Lawyer Milloy's end of summer release from the New England Patriots was one of the early introductions to Bill Belichick's ruthlessness as the czar in Foxborough. Prior to that release in 2003, Lawyer was one of the NFL's elite safeties, being named to the Pro Bowl four times, was a first-team All-Pro in '99 and helped the franchise win its first Super Bowl title in 2001. He was also named to the All-Decade Team for the 1990s and 2000s.

That all came to a swift halt leading up to the 2003 regular season as issues arose surrounding his contract. As he explained during his Monday appearance on WEEI's Orday, Merloni and Fauria, Milloy said that he was given an ultimatum by Belichick and eventually was let go. What specifically irked Milloy about his September 2 release was the timing as it occurred on the doorstep of the regular season beginning. 

"It was obviously a pivotal part of my life, my career, when you dedicated for so many years — I was there seven years — and helped really build it from the ground up to ultimately being a champion," he said, as transcribed by "I think I went to my fourth Pro Bowl in five years and then I was given an ultimatum: either take a pay cut or leave it. That was up to discussion. I had good representation with Carl Poston and went the whole offseason -- the last time I talked to Bill was in June right before the veteran (time) when you can go out and seek another team and we had a discussion. He said basically, 'the worst-case scenario is you play out this year and we have to revisit it after the season.'

"So me and my representation were in agreement with that and the Friday after the last preseason game he pulled me into the office and gives me the same ultimatum: I have until Monday to think about it. Guys get released or have these situations come up all the time, it was just the way he handled it, trying to wait until the Monday before the first game, which really disgusted me.

"But, looking back at it from a business standpoint, obviously you are trying to get the most competitive roster that you can and keep that salary down. I understand that part of it, it was more the way he did it."

Milloy went on to sign with the Buffalo Bills, which was particularly intriguing as he would open up against his former squad to begin the year. To New England's chagrin, Milloy's Bills were able to thrash the Patriots to the tune of a 31-0 victory. 

"I had given seven years of my heart, soul, blood and tears to not only the organization, but to the city and then obviously I was in another uniform playing against my former team in a matter of days," he said. "It was a surreal moment for myself and then obviously the outcome of the game went the Bills way, my way because we won. But, it was also some closure that needed to happen."

The relationship had been salty between Milloy and New England for quite some time after his release and he even admitted that it took him a while "to even mention the Patriots." However, that icy relationship has softened over the last handful of years and Milloy has even been back to Foxborough for various events and noted the team has welcomed him back "with open arms." 

Apparently, at least in this case, time does heal all wounds.