belichick and admitted the drugs were his. Belichick would not confirm that he had that conversation.

``It’s too bad for Ty. He’s a good guy and he doesn’t deserve the criticism he’s going to get,″ linebacker Ted Johnson said. ``But things happen, and we’ve got to be held accountable.″

Law said he has never used illegal drugs.

``I think that people who know me well know that I’m not a drug user,″ he said. ``I did not knowingly commit an illegal act. I know I have to suffer the consequences of my behavior, and I accept that.″

Law, a first-round draft pick for the Patriots in 1995, signed a seven-year contract extension last Aug. 20. He has 22 career interceptions, ninth on the Patriots’ career list.