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Updated    12/05/10

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2005 Post Season

Click here for entire Bruschi Article Archive

Smith, Bruschi tie for comeback award
NFL.com wire reports

NEW YORK (Jan. 5, 2006) -- Tedy Bruschi didn't get a chance to tackle Steve Smith when the Patriots played the Panthers in September. By midseason, he'd made a remarkable comeback from a stroke and was starting for New England.

Bruschi's return was as impressive as Smith's achievement of returning from a knee injury that cost the Carolina receiver nearly all of the 2004 season. On Jan. 5, they shared The Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year award.

The Patriots' star linebacker and defensive leader made it back on Oct. 30 after originally expecting to sit out the entire schedule. By then, Smith was on his way to leading the NFL in most receiving categories. Both sparked their teams into the playoffs.

"I'm a football player by trade. That's what I do," Bruschi said. "So I did everything I could to make myself a football player again."

As did Smith.

"I keep stressing that last year put everything in perspective," Smith said. "I felt like football was my whole life. When it was taken away from me, I felt the Lord was teaching me a lesson to not put all my eggs in one basket. ... That's why I am enjoying playing."

Their teams surely enjoyed their contributions, which earned 18 votes each from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. That easily outdistanced Washington quarterback Mark Brunell with six; Tennessee defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch with five; Detroit receiver Roy Williams, Tampa Bay receiver Joey Galloway and Minnesota receiver-kick returner Koren Robinson, each with one vote.

The 32-year-old Bruschi played nine games after recovering from the mild stroke suffered in February, days after playing in his first Pro Bowl and 10 days after helping the Patriots win their third Super Bowl in four years. He later had surgery to repair a small hole in his heart.

He's preferred not to speak much about his comeback, in keeping with the closed-mouth approach of so many Patriots. But he gave some insight into his makeup when he returned Oct. 30 in a win over Buffalo.

"I'm back to doing what I love," Bruschi said. "Sometimes, you've just got to pick yourself off the ground and get back to living your life. That's all I was trying to do."

He missed the season finale against Miami with a calf injury, but has practiced this week and is expected on the field for the Jan. 7 playoff game with Jacksonville.

His teammates project the same kind of stellar effort in the postseason that Bruschi always has given in his decade of NFL play.

"His instincts are still there and that's what separates him from other linebackers," linebacker Chad Brown said. "He's just got a great feel for what everyone on the defense is doing, how the offense is trying to attack him. And couple that with his great instincts and that's why he makes plays."

Smith has many of the same attributes, and was a key playmaker in Carolina's run to the 2003 NFC championship before losing to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. After sitting out all but the opener in 2004, he was even more sensational this season.

So much so that Smith tied for the most receptions in the league with 103 and led all receivers with 1,563 yards. He scored 13 touchdowns, and also ranked third in the NFC in punt return average (10.6 yards).

"My best quality is my height," he said. "A lot of people think my height is a disadvantage: 'He's only 5-9, he's not capable of all of those things that they say that they ask of other receivers.' I feel I am."

Clearly, he is correct.

NFL.com - NFL News

Patriots locker room quotes New England Patriots
New England Patriots players offers their comments on the upcoming playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.



Q: What are your thoughts on winning the co-comeback player of the year award with Steve Smith?

Bruschi: I think Steve would also agree it has been a long road for him and me for us to get back and do what we love to do. I am sure that was his goal and that was my goal this year and to be recognized for it is an honor. It is something; you don't want to get this type of award every year. But to get it recognizes a lot of things I went though this year and I'm appreciative about that.

Q: Physically how are you feeling? Better than last week?

Bruschi: I feel good. Like I said, right now I am day to day. I'm going to go out there and try some more things and the days will go from there.

Q: With all that you have been through, sure it will settle in, but are you like, 'Wow, look what has been going the last several months?'

Bruschi: I had a chance to reflect upon it with New Year turning from 2005 to 2006. And over the holidays, we have had time to reflect. Sometimes in life you have to get through certain things. There are tough obstacles to overcome and this is one in my life. I'm happy to be able to stand in front of you right now and tell you that it was overcome and come back to being who I am.

Q: Were you at a level you were satisfied with or hoped to be playing at coming into the regular season when you came back?

Bruschi: How I answer that is that I am helping the team win. That is my goal - to help the team win. The words I always focus on are improvement and getting better. And I think I have gotten better ever since I have come back. I think it's been a progression. I have never jumped into a season like I did this year. Just to make progress the way I did, just to help the team win. I feel good about it.

Q: Coach said he doesn't think about it anymore and he looks at you like any other football player. Do you think about it anymore or are you just trying to play football right now?

Bruschi: I think that is all. The Buffalo game was a game where a lot was going through my mind. The things that were going through my mind a week or two weeks leading up to that game were very emotional. A lot of things were going on with my family and in my life. But since then my wife and I, my coaches, my teammates are all happy that we are just playing football right now. I am very happy that I can contribute to help us win ballgames.

Q: Talk about being a part of the team now with your success story.

Bruschi: We've got a different path that we have to take this year. I think the past couple of years we have had some time to get healthy and then play our first game. This year we are a part of wild card weekend. It's a different path taken for us, but it's a playoff game and we are excited to be in the playoffs. To face an opponent like Jacksonville and to see if we can get a victory on Saturday night is going to be something we are all excited about.

Q: Is this the type of game that you feel like it will go all the way to the end?

Bruschi: We expect it to. We expect it to because I don't expect anything less from Jacksonville but to give us their best effort. We respect them as a good football team and we anticipate it going to the last second.

Q: Can you imagine how you would feel now if you were to have put off that decision and to be watching your team in the playoffs, how frustrating would that have been?

Bruschi: Yeah that is a what-if question, a what-if question if I wasn't able to come back this year. I don't know how I would have felt about it. But I know when the time came when I was to be designated on the physically unable to perform list and the time came when I was to be activated or placed on IR. It turned out to be the same time where I got better enough to play. I took myself back in to play. To give it a shot was something that I was going to do. I think to not give it a shot was something that would eat me up looking back 10 years down the road. I was like, 'Let's do it now and not wait, because I have been cleared to do it.'

Official Website of the New England Patriots

Bruschi shares AP Comeback Player award
Michael Parente, Journal Register News Service


FOXBORO - Tedy Bruschi didn’t hesitate when it came time to decide on the future of his playing career.

After suffering a mild stroke in February, Bruschi returned to the NFL in October following eight months of rehabilitation. The veteran New England Patriots linebacker didn’t want to risk his long-term health, but he also didn’t want to pass up an opportunity he’d regret later in life.

