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2000

IS THE PRICE RIGHT? INTEREST IS PIQUED AS BRUSCHI MEETS WITH BROWNS
Boston Globe  - Thursday, March 2, 2000
By: Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff

 

    Patriots  linebacker  Tedy Bruschi is beginning to get interest in the free agent  market,  but  it  remains  to  be seen if he gets $2.5 million to $3 million per year.


    Bruschi  met  with Cleveland officials yesterday, and at least one other team,  in  addition  to the Raiders and Seahawks, reportedly is in the mix. The  Patriots still hope to retain Bruschi, but at far less than what he's seeking.


    Former  Patriots cornerback Steve Israel is mulling a proposal from the Bengals.


    The  Patriots  will try out former Jets defensive lineman Bobby Hamilton this  week. Hamilton is 6 feet 5 inches, 280 pounds, but was used mostly on special  teams. The team looked at Giants linebacker Marcus Buckley Tuesday and were going to talk to defensive end Shane Burton (Bears) and cornerback Robert Bailey (Lions).

 

    The  Patriots are looking into defensive lineman Mike Frederick (Titans) and  running  back  Anthony  Johnson  (Panthers),  but  the  team is having problems  attracting veterans because they are not offering much in signing bonuses.

 

Bruschi deals cards
Kevin Mannix
Boston Herald
Thursday,  March 9, 2000

    You know that TV spot during which golfer David Duval and a corporate suit-type second-guess decisions the other made and say of the other: "What was  thinking?"

    Well, people around the NFL were saying that about Tedy Bruschi, the Patriots linebacker, as well. Not for any decision he made on the football field, because in that regard, the four-year veteran made all the right decisions.

    His performance for the Patriots during the last four years indicates that: making a smooth professional transition from undersized defensive end in college to pass-rush specialist in the NFL and then to full-time linebacker.

    Bruschi was so good, in fact, that he made himself a viable commodity in free agency. He spent his four years with the Patriots and became an unrestricted free agent last month.

    That's where the eyebrow-raising took place.

    People couldn't believe that Bruschi decided to be his own negotiator through the free agency process, a difficult, time-consuming, aggravating and potentially humbling and antagonistic experience.

    Other than Bruschi, there may not be another player in his situation handling his own contract talks.

    "It was just something I felt confident I could do," said Bruschi, who is juggling negotiations with the Patriots, Green Bay, Seattle and Cleveland. "I've been in the league for four years. During that time I paid attention to what was going on and took notes. Saving the 3 percent (the standard fee charged by a registered agent) was one of the factors. But it was more a case that I felt negotiations were something I could handle.

    "I realized it takes a certain temperament to make it work. You need to be patient and you need to be able to communicate with people."

    It is working to date.

    "So far it's been pretty much what I thought it would be. I've been visiting places, going to dinner with coaches and club executives and conducting contract talks. A year ago, when I was a restricted free agent, I was close to reaching agreement on a new four-year contract with Andy Wasynczuk (the Pats vice president in charge of contract negotiations)."

    Bruschi's preference is to return to the Patriots.

    "Offers are on the table from those four teams and I think the Patriots are at the top," he said. "I talked with (Pats coach) Bill Belichick (yesterday) and we're both on the same page. New England is where I want to play this year. I want to continue being a Patriot."

    With the start of the offseason conditioning workouts scheduled for next week, he added that he'd like to get something done by then. If it is resolved that quickly, however, the chances are that it won't be with the Patriots.


    Wasynczuk said yesterday that discussions with Bruschi "aren't making a lot of progress" and added that the recent restructuring of Chris Slade's contract was not done with an eye toward freeing money under the salary cap to make room for Bruschi.

    "That's been teed up for a while now," Wasynczuk said. "It made sense to get it done now because we've been doing a lot of mining in various areas and if the opportunity arises to get something done in one of those directions, we now have the flexibility to make it happen."

    Bruschi also retains his flexibility by continuing negotiations with the other teams. In fact, while he was mentioning his options, he received another call.

