He felt spurned by the Patriots for the way they handled his contract negotiations and eventual release and he and his new teammates took it out on the Patriots. Now Milloy returns to Foxborough for the first time as an ex-Patriot.
"(I miss) the fans," Milloy said when asked about his return," because the fans really allowed me to be Lawyer Milloy. I played hard, for not only my teammates, but for them. They were the type of people that I think I can relate to -- blue collar, hard working and not really flamboyant. They just show up to work every day. They are what I'm looking forward to the most, coming out of the tunnel and seeing them and going out and competing hard."
The fan response will be interesting. Milloy never missed a game during his seven seasons with the Patriots and as a fan favorite, his release was not taken lightly. But he bad-mouthed Bill Belichick and the organization on the way out the door, which may have irked some. His feelings toward Belichick remain icy, which isn't a surprise given what happened, but the two had a solid player-coach relationship when Milloy was a Patriot.
"He's a coach and I'm a player," Milloy said. "That's it. He was never really my friend. It's a business and that's it. The only thing that really was terrible about the whole thing was their strategy as far as trying to squeeze me into the last week. He knows what he did and that's it. They've moved on, he's moved on and I've moved on."
The Patriots margin of victory during their 11-game winning streak is a slim 7.7 points and they are the first team in NFL history to win 11 games in a row with all eleven coming by 14 points or less. But they don't care how they win, only that they win.
"That's part of the NFL," center Damien Woody said. "I'm sure a lot of people can point back to games where one or two plays here or there could have made the outcome different. But in the end, all we are going to worry about are the wins and losses. Right now we have 13 wins and we want to keep moving forward."
When the Patriots face the league's second-ranked defense this weekend, it will be the sixth time they played a defense ranked in the top six at the time of the meeting, including matchups with defenses ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in consecutive games (Denver and Dallas). The Patriots are 5-0 against those defenses heading into the Bills game with wins over Jacksonville (5th), Dallas (1st), Denver (2nd), Cleveland (6th) and Tennessee (5th).
The first meeting between the Bills and Patriots was a statistical anomaly for the Patriots defense. Buffalo converted 50 percent of its third downs against a unit that has held opponents to 33.5 percent on the season. Drew Bledsoe's 83.9 passer rating in that game is the second highest against the Patriots this year and well above the 56.9 rating all quarterbacks have compiled against New England. On the other side of the ball, the interception Sam Adams returned for a touchdown remains the only defensive touchdown surrendered by the Patriots this season. Also, the four interceptions Tom Brady threw represent one-third of his season total.
BY THE NUMBERS: 238
The amount of points the Patriots have allowed in 2003, the second fewest in the league behind Tampa Bay (231).
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"We have to think about it just as we do every other game. We know what it is. We know Lawyer (Milloy) and Drew (Bledsoe) are coming back and it's a media frenzy, but we just have to stay grounded and focus at the task at hand." -- Running back Antowain Smith on the re-match with Buffalo.