"To not give it a shot, that would’ve eaten me up five or 10 years down the road," Bruschi said Thursday after sharing The Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year award with Carolina’s Steve Smith. "I was like, ‘Let’s just do it now. Let’s not wait. I’ve been cleared to do it.’"

Bruschi’s return sparked a defensive turnaround that helped the Patriots win six of their final eight games and clinch their third consecutive division title.

They were ranked 27th in run defense before Bruschi made his regular-season debut against Buffalo on Oct. 30. Heading into Saturday’s playoff game against Jacksonville, they’re now eighth against the run, allowing an average of 98.8 rushing yards per game.

Bruschi has gradually shaken off the rust and become a legitimate run-stopping force in New England’s front seven. He missed all of training camp and didn’t absorb any contact until he was cleared to practice in early October, so it took him a few weeks to get his timing and rhythm back.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick attributed hard work and consistency to Bruschi’s remarkable comeback. Bruschi was back at Gillette Stadium working out with his teammates less than two months after being released from the hospital, so his recovery has been a gradual process.

"It wasn’t like the room was dark and all of a sudden the light switch was flipped on," Belichick said. "I can remember going back to where he was in March, April, June and July and then getting back on the field in October and November. It’s been slow and steady and it’s been consistent.

"If you look back now and say, ‘Was I surprised from where he was in February?’ Yeah, that’d probably be fair, but from March to April, to April to May, there was such a steady stream of progress with each week and month. You could see him getting better and doing things he hadn’t done and looking more like Tedy both physically and in his demeanor."

Bruschi never lost his instinct, but there were times when he wasn’t physically able to make plays in the running game. He missed three tackles in the first quarter of New England’s loss at Kansas City on Nov. 27 and sat out most of the second half. Three weeks later at home against Tampa Bay, he finished with a team-high 15 tackles, recorded two sacks and forced a fumble in a 28-0 win.

"With all the plays he has to play, it takes a little while to get that reaction, timing and quickness back," Belichick said. "It’s not a question as much about physical conditioning - though that’s a little bit of it - because Tedy is such a well-conditioned athlete. It’s the timing, the defensive reaction and the recognition of playing football.

"You can do sit ups and run around the track all day, but that doesn’t get you ready to play football with the other 21 guys out there on the field. I think he’s improved in every aspect of his game during the time he’s been on the field the last two and a half months."

Bruschi rarely focuses on individual achievements, but he was honored to share the Comeback Player of the Award with Smith because it reminded him of everything he went through to resume his playing career. The support of his wife, Heidi, and his three children, Tedy Jr., Rex and Dante, helped him fight through the adversity and focus on working his back into shape.

"I think Steve would agree with me that it’s been a long road to get back," Bruschi said. "We were able to get back to doing what we love to do and that was my goal this year. To be recognized for it is an honor. You don’t want to get this type of award every year, but to get it and be recognized for a lot of the things I’ve been through this year, I’m appreciative."

Belichick wasn’t surprised to see Bruschi back on the field against Buffalo three months ago, but some of his teammates doubted whether they’d ever see him in a Patriots uniform again. Unlike a more common injury, such as a broken leg or a sprained ankle, a stroke is far more severe. Few players understand the symptoms or long-term affects.

"We’re not just talking about an injury. We’re talking about life-altering stuff, so it was a surprise, but every man has to make his own decision and this turned out to be a good one for him," Patriots linebacker Don Davis said. "We’re happy for him and the award is well-deserved. We’re definitely glad to have him back."

Bruschi’s still questionable for Saturday’s playoff opener with an injured calf, but given what he’s been through this year, it’d be strange to not see him in the starting lineup this weekend. His quick decision-making - both on and off the field - would be a valuable asset for the Patriots.

"I feel good. Right now, I’m day-to-day," Bruschi said. "This was an obstacle in my life and I’m happy to be able to stand in front of you talking about what I’ve been able to overcome. It’s been a gradual progression. I never jumped back into a season like this, but I feel I’m helping the team win. That’s my goal."

Google Search: tedy bruschi


Bruschi completes Comeback
By Tony Massarotti
Boston Herald Baseball Columnist and General Sports Columnist

Friday, January 6, 2006 - Updated: 08:30 AM EST

FOXBORO — From a performance standpoint, it is difficult to suggest that Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi has had as impressive a season as Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. But given where Bruschi came from, it is no wonder the two were paired together yesterday.

Less than a year after suffering a stroke, Bruschi joined Smith as a co-winner of the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. Bruschi (left calf) continues to describe himself as “day-to-day” for tomorrow night’s playoff meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the mere fact that he returned this season is nothing short of miraculous.

“I think (Smith) would agree that it’s been a long road back for us to get back to what we love to do,” Bruschi said. “To be recognized for it is an honor. You don’t want to get this award every year, but to get after what I’ve gone through is an honor.”

Said coach Bill Belichick: “I think he’s improved in every aspect of his game during the time he’s been back on the field. . . . It’s been such a slow and steady thing. It wasn’t like the room was dark and the light got flipped on. It’s been a gradual process. It’s been slow and steady and consistent.”

Bruschi, of course, suffered his most recent setback on special teams during a victory over the New York Jets in Week 16. Bruschi left the game with an unspecified left calf injury and was replaced by Monty Beisel in last weekend’s regular-season finale.

Smith missed most of the 2004 season with a broken leg.

BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Bruschi completes Comeback

Bruschi stays put on sideline
By Jerome Solomon, Globe Staff | January 8, 2006

FOXBOROUGH -- Linebacker Tedy Bruschi was in uniform, though he did not play in New England's 28-3 romp over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium last night. Bruschi, who strained his calf against the Jets two weeks ago, warmed up, but stood on the sideline for much of the contest.

In the second half, he wore a pressure wrap on his left calf as he sat on the team's heated bench. Bruschi declined an interview after the game, saying that teammates who played deserved the attention.

One such teammate is Monty Beisel, who earned the start in Bruschi's place.

Maligned in many corners for being in the starting lineup when the Patriots' defense struggled early in the season, Beisel played well with two tackles, one that accounted for an 8-yard loss in the first quarter.

''Obviously it was a huge game for me," Beisel said. ''We were kind of unsure what was going to happen with Tedy, and I just had prepare all week like I was going to go out there and play.

''I think we went out there and were able to get 'em out of what they wanted to do and get 'em into throwing the ball. I think it was a great overall effort for the whole team."