    "I've got to go now," he said. "That might be Green Bay."
 

March 09, 2000

Packers chase versatile linebacker Bruschi

By Pete Dougherty

Press-Gazette

 

The Green Bay Packers are making a hard push to sign free-agent linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who could have a contract by the end of the week with one of the four or five teams interested him.

Bruschi was a pass-rush specialist for the first couple of seasons in his career with the New England Patriots, but the fifth-year pro has played as a conventional linebacker for the last 11/2 seasons. The Packers brought him in for a visit late last week and are trying to sign him as a possible starter at strong-side linebacker in place of George Koonce.

 

Bruschi, only 26, also is being pursued by New England, Cleveland, Seattle and perhaps Oakland, according to published reports. Reports from the New England area say he's hoping to get a deal that averages $2.5 million to $3 million a year, but it seems unlikely the open market will be quite that lucrative for him. It's difficult to believe the Packers would sign him for much more than $1.5 million.

 

Bruschi, who is serving as his own agent, said Wednesday night that the Packers remain strongly in the running to sign him.

 

"I'm very excited about going to Green Bay," he said. "There are other teams in the mix, but Green Bay's a great situation, and I'm hoping to work things out."

 

Bruschi, whose name is pronounced "Brew-ski," is 6-feet-1 and 245 pounds. The Patriots selected him in the third round of the NFL draft in 1996.

 

In his first two seasons, they used him mostly as a designated pass rusher, and he had four sacks each in '96 and '97. But in 1998, he started the final eight games of the season at weak-side linebacker, and last season he played a conventional linebacker all year and was second on the team in tackles with 106.

 

Bruschi wouldn't say how much money he's seeking or how far along negotiations are with any of the prospective teams. But he said negotiations with the Packers have begun, and with that many teams interested in him, the talks are likely to move fast.

 

"The thing is, I'm very versatile," Bruschi said.

 

"I don't just play one position, I'm able to do a lot of things."

BRUSCHI IS OPTING TO DEAL OWN HAND
Boston Globe - Thursday, March 9, 2000
By: Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff
PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK
  
FOXBOROUGH   -  In  this  big-money  world  of  professional  sports,  most multimillion-dollar  athletes  sit  back and leave the negotiating to their agents.


    Not Tedy Bruschi.


    Bruschi,  an  unrestricted free agent, decided to represent himself and currently has offers on the table from Cleveland, Green Bay, and Seattle as well as the Patriots.

 

    "I've  definitely  seen the other side of things," said Bruschi from his home  in Tucson. "It's been interesting. I just wanted to handle it myself. It's my contract, so I wanted some control over what was happening."


    As of yesterday afternoon, he was waiting for final offers. The Patriots seemed  eager  to  bring  Bruschi back when they restructured Chris Slade's contract  by accelerating $1.56 million of his $2 million salary, providing $780,000  in  salary  cap relief. The Patriots now have $1.1 million in cap room, more than enough to sign Bruschi.


    "I'd love to be back with the Patriots," said Bruschi. "Of all the teams I've  talked  to  and dealt with, they're my No. 1 choice. They're the team that  drafted  me,  and  I  feel  there's  some unfinished business in New England."


    Bruschi doesn't want to sit around mulling his options. "I'd love to get this  done in two or three days and just wrap it all up," he said. "I'd say that  I'm  getting  closer  to  making  a decision, but I need to get final offers before I can do that."


     Bruschi  was  asking  for  an  average  salary of $2.5 million with a $3 million  signing  bonus,  not  dissimilar  to  the deal Troy Brown recently signed. Whether he gets it, in what has become a very tight market, remains to be seen.


    If  Bruschi  returns,  the  Patriots  may  be  able  to  switch to a 3-4 alignment.  "I  want  to  put the blue uniform on again; Hopefully that can happen," said Bruschi the player.


    "I  think  I'll  know  better in the next day or two," said Bruschi the agent.