That early run-stuffing effort actually led to Beisel not playing much in the second half. For the most part, Jacksonville went with four wideouts from the midway point of the second quarter, forcing the Patriots to play nickel or dime defenses.

That opened the door to plenty of playing time for Chad Brown, who started at inside next to Beisel early in the season, but has since given way to Mike Vrabel.

''It totally was fun," Brown said. ''I came here to help the team anyway I could."

Brown had three tackles, including one on special teams, and a pass breakup.

Bruschi stays put on sideline - The Boston Globe

List says Tedy ready
By John Tomase
Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - Updated: 07:20 AM EST

FOXBORO — For the first time since straining his left calf against the Jets on Dec. 26, Tedy Bruschi was not listed on the Patriots’ injury report yesterday.

The list contained 12 names, from Tom Brady to Asante Samuel, and all are probable.

Bruschi presumably is healthy. The picture at practice, however, told a slightly different story. Bruschi spent most of the 20-minute media window stretching his calf while the rest of the team worked on their groins, hamstrings and quads. He also jogged with a slight limp.

Bruschi missed Saturday’s victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars, testing his calf before the game and then watching from the sideline in uniform. Coach Bill Belichick said Bruschi could have played, but didn’t because the Jags abandoned the run, and the Patriots spent much of the game in nickel and dime coverages.

Bruschi did not speak to the media yesterday, but Brady said it’s killing the linebacker to not be playing.

“Tedy recovered from a stroke in six months, so I always joke, ‘How could this little calf keep you out for that long if a stroke couldn’t?’ ” Brady said. “He wants to be out there. He was ready to go last week. It’s always exciting to have him out there. He sparks that defense. He plays with emotion and energy and toughness. I think the offense feeds off watching Tedy Bruschi make plays. Hopefully, we’ll see him make a lot of plays this week.”

Bruschi’s presence on the field against the Broncos on Saturday would provide a boost. Denver had success running the ball up the middle against the Pats in the teams’ first matchup Oct. 16, but Bruschi was not in the lineup and could help swing that battle in the Patriots’ favor this time.

“Tedy Bruschi is our rock,” fellow linebacker Don Davis said. “He’s a guy we count on. We didn’t have him the first time. Whether that has any bearing on this game, only time will tell.”

BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: List says Tedy ready

No mention of Bruschi's injury
By Jerome Solomon, Globe Staff | January 11, 2006

FOXBOROUGH -- Before yesterday's practice, Tedy Bruschi jogged slowly with a slight limp, then ignored the team stretching drills to loosen up on his own -- lots of leg and calf stretching, and some kicking.

It appeared Bruschi was being extra careful with an injured left calf that has kept him out of the last two games.

The Patriots released their official injury report yesterday and it did not include Bruschi, who strained his calf during punt coverage against the Jets Dec. 26, and did not play in the season finale against Miami or last Saturday against Jacksonville in the wild-card playoff game.

Bruschi's teammates are looking forward to his return . . . and teasing him about the delay.

''Tedy recovered from a stroke in six months, so I always joke, 'How could this little calf keep you out for that long if a stroke couldn't?' " Tom Brady said. ''He wants to be out there. He was ready to go last week. It's always exciting to have him out there. He sparks that defense. He plays with emotion and energy and toughness. It's great. I think the offense feeds off watching Tedy Bruschi make plays. Hopefully we see him make a lot of plays this week."

While the Patriots' injury reports are often entertaining as they try to follow the NFL rules without divulging too much information, Bruschi's status should indicate he is ready to go for this week's divisional playoff game at Denver. He was listed as questionable last week, dressed for the game, but did not play.

In the 2003 season, the Patriots incurred a league fine for listing Richard Seymour as probable the entire week, then not even bringing the defensive lineman on the trip to Denver.

A couple of new names appeared on the injury list -- center Russ Hochstein (probable/ankle) and special teams regular Matt Chatham (probable/knee). The remaining starters on the report were listed with the same status last week and played against the Jaguars.

No mention of Bruschi's injury - The Boston Globe

Bruschi sit? Don't count on it
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff

How they love their intrigue in Foxboro.

Ask about defensive coordinator Eric Mangini being courted by the Jets, and the New England Patriots' lips stick together like Zip-loc bags. Ask about gimpy linebacker Tedy Bruschi and his knotted calf muscle, and everyone shrugs. You want information out of that locker room? You'd better bring the dogs to sniff it out.

Bruschi is the latest mystery. He missed the final regular-season game, but his name hasn't appeared on this week's injury list -- and the Patriots have listed a dozen players. Will Bruschi play in tonight's AFC Divisional playoff game against the Broncos in Denver? Will he start? Is the calf fully healed? Wasn't he limping in practice this week?

Most believe this is like a "Columbo" episode. You know the ending: The celebrity guest did it. And you know the ending here, too. Bruschi will start. The Patriots just won't say it.

Coach Bill Belichick, who looks like a monk in his oversized sweatshirt with the hood and extra-wide sleeves, has all but taken a vow of silence. Oh, he'll talk about Bruschi's emotional value to the team and his leadership, but he won't give anyone a sneak peek at his defense's starting lineup.

Ask Bruschi if he will play, and you get this: "Wait. I have to do a radio interview. I'll be right back."

We're still waiting.

But common sense says Bruschi -- who returned six months after he suffered a stroke, who has overcome a hole in his heart, who is the emotional current flowing through the defense -- will play. Besides, in the previous meeting of these teams in October, when Bruschi was still recovering, the Patriots were spanked, 28-20, as the Broncos rushed for 178 yards, most of it up the middle, where he would have been.

"I don't want to bet the farm, but I'm pretty sure Tedy won't sit this one out," said former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, now a Boston TV sports analyst covering the team. "He sets the defense. Belichick wants him in there. He's an emotional fireplug. If you're standing in front of that huddle, that's an important spot, not just calling the plays, but inspiring the guys."

Quarterback Tom Brady came the closest this week to guaranteeing Bruschi will be out there tonight.

"Tedy recovered from a stroke in six months, so I always joke, 'How could this little calf keep you out for that long if a stroke couldn't?'" Brady said. "He wants to be out there. He was ready to go last week.

"It's always exciting to have him out there. He sparks that defense. He plays with emotion and energy and toughness. I think the offense feeds off watching Tedy make plays. Hopefully, we see him make a lot of plays this week."

Forgive the Broncos if they don't get caught up in the will-he, won't-he stuff. The Patriots have messed with their heads before. In 2003, defensive lineman Richard Seymour was listed as probable before a Monday night game in Denver, then didn't even make the trip.

Belichick said Bruschi could have played in the wild-card playoff victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but didn't because the Jaguars stopped running the ball, forcing the Patriots into nickel and dime pass coverages. Bruschi simply wasn't needed.

Tonight, it's a different story. The Broncos' offense presents the Patriots with their toughest test of the season. Against a 3-4 defense that gradually has been healing and stiffening as the postseason approached, the Broncos will try to control the ball with running backs Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell. They'll run those sweeps that stretch the defense just enough for Anderson or Bell to find a cut-back path. They'll get the defense scrambling on quarterback Jake Plummer's roll-outs. They'll take their shots downfield with Rod Smith on the play-action fake.

The Patriots will need Bruschi's emotion and leadership ... and his savvy.

"We've been stopping the run, allowing us to make teams one-dimensional," outside linebacker Willie McGinest said. "The Broncos run the ball and pass the ball well. We have our work cut out for us. But it all starts with the run."

And that's where Bruschi comes in.

He wasn't supposed to play football this season. And, some thought, never again. He awakened Feb. 16, just a few days after the Pro Bowl, with a headache, blurred vision and numbness on the right side of his body. At 31 years old, the fiery defensive leader of the Patriots had suffered a stroke.

Bruschi fought his way back into shape, then sparked widespread debate when doctors cleared him to play on Oct. 30 and he rejoined the team. When he returned to the starting lineup, some NFL fans feared the worst, but Patriots fans cheered and wept. The defense has been riding that emotion ever since.

New England has a new Tedy Ballgame.

"If he gets an opportunity to play, he'll go out and play lights out," linebacker Rosevelt Colvin said. "He gives us a spark, the emotion, the energy. When he came back, he gave the fans something to get excited about.

"But that only takes you so far. After the cheering ends, you still have to do your job. We were glad to get him back, but the other 10 guys had to do their job, too. We can't bank on one guy doing everything."

Maybe not, but Bruschi had a huge impact. The Patriots were the NFL's second-worst team against the run in their first eight games. Thanks in part to Bruschi's return, they were the league's best against the run (68 yards per game) in the second half of the season.

In the first half, the Patriots held only two opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing. In the second half, they did it six times, holding opponents to 2.9 yards per attempt.

Bruschi likes to tell the story of the time his son, 4-year-old Tedy, looked at him during the recovery and said, "Daddy, the team needs you." Well, if the kid knows anything about the Broncos' offense, he might use that line again.

Bruschi sit? Don't count on it

Will Bruschi be available?
By Jerome Solomon, Globe Staff | January 14, 2006

DENVER -- Will he or won't he?

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi's conspicuous absence from the team's injury report doesn't necessarily mean he will play in tonight's divisional playoff game against the Broncos.

Bruschi, who injured his left calf Dec. 26 against the New York Jets, sat out the previous two games while being listed as questionable for those contests.

He has not been on the injury report this week, although he was limping prior to practice Tuesday.

Bruschi traveled with the team here yesterday afternoon, but a team source said Bruschi did not go full speed at practice this week, which at best means he is a game-time decision. Bruschi dressed and warmed up before last week's wild-card game against Jacksonville and appeared to be close to giving it a go, but he did not play.

Should Bruschi sit tonight, Monty Beisel will start inside next to Mike Vrabel.

Beisel got off to a slow start this season, but played solidly against Jacksonville in mostly first-half duty. When the Patriots went to their nickel and dime packages, Beisel exited and Chad Brown entered.

The Broncos' running attack, second in the league at 158.7 yards per game, makes the inside linebacker spot a key to victory. With Bruschi and defensive lineman Richard Seymour not playing because of injuries, Denver ran over the Patriots here Oct. 16, finishing with 178 rushing yards, the second most allowed by New England this season.

Will Bruschi be available? - The Boston Globe

Red, white and blue-collar
Adversity behind, 'Patriot for life' is expected to return vs. Broncos

It looks as if Tedy Bruschi will play. And that bit of simple news will be enough to lift the spirit of every Patriots fan. Bruschi always lifts the Patriots.


Tom Brady might be the handsome, confident face of the Patriots, but Bruschi is the heart of this team that carries a 10-game playoff winning streak into Denver on Saturday night to face a Broncos team that is favored to end New England's Super Bowl run.

Brady might be the quarterback and star of this dynasty, but Bruschi is the lunch-bucket hero, just another ''I'll take all the overtime you've got, boss'' kind of guy who works 10 hours, then meets the boys at the tavern down the street for a ''Brew-ski'' -- which is exactly how he pronounces his name.

And everyone -- from Providence to Portland, from Mt. Washington to the Cape, from Faneuil Hall to Foxboro to Fenway and back again -- knows his name.

Grown men cried the day Bruschi walked back on the field this season, and every Patriots fan, player and coach will feel better if Bruschi is back at his linebacker spot Saturday night.

He wasn't supposed to be there, and that has nothing to do with a calf injury that kept him out of last week's playoff win against Jacksonville. Bruschi wasn't supposed to play at all this season.


He woke up Feb. 16, just three days after playing in the Pro Bowl, and his life was a blur. He couldn't see clearly and couldn't feel the right side of his body. His wife, Heidi, called 911. At age 31, one of the most vibrant, energetic men in the NFL had suffered a stroke.

Doctors told Bruschi he had a hole in his heart and that a blood clot had caused the stroke. They successfully implanted a plug in the hole, but Bruschi told the team in June he wouldn't play this season.

That's why there was so much jubilation when doctors cleared him to play, and he returned Oct. 30, a walking inspiration. Owner Bob Kraft didn't even make Bruschi sign a medical liability waiver. Bruschi said at the time his 4-year-old son Tedy sealed the deal when he said, ``Dad, the team needs you.''

Bruschi's value -- to the fans and the team -- is immeasurable. After safety Rodney Harrison's first season with the Pats, he was asked how Bruschi -- at 6-1 and 247 pounds -- could have such an impact.

''The guy plays like he's 6-5 and 300 pounds,'' he said. ``That's how much heart he has.''

Pats linebacker Mike Vrabel once said: ``Everyone needs a Bruschi, but good luck finding one. He's everything for this team.''

They will need him against Denver, which ran for 178 yards in a 28-20 victory Oct. 16 against the Pats, who were the NFL's second-worst team against the run in their first eight games. New England was the NFL's best (68 yards per game) in the second half -- in part because of the return of Bruschi.