   

BRUSCHI FINDS REASON TO STAY
Boston Globe  - Thursday, March 16, 2000
By: Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff
PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK
 
FOXBOROUGH  -  The  Patriots'  negotiations  with  unrestricted  free agent linebacker Tedy Bruschi were coming to a head last night while the team was close  to  signing offensive tackle Grant Williams, a free agent who played with the Seattle Seahawks last season.


    After  Patriots  coach  Bill  Belichick  said  talks  with  Bruschi were "getting  closer"  at  an afternoon press conference, Bruschi himself said, "There's a strong possibility something could happen pretty soon."


    Bruschi  has  been  mulling  bids  by  the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns,  and  Seattle.  But the Patriots made a push Tuesday night and into Wednesday by offering a two-year deal for an average of about $1.6 million.


    Bruschi  told  the  other teams he would require contracts for more than two years.

 

    Because the Patriots are only $700,000 under the salary cap, it appeared they would have to make a move to find room to sign Bruschi and Williams.


    The Patriots might part company with veteran tackle Zefross Moss because Williams started 15 of the Seahawks' 16 games at right tackle.

 

    Belichick   also  said  the  team  was  "moving  closer"  to  re-signing cornerback  Steve Israel, but "close is a relative thing. We've seen it get closer and it's fallen apart," he said.


    Williams,  25, is 6 foot 7 inches tall and weighs 323 pounds, but he was deemed expendable by the Seahawks. The Patriots see a lot of upside.


    Moss  was  present at yesterday team meeting, but he's scheduled to earn $1 million this season and the Patriots can get Williams for less.


   The Patriots are also pursuing Giants free agent receiver David Patten, who caught nine passes for 115 yards in 16 games. The 5-9 receiver and kick returner  started  his  career with the Arena League Albany Firebirds after starring at Western Carolina.


PATRIOTS PICK UP WILLIAMS, LINE UP BRUSCHI
Boston Globe - Saturday, March 18, 2000
By: Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH  -  As  expected,  the  Patriots  signed unrestricted free agent offensive  tackle  Grant  Williams  to  a two-year deal yesterday, with the re-signing of linebacker Tedy Bruschi to follow soon.

 

    Williams,  who  was  Seattle's right tackle last year, signed a two-year deal  worth  $2.5  million,  including  a  signing  bonus  of just under $1 million. To make room for the 6-foot-7-inch, 323-pound tackle, the Patriots rescinded the contract tender they made to restricted free agent linebacker Vernon Crawford, which saved them $427,000.


    The  Patriots  needed  about $950,000 of their available $1.2 million in cap  space  for  Williams.  Until they release another veteran, they do not have room for Bruschi.

 

    Williams,  26, has been told he will compete at left tackle, his natural position. But if the Patriots are able to re-sign Bruce Armstrong, Williams could move to right tackle, as it appears Zefross Moss will not be with the team in the fall.


    The  Patriots have made contact with Armstrong's agent. Even though they signed Williams, they also appear to want Armstrong to stay.

 

    Though  they  may  not  be  the final terms, Bruschi had a two-year deal worth  $3  million, including a $1 million signing bonus, on the table from the Patriots.


    Bruschi  was  not  available  for  comment, but he told Green Bay he was likely  to sign with the Patriots after the Packers would not move on their four-year  deal,  which averaged about $1.6 million. The Seahawks, who were also  making  a push, were slightly lower than the Packers, leaving Bruschi little option other than re-signing with the Patriots.


    The  Patriots  have  a  list  of  veterans they may cut if they need cap space. The list is led by Moss, wide receiver Vincent Brisby, fullback Tony Carter, and free safety Chris Carter.

 

Bruschi, Pats ink 2-year deal
Kevin Mannix
Boston Herald Wednesday,  March 22, 2000

FOXBORO - Tedy Bruschi will be a Patriot for at least the next two years. The free agent linebacker yesterday signed a two-year contract with New England reported to be worth $3.2 million.

    Bruschi is scheduled to fly to Boston today from his home in Arizona to join the team in its offseason conditioning camp in Foxboro.