His slogan -- ''Full Tilt, Full Time'' -- came from his biggest fan, Randy Pierce, who is blind. Bruschi phoned Pierce, asking permission to use the slogan on T-shirts -- to raise money for tsunami victims. Bruschi embraces Boston, where he volunteers at hospitals and is a regular at the Longy Music School, where he plays his alto sax with middle school kids.

But that's just Bruschi, who after long Sunday nights of tossing and turning from the bruises of the NFL, gets up at 6:30 a.m. every Monday to attend to the three boys. It's the only day his wife can sleep late. He is notorious for sending her flowers -- the ultimate paradox: vicious linebacker/doting husband.

It seems Bruschi has been a Patriot forever, because he wants to be there forever. He has never had an agent, and negotiated his own deals to stay, vowing ``to be a Patriot for life.''

Now the word is he will be back from that calf injury.

'Tedy recovered from a stroke in six months, so I always joke, `How could this little calf keep you out that long if a stroke couldn't,' '' Brady said this week.

``He sparks the defense. He plays with emotion and energy and toughness. It's great. I think the offense feeds off watching Tedy Bruschi make plays. Hopefully, we'll see him make a lot of plays this week.''

MiamiHerald.com | 01/13/2006 | Red, white and blue-collar

Emotions swirl in Patriot's locker room after loss

01:00 AM EST on Sunday, January 15, 2006
Journal Sports Writer

DENVER -- Because the run at a third straight Super Bowl had ended, there was a feeling of finality or closure to last night's 27-13 Patriots loss.

After 10 straight playoff wins and three Super Bowl victories in four seasons, it was as if something more than a season had ended.

That feeling did not permeate the Patriots locker room. Asked if the run was over, Tedy Bruschi snapped at a Denver radio reporter.

"Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?" he asked, his voice low and steady like Clint Eastwood. "Think about that question and then think about the people in this locker room. Then take that question and stick it. That's enough."

With that, Bruschi ended the interview and rebuffed all other requests.

When a question posed to Kevin Faulk began with the words, "Some people look at this as the end of a run," Faulk said, "That's the last thing on our minds right now, a run. We lost a football game. A run is the last thing we even think about it. We come here to win games."

In the immediate aftermath of the game, postscripts, epitaphs and forecasts were left to those who didn't compete. For the players, the contest itself was too fresh.

"I think I'll realize it more tomorrow morning when I wake up (that the season's over)," said Christian Fauria. "I'm really in disbelief at how quickly things can end and how fortunes can change. They're continuing on and our season's done while we get ready for next season."

Said Richard Seymour, "When you look back you can always say three super bowls in four years is always great. It's still disappointing to lose and that's where we're at. A tough loss. But as a competitor, as a player, as a man you just have to accept that. You can't say, 'Oh, we did it to ourselves, let's not give them credit.' They did it. They beat us. It's just what it is. If you can't accept a loss what kind of person really are you?"

So is it the end of anything?

"It's the end of (a game in) Denver," said Seymour. "I can't get into next year and the following. I hope we can maintain our same group of guys. If we can do that we have as good a chance as anybody."

"This team will be around again," said quarterback Tom Brady. "Most of our players aren't going anywhere. The coach isn't going anywhere."

Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal | Patriots

 Bruschi at end of rope

Tedy Bruschi had his patience tried. While addressing how emotional the season was because of his return from a stroke, the linebacker mentioned that this was the end. Bruschi was merely referring to the season, but a Denver TV reporter asked him if he meant it was the end of the Patriots.

“Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?” Bruschi said. “Think about what you just asked me, man. Think about who we have in this locker room and take that question and get out of my face. That’s enough.”

Bruschi then walked away.

BostonHerald.com - Patriots & NFL: It’s maddening: Tempers flare along sideline



MetroWestDailyNews.com - Sports Columnists: Buckley: Tedy still the soul of team

Tedy’s year tests emotions
By John Tomase/ Patriots Notebook
Monday, January 16, 2006 - Updated: 06:29 AM EST

Few professional athletes have endured an emotional roller coaster on par with Tedy Bruschi’s 2005.

It began with a Super Bowl victory and then a stroke shortly after last winter’s Pro Bowl. It ended with a start at middle linebacker in the Patriots’ season-ending 27-13 divisional playoff loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday night.

In between, Bruschi experienced just about every high and low imaginable, from announcing he would sit out the season to making an inspirational return in October.

“I wish I could encapsulate it for you in a little sound bite, but I can’t,” Bruschi said. “I’ve experienced every emotion that I could possibly have. It was tough at times, but we’ve got great teammates that helped me the entire time to prepare and supported me. It was nice to get back to what I was doing.”

Bruschi didn’t just play, he excelled. Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording seven tackles in his return against the Bills on Oct. 30, he finished with 62 tackles and a pair of sacks in nine games. A calf injury on Dec. 26 sidelined him for two weeks.

He has no regrets.

“It was something I wanted to do,” he said. “I couldn’t see why I couldn’t come back and make another run at it. I think we made another run, but this time we didn’t cross the finish line.”

BostonHerald.com - Patriots & NFL: Tedy’s year tests emotions


Pats' Season Starts With Injuries, Ends With Mistakes
Offseason Will Involve Soul Searching

POSTED: 6:44 am EST January 16, 2006

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There were no crutches in sight, only ex-champs in a somber locker room.

The Patriots were just about the healthiest they'd been the whole season. In the locker room, they didn't blame their mistake-filled flop on questionable calls by officials.

There was befuddlement, though, at how a disciplined group that thrived under the pressure of three Super Bowls victories could come unglued with a chance for a fourth. Five turnovers plus an opportunistic opponent equaled a 27-13 divisional playoff win for the Denver Broncos on Saturday night.

Coach Bill Belichick said Sunday there were "very questionable calls" and that he was "surprised that was the playoff crew" of officials, but didn't blame the loss on those calls.

"They played better than we did," Belichick said on a conference call.

Now comes a long offseason of soul-searching about how a budding dynasty ended with a dud.

"When you lose, you want to go down fighting, you want to go down playing your best," New England quarterback Tom Brady said, "and we didn't do that."

The Patriots didn't do that for most of the regular season.

Still, they had a chance to become the first team to win three consecutive Super Bowls, something seven other teams who won two straight -- including Joe Montana's 49ers and Terry Bradshaw's Steelers -- failed to do. And, like the Patriots, none of those seven made it back to the title game the next year, either.

"You can't win 'em all," said linebacker Willie McGinest, although Brady had done just that in his other 10 playoff games. "It's not going to stop us from doing what we normally do, fighting hard in the offseason, getting guys back to the way we used to be and make another run."

The runs the Patriots made in the first 10 games of the season looked more like limps.

Rodney Harrison was the strong safety, the emotional and tactical heart of the defense. Matt Light was the veteran left tackle who protected Brady. Both had their seasons ended by injuries -- Harrison's knee and Light's broken leg - in the third game.

The Patriots played two games without both of their top two running backs, Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk. Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour missed four games and linebacker Tedy Bruschi missed the first six before returning from a mild stroke.

At midseason, the Patriots were 4-4. Belichick's father Steve died after the 10th game. After the 11th, the Patriots were 6-5 with four losses by at least 10 points.

"We're sitting at 4-4, not a very good football team and losing a ton of guys to injuries and Coach losing his father," Brady said. "In a lot of ways it's been a very rewarding year just because we overcame things."

They went 4-1 in their last five games but two of those wins were over the New York Jets and one was over Buffalo - the weakest teams in the AFC East where New England's 10-6 record was enough to win the division.

Then they won the wild-card playoff game 28-3 against Jacksonville, the team that last beat the Patriots seven years ago before their 10-game playoff winning streak began. The Jaguars were 12-4 this season but their schedule was weaker than the one the Patriots played.

Denver was different - a 13-3 team unbeaten at home in the challenging AFC West.

"I think the last few weeks you're just going on vapors. Your tank's on empty," Brady said, "but you just keep finding a way because you realize it's all worth it if you make it to the Super Bowl."

But the coordinators for their three championships - Charlie Weis on offense and Romeo Crennel on defense - left for head coaching jobs. Players insisted those departures didn't hurt the team.

Now Eric Mangini, who succeeded Crennel, is considered a top candidate for the New York Jets top job.

"For selfish reasons we always want a guy like Mangini back," Seymour said, but "you have to move on."

The Patriots did that well in the secondary when rookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs and free agent safety Artrell Hawkins took over for sidelined players.

The offensive line also protected Brady with two rookies on the left side and Russ Hochstein filling in when starter Dan Koppen was lost for the season in the ninth game. But did that harm the inconsistent running game, or has Dillon, a nine-year veteran, lost a step one year after setting a single-season team rushing record?

And although McGinest said, "we don't make any excuses," did Asante Samuel really interfere with Ashley Lelie in the end zone, a questionable penalty that led to Denver's first touchdown?

There will be a longer offseason than usual to ponder those questions.

Belichick said he's already planning for next season, but acknowledged Sunday that, "it's been a long year."

Brady did lead the NFL with a career-high 4,110 yards passing and played a bigger role with so many players hurt. And Adam Vinatieri joined Denver's Jason Elam as the only two kickers in NFL history to score at least 100 points in each of his first 10 seasons.

But how did such clutch players fail in such a big game?

Brady, now 1-4 against Denver, threw a game-changing interception that Champ Bailey returned 100 yards. Vinatieri missed a 43-yard field goal, breaking a string of 25 successful fourth-quarter kicks.

Deion Branch, last year's Super Bowl MVP said before the game that Belichick had drummed into his players that the Patriots weren't champs this season because the title came last season.

The coach turned out to be right.

"In a lot of ways this kind of invigorates you," Brady said. "You hate to end the season this way. Hopefully, we'll come back stronger next year. I know it's a long ways away. It's just disappointing."

TheBostonChannel.com - Sports - Pats' Season Starts With Injuries, Ends With Mistakes

Top five highs during the Patriot season
By Boston Herald Staff
Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - Updated: 07:00 AM EST


Miraculous, uplifting, inspirational. Those are just some of the words describing the linebacker’s triumphant return to the lineup on October 30 against the Buffalo Bills, a mere eight months after suffering a mild stroke. Bruschi, who had trouble walking and difficulty seeing out of one eye after the stroke, initially indicated he would sit out the season, but when his sight returned and he felt steady enough on his feet, he came back sooner. It took him a few games to get back up to speed, but the heart and soul of the defense pretty much resumed his old form by mid-December. He made a huge impact calling the plays and setting the defense.

BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Top five highs during the Patriot season

Tatupu happy to take it all in
By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff | February 1, 2006

DETROIT -- Lofa Tatupu sat for 60 minutes in Booth No. 1 at Ford Field yesterday -- his first Super Bowl Media Day -- and if there was a second or two when the smile left his face, that might be an exaggeration.

The Seahawks linebacker was grilled on everything from A to Z, asked to do promos for ESPN Brazil, asked by a Mexican TV station to take part in a dialogue with a Steeler puppet. And he smiled through it all. He was told it would be like this, and he wasn't disappointed.

''I always watched this on TV when I was a kid growing up in Massachusetts and I always thought how fun it must be for the teams," Tatupu said. ''I watched the Patriots a lot at Media Day, and you always dream about being up at one of these booths. The questions are interesting. Some repetitive, but that's OK."

He beamed when told that his play reminds people of a young Tedy Bruschi.

''Wow, that's my guy," said Tatupu. ''Being from Massachusetts, I loved Tedy Bruschi and Ted Johnson and Willie McGinest. But Tedy was my guy. He was kind of the underdog who played big. I've always loved his game. He's always been my favorite.

''I don't know about comparing me to Tedy. There's only one Tedy. He's got three rings, man."

Like Tatupu, Bruschi made the Super Bowl in his first season, under Bill Parcells. At the time, Bruschi was a situational player/pass rusher who flew around the field and made plays.

In addition to the Super Bowl, Tatupu also will play in the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, and this is after winning two national championships at Southern Cal.

Tatupu and LeRoy Hill certainly have disproven the theory that rookie linebackers can't start and be effective in the NFL.

''I'm sure there's been a ton of them," said Seahawks defensive coordinator and linebackers coach John Marshall, ''but to have two of this caliber, yeah, that's special. Both guys are special."

Marshall was asked whether Tatupu can continue to play with intensity and reckless abandon; in the NFC Championship game, for instance, he slammed into Carolina running back Nick Goings in the first quarter, knocking Goings out of the game. Tatupu played the remainder of the game with a concussion.

''I think he will," Marshall said. ''Don't forget, this is his rookie year and he'll keep getting stronger and smarter as a player as his career continues. He's got that desire for the game that's never going to be denied.

''He's always going to play at one speed, but in time he's going to understand how to be just as effective and know the amount of energy to expend."