    "I was close to a deal with both Green Bay and Seattle and had discussions with both of them on multi-year, multi-million dollar deals," Bruschi said.

    "But in the end I had allegiances to New England and I wouldn't have felt right leaving. It's for two years and it's signed, sealed and delivered."

    Bruschi has played four years with the Pats, who selected him in the third round out of Arizona in 1996.

    "The Patriots are the team that drafted me and they've treated me well," Bruschi said. "I've said from the beginning that my preference was to remain with the Patriots and I kept in contact with (Patriots negotiator) Jack Mula throughout the free agency period. I told them I wouldn't sign with any other team without letting the Patriots know."

    His ties to New England were strong enough that Bruschi passed up a four-year deal worth an average of $1.7 million from Green Bay to take the Patriots' offer. The fact that the Pats' deal is for only two years was a plus from Bruschi's perspective because it will allow him a couple of more years to develop as a full-time linebacker before he becomes a free agent again.


    A defensive end at Arizona, Bruschi was converted to outside linebacker late in the 1998 season and started 14 of the team's 16 games last year. Despite missing two games because of a sprained right knee, Bruschi was the team's second-leading tackler with 138 and also had two sacks. Only Lawyer Milloy (173) had more tackles among Patriots defenders.

    Bruschi also handled his own negotiations during the free agency period, one of the few NFL players to attempt to be his own agent.

    "It's just something I felt confident I could do," Bruschi said. "I've been in the league for four years and I've paid attention to what was going on with other players. I even took notes. Saving the 3 percent (the standard fee for agents) was a factor in the decision, but it was more a case of my being confident that negotiating a contract was something I could handle."

    The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Bruschi was the 86th pick in the '96 draft and spent his first two seasons as a situational player, primarily as a pass rusher who lined up in a number of positions.

    When starting linebacker Todd Collins was injured late in the '98 season, Bruschi was moved to the right side for full-time duty down the stretch. He showed enough promise at the position that the team decided not to re-sign Collins, who jumped to the St. Louis Rams as a free agent.


    With Bill Belichick taking over from Pete Carroll as the team's head coach, the Patriots will be running the 3-4 defense as well as the 4-3, making Bruschi a critical factor.

    Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Chris Slade and Andy Katzenmoyer are the only regulars with any experience at linebacker now that veteran backups Marty Moore and Vernon Crawford were recently let go.

Patriots get Bruschi back on board

Telegraph Online 03/24/00

 

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – The New England Patriots finalized a two-year contract with linebacker Tedy Bruschi on Thursday, releasing offensive tackle Zefross Moss to clear salary cap space. Bruschi, who has spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Patriots, was an unrestricted free agent before agreeing to a contract reportedly worth more than $3 million. By releasing Moss, an 11-year veteran, the team freed up $1.6 million.  Bruschi, 26, received interest from several teams and visited Green Bay, Seattle and Cleveland after recording a career-high 138 tackles last year.

 

    "It was a tossup between Green Bay and Seattle and New England," he said Thursday. "The team that had the upper hand, really, was the Patriots all along."

 

    But he said he came close to leaving until New England made its last offer.  One reason he returned was Bill Belichick, who replaced the fired Pete Carroll as coach after last season. Belichick was defensive coordinator in Bruschi’s rookie season in 1996 when the Patriots went to the Super Bowl.  "There’s sort of a loyalty I felt to the Patriots," said Bruschi, a third-round draft pick in 1996. "Forget all the other teams. This is my team. This is where I want to be."

 

    Bruschi, undersized at 6-feet-1 and 245 pounds, is a key to Belichick’s possible switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. Bruschi and Chris Slade would start at outside linebacker with Ted Johnson and Andy Katzenmoyer playing inside.  "Why I got so much interest was how versatile I was. I can play in the 3-4. I can play in the 4-3," Bruschi said. "Either defense doesn’t matter to me when I’m out there. No matter what position I’m playing, I’m going to be doing the same thing."