Tatupu happy to take it all in - The Boston Globe

Laureus World Sports Awards

Laureus World Sports Awards, Barcelona 2006

· US Open winner Kim Clijsters serves up a double tennis challenge
· Hardmen Lomu and Bruschi fight back after life-threatening illnesses
· Qualifying period ends after 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin
· Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Barcelona, May 20-22

LONDON, February 7, 2006 – The remarkable return to Grand Slam tennis action after more than three years absence has made Switzerland’s Martina Hingis a strong contender for nomination for the 2006 Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award. The 25-year-old celebrated her return in style by winning the Australian Open mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi in Melbourne – her 15th Grand Slam title.

Hingis and India's Bhupathi, who entered the tournament as wild cards, beat sixth seeded pair Daniel Nestor and Elena Likhovtseva 6-3 6-3 in the final. She also reached the quarter-finals of the women's singles to climb 232 places in the world rankings.

Following two ankle operations in seven months, Hingis’ last appearance in a Grand Slam singles event was at the US Open in September 2002. After her victory in Melbourne, she said: "If anyone asks me why I came back, this is why - the dream of being back on court, of winning major titles."

In January 1997, Hingis had become the youngest Grand Slam singles winner in the 20th century by winning the Australian Open aged 16 years and 3 months and in March that year she became the youngest-ever player to attain the World No.1 ranking. In a golden period of three years, she won the Australian Open three times and Wimbledon and the US Open once each. In 1998 Hingis won all four of the Grand Slam women's doubles titles.

Hingis could well find herself nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award alongside Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, the woman who beat her in the singles quarter-finals in Melbourne.

Clijsters, 22, won the US Open in September, her first ever Grand Slam, after missing twelve months with a career-threatening wrist injury. Her victory over Mary Pierce in the final at Flushing Meadows was the climax of a remarkable 2005 when she won eight other tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Eastbourne, Stanford, Los Angeles, Toronto, Luxembourg and Hasselt in Belgium.

But tennis faces a challenge from a wide variety of sports. Rugby’s Jonah Lomu, once the world’s most feared attacker who scored 37 tries in 63 Test matches for New Zealand, made a courageous return to the sport in December 2005 with Welsh club Cardiff after having a kidney transplant at the end of 2003 to tackle a rare disease. Lomu, 30, has become a regular in Cardiff’s team, and his presence has attracted some of the club’s biggest attendances of the year.

American football hardman defender Tedy Bruschi, at 32, suffered a stroke just a week after the New England Patriot’s third Super Bowl victory in four years. Bruschi was left partially blind and unable to walk. Doctors diagnosed a heart defect and after an operation Bruschi amazed the sports world by returning to action just eight months later. In his first game, Bruschi made ten crucial tackles and was named AFC Player of the Week.

Bruschi shared the NFL Comeback of the Year Award with Carolina Panthers’ Steve Smith, who suffered a broken leg in 2004 putting him out of action for the entire season. However Smith rebounded from the injury in a big way during 2005 season, leading the NFL with 1,563 receiving yards and sharing the league lead in receptions and touchdowns with 103 and 12, respectively. He also averaged 15.2 yards per catch and was selected for the 2006 Pro Bowl.

US baseball’s Ken Griffey Jr overcame a debilitating hamstring injury with revolutionary surgery to return to the Cincinnati Reds team and hit 35 home runs during the 2005 season, ending the year tied with Mickey Mantle, and passing Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott. The operation, which became known as The Junior Operation, used titanium screws to reattach the hamstring. He was named National League Comeback Player of the Year.

Sweden’s high jump star Kajsa Bergqvist had been devastated in July 2004 when she tore her Achilles tendon just one month before the 2004 Athens Olympics. However she recovered just in time to compete in the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, where she won the gold medal with a leap of 2.00 metres on her third jump.

Kelly Slater, the most successful professional surfer in history, came out of retirement to win an unprecedented seventh world title at the Nova Schin Festival in Brazil in November 2005, breaking his own record of six. Slater was the youngest to claim the title at the age of 20, and now he is the oldest champion at 33. During the year he also won in Tahiti, Fiji, California and South Africa.

Golf in 2005 provided two candidates for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award. Britain’s Colin Montgomerie, aged 42, recovered brilliantly from a slump in form which had seen him slip to 83rd in the world at the start of the year. In his peak years Montgomerie had dominated the European Tour, winning the Order of Merit in seven successive years from 1993 to 1999, but he had drawn a blank since winning the Caltex Masters in March 2004. However a second place finish behind Tiger Woods in the Open Championship at St Andrews in July 2005 followed by victory in the prestigious dunhill links championship in October sparked a golden autumn and Montgomerie celebrated his return to the summit of golf with a record eighth European Order of Merit title.

Spain’s José Maria Olazabal, the former two-time US Masters champion, won his first golf tournament in almost four years with victory in the Mallorca Open at the age of 39 in October.

One of the greatest sportsmen staged a comeback in 2005. Zinedine Zidane retired from international football after France were knocked out of the 2004 European Championship by Greece. But with France experiencing serious problems in attempting to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Zidane announced on August 3, 2005 that he would come out of international retirement and under his captaincy, France managed to finish top of their group and qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

One of snooker’s brightest young stars, 26-year-old Paul Hunter, three-times winner of The Masters and ranked fourth in the world, was diagnosed with cancer shortly before the 2005 World Championship began in April. Despite still receiving chemotherapy treatment, Hunter tenaciously returned to action in the autumn.

There is a two-part voting process to find the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from over 80 countries votes to create a shortlist of six nominations in five categories – Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Newcomer of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy then vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners. The Laureus Academy is the ultimate sports jury, made up of 42 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, who have made an outstanding contribution to world sport.

The Laureus Academy members also vote for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and the Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year, the nominations for which are made by specialist panels. The winners of all these seven categories, plus several special Awards, will be revealed during a televised Awards Ceremony to be staged in Barcelona on the evening of May 22, 2006.

Last year's Awards Ceremony, in the presence of His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, was attended by members of the Laureus Academy and Hollywood stars Jackie Chan, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Gay Harden. Among the award winners present were Roger Federer, Kelly Holmes and Greece football coach Otto Rehhagel.

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a city with an enormous sporting tradition which has staged the most important sports events. The immensely successful 1992 Olympic Games gave a new impulse to sport in the city. Sport is a part of everyday life in Barcelona and during the past few years the number of high-level international championships staged in the city has multiplied. Therefore it is no surprise that Barcelona was chosen to host the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2006.

Barcelona is a Mediterranean and metropolitan city with the most modern facilities. Its unique architecture, artistic ambience and many tourist attractions have made Barcelona one of the most visited cities in the world. A business and leisure city, it is the ideal place to organise such an important moment of the sporting year - the Laureus Awards Ceremony.