 

    He negotiated his deal without an agent and plans to do the same when the contract expires in two years.

 

    "It was something I felt I could do. I felt like I didn’t need anyone," he said. "I’m a very independent person."  He said he stayed in touch with the NFL Players Association as the negotiations progressed.  Moss, 33, had spent the last three seasons with the Patriots. His release leaves them without last year’s two starting offensive tackles. New England chose not to keep 13-year veteran Bruce Armstrong but is negotiating to bring him back at a salary below his previous contract.

 

    One of those spots likely will be filled by Grant Williams, who played last year for Seattle and agreed this week to a two-year, $2.025 million contract with New England.

 

Bruschi back, veteran Moss sacked

By Bryan Morry, PFW  4/2000

One player is just now reaching his full potential as an NFL linebacker, the other staked his claim as a solid offensive lineman throughout his 11 years in the league. One is back with the Patriots for 2000 and the other was cut loose by the team to scrape up some more salary cap space.

Those paying attention to new Head Coach Bill Belichick’s offseason personnel moves can figure out which one was kept and which was cut.

Four-year veteran linebacker Tedy Bruschi, a self-proclaimed "Belichick guy" inked a two-year, $2.1 million offer with the Patriots in March with a $1 million signing bonus after declining larger offers from Green Bay and Seattle. To clear the nearly $1 million of cap space needed to make the transaction official, 11-year veteran right tackle Zefross Moss was released, ending a three-year run with the team that started when he signed as a free agent following the 1996 season.

Bruschi, 26, started 14 games for New England in 1999 and finished second in tackles (138) behind strong safety Lawyer Milloy (173) while also totaling two sacks, six pass deflections and a forced fumble.

"It’s a big thing when you sweat with guys, bleed with guys and you’re on the same page with guys for four years of your career," Bruschi said explaining why he chose to re-sign with the Patriots. "It’s tough to leave guys like that in my case. I want to be with these guys for as long as I possibly can."

His re-signing gives the Patriots four capable starting linebackers (Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Andy Katzenmoyer and Chris Slade) and may indicate the Patriots will switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme. Belichick has hinted that he will use at least a variation of a 3-4 and will afford himself the flexibility to use the 4-3 as well. Bruschi, who represented himself in negotiations, is comfortable in either scheme.

"One of the reasons I got so much interest in free agency was my versatility. Coach Belichick knows I can play two positions out there and I can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3. It doesn’t matter to me."

Depth is a concern if the team uses the linebacker oriented 3-4 scheme because reserves Marty Moore and Vernon Crawford are no longer with the team, meaning there are no experienced linebackers beyond the top four.

New England originally drafted Bruschi in the third round in 1996 (86th overall) out of Arizona as a defensive end. He moved to linebacker under Belichick’s tutelage upon joining the Patriots. He was the third unrestricted free agent to re-sign with the team following Milloy and wideout Troy Brown.

Moss’s release and left tackle Bruce Armstrong’s termination follow the free agent departure of guard Heath Irwin. It also leaves the Patriots without 60 percent of last year’s starting offensive line. Only center Damien Woody and guard Todd Rucci remain.

The addition of Grant Williams, who started 15 games at right tackle for Seattle last year, helps enhance the competition to claim the vacant tackle spots heading into training camp.

But he will compete for either the right or left tackle job along with Max Lane, Ed Ellis and possibly Jason Andersen. Ellis could also move inside to guard and compete with Rucci, Derrick Fletcher and Andersen there as well. Woody’s center spot is the only one secure along the front line. The versatile Andersen backs him up. The Patriots are expected to address the line in the upcoming draft as well and that will add to the depth chart and competition.

It also remains possible that Armstrong could return to reclaim his left tackle job, but the $2 million originally offered after his release may not be available any longer. Instead, the team may offer the unemployed Armstrong the league minimum with incentives that could put him into the $2 million range.

Bruschi looks at Moss’s release as business. "That’s the way you have to look at it," he said. "You have strong emotional ties to your teammates, but when one of them gets released, you have to look at it from the other side of the coin."