To apply for accreditation for the 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards, please log on to www.laureus.com/accreditation or contact Shelly Samuel on accreditation@laureus.com.

Sports Features Communications™ - Sports Newsfeeds 24/7

NFL Players.com Journal Entry

The Comeback

During the season we had some really tough challenges as a team. We lost some key role players at critical times. Football is a physical sport. It does not happen all the time but a lot of injuries – including season ending or even career ending ones – are all part of the game. Things are bound to happen that you need to deal with as a team, and I think we did a great job handling it in New England. My own health problems kept me recovering and on the bench until week 7, too. A lot of people did not expect me to come back. It has never been done before. My family and I questioned it too, if I could play professional football after suffering a stroke. But, I was not ready to give up yet. I wanted to come back because I love the game of football. Football is what I do, it is what I love, its part of who I am. The other huge part of who I am is a family man. Only after my family and loved ones and I made sure I was cleared medically, did I even consider a return. Initially we decided on a year off, but my health kept improving.

That first game back was incredible. I just got back out there and played my game and it turned out for the best. I really leaned on my family and my faith in God. I have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 14 month old. My wife is my biggest supporter and best friend. To get back into the game, personally I had to draw up all the courage inside of me, and I brought it out on the field. I want to thank all of the support from fans during that period. I got hundreds of letters from across New England, and across the country, from people praying for me and wishing me well. I am Catholic and I was told that they were even offering masses for me in Churches. It is hard to go on Sundays during season, but I keep my faith alive and appreciate the encouragement and faith in me all of you showed.

Despite all of our obstacles, we had a pretty great season. The end of the season I think we played like the true Patriots team we are. I feel like we were playing some great football. Tom Brady is my biggest influence on the team. I admire who he is and how he plays his game. I am inspired by what he represents. Mostly, I appreciate what a great friend he has been to me, especially during my rehabilitation. Our team felt very confidence matching up with Denver but when it came down to it, the Broncos played a better game that day. The championship did not go in our favor but we are going to come back next season as a powerhouse team. I mean, I guess you can’t win the Super Bowl every year!

If I had not returned to the game there are a lot of things I could imagine doing, or when I retire. I could stay a member of the Patriots organization – maybe coach in the future. I would love to coach, I don’t know who, but the University of Arizona would be exciting. That is where I went to college. I could also see myself as a motivational speaker. There are a lot of things I would enjoy doing that I think I could do well. For now though, football is my number one passion!



Bruschi wins Maxwell Club's Spirit Award


Tedy Bruschi added another chapter to his incredible comeback story recently when the Maxwell Football Club honored him with its prestigious Spirit Award. The award will be presented to Bruschi at the club’s annual dinner March 3 at Harrah’s Hotel and Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.

Tedy Bruschi added another chapter to his incredible comeback story recently when the Maxwell Football Club honored him with its prestigious Spirit Award. The award will be presented to Bruschi at the club’s annual dinner March 3 at Harrah’s Hotel and Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.

The Spirit Award is given to an individual who made an important and lasting contribution to the community, and the Patriots linebacker becomes just the fourth recipient in the club’s 69-year history.

The three previous winners are the late Reggie White, former Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker and former Penn State defensive back Adam Taliaferro. Last year the club honored White, the former Packers and Eagles star defensive end, for his work helping the less fortunate. In 2001 Schweiker was named for his dedication during the coalmine cave-in in Central Pennsylvania, and in 2000 Taliaferro, who was paralyzed during a game while making a tackle, was recognized for his inspirational recovery.

Bruschi made national headlines with his dramatic return to the field after suffering a stroke last February just days after returning from the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. After extensive rehab, he began the 2005 season on the team’s physically unable to perform list, where he spent the first six weeks before being activated just before New England’s Oct. 30 Sunday night showdown with the Buffalo Bills.

In front a national television audience on ESPN, Bruschi instantly returned to full-time status against the Bills, starting at inside linebacker and playing on special teams as well. He remained in the lineup through the ensuing eight games and helped resurrect a struggling Patriots defense.

A knee injury suffered at the Meadowlands against the Jets in the next to last game forced him to miss the regular-season finale against Miami, in addition to the team’s wild card win over Jacksonville the following week. He did return to the lineup in Denver, where the Patriots season ended with a 27-13 loss in the divisional round. Bruschi finished the campaign with 72 tackles, two sacks, four passes defensed, three special teams tackles and one forced fumble.

Established in 1935 by former NFL commissioner Bert Bell, the Maxwell Club, located in Philadelphia, is an organization involved not only in football at all levels but the community in general. Its intentions are to help young people realize their potential, as leaders now, and as the future leaders of the country. Former Eagles quarterback and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski serves as the club’s president.

The club has issued weekly awards to high school and college players since its inception, as well as their Maxwell Award, which goes to the nation’s best college football player. Texas quarterback Vince Young was this year’s recipient.

In addition to the player of the year, the club also offers the Bert Bell Trophy (professional player of the year – Seattle’s Shaun Alexander), George A. Munger Trophy (college coach of the year – Penn State’s Joe Paterno), Earle “Greasy” Neale Trophy (professional coach of the year – Indianapolis’ Tony Dungy), Chuck Bednarik Award (college defensive player of the year – Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny) and the Francis J. “Reds” Bagnell Trophy (outstanding contributions to the game – former Texas coach Darrell Royal).

Official Website of the New England Patriots


News and Notes:



Combing the Combine: Saturday's notes By Andy Hart and Tom Casale, Patriots Football Weekly


San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan referenced hard working Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi in his answer when asked a question about prospects working out at the combine. “I like to see them workout because it tells me a lot about their competitive spirit. Great example is Tedy Bruschi. When he came here, he was too short, too slow, too a lot of things. But I remember – I was coaching linebackers when he came here – I followed his group around and every drill he did, he was berserko about being first. He wanted to do every drill. You only do the vertical jump twice, and I think he wanted to do it four times so he could beat the guy who was already No. 1. That told me a lot about him. That told me this guy is going to be a player. What position? I don’t know, but he’s going to be a player because of that competitive spirit. You can gain things like that from players like that.”

Official Website of the New England Patriots

News and Notes:


Awards // The winners of the Ed Block Courage Awards, given to NFL players chosen by their teammates for displaying courage and sportsmanship, were honored last night at a banquet at Martin's West. Among winners in attendance were New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi, Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith, Seattle wide receiver Bobby Engram and Kansas City guard Will Shields. The entire New Orleans Saints organization was recognized for persevering after Hurricane Katrina.

Owners considering offer - baltimoresun.com



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