 

2001

Owners struggle with realignment - Bruschi Rewarded

by Paul Perillo, PFW 4/2001

From an effort standpoint, no one gives more or gets more out of his body every NFL Sunday than Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi. Whether it be as an every down linebacker or playing on one of the many special teams units where he draws an assignment, Bruschi plays up to the sign that hangs near the north end zone at Foxboro Stadium for each home game — “Full Tilt Full Time.”

While his team did very little winning in 2000, Bruschi saw his efforts rewarded individually in triplicate. In December of last season, he received the Shaw’s Supermarket 12th Player Award in voting by the fans and then added to his trophy case by winning the New England Patriots Unsung Hero award and the Ed Block Courage Award, which his teammates selected.

“My mom said they come in threes,” Bruschi joked after completing a workout in the team’s offseason conditioning program. “My teammates are the most important because they know you on the field. They know you off the field. They know you in the locker room. They know everything you do for the team.

“It’s a gratification [to receive the awards], but the best result you can get for the effort I put out is winning football games. This is like second-tier gratification.”

After a 5-11 season that featured many more downs than ups, Bruschi can at least take something away from the season, but he knows that he and his teammates must build.

“I want to maintain what I did last year, but take it up another level in terms of making bigger plays — making interceptions, scoring touchdowns — changing the course of a game,” Bruschi said of his own play.

In fact, his high-motor attitude would be helpful in a few of his teammates who maybe didn’t buy into the team concept like Head Coach Bill Belichick would have preferred.

“There needs to be more of a team-goal situation,” Bruschi said. “Maybe guys see things one way and should see things more as a team. If we win, everything’s cool. Don’t worry about how many tackles or how many picks. Just worry about winning games and that should be the bottom line.”

That sounds simpler than it actually may be. Last year, not everyone embraced that approach and the team felt the effects. Of course, the awful start to the season didn’t help anyone’s attitude.

“When you start 0-4, it tough,” Bruschi stressed. “It’s climbing Mt. Everest. The character of guys comes out. How many guys will stay the course and really try to focus on winning one game at a time and how many guys are thinking about where they’re going to be playing next year? There were certain guys thinking that way,” he confirmed without specifics.

One reason some of the attitudes may have went sour was a void in leadership, something getting a lot of ink this offseason. There are enough players on the roster that can offer leadership by example, but not enough to speak up and say what oftentimes needs to be said while also backing those words up through example.

Perhaps Bruschi will start to assume some of that role. In 2000, he called the defensive huddle, played almost every defensive snap, played special teams and did it all with a reckless abandon that left him looking like he couldn’t play another snap as he walked off the field. He also studied opponents with diligence and thoroughly knew Belichick’s defense.

“I know what’s going on out there,” he said. “I know the offenses. I know tendencies. I know the defense inside and out. I probably know three or four positions out there. My ability to think is a strength.”

While filling a leadership void is a must, Bruschi is keenly aware that an infusion of young talent is necessary after some poor drafts.

“I hold drafts up to my draft. First round: Terry Glenn. Second round: Lawyer Milloy. Third round: me. Fourth round: Chris Sullivan and Heath Irwin. I hold every draft up to that standard. This draft is very important. We have the sixth pick and this is where Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick earn their money. They have to bring in players who will help us out and get the job done because we need some young players to step up.”

Actually, the Patriots need some veterans to step up and young players to step in. Young or old, any player would be well served to model his effort after Bruschi’s. Perhaps if he had more competition for those awards, the Patriots would have finished with more than five wins last year.

 

2002

Bruschi grows as dad, too

A solid NFL career is fine, but the Roseville High grad sees the big picture.

By Joe Davidson -- Bee Staff Writer Sunday, January 27, 2002

 

If it wasn't enough having one Tedy Terror ransacking the place, poor Heidi now has to deal with -- gulp! -- two Tedys.

Every morning. Every night, like twin Tasmanian terrors, zipping from one room to the next, rolling around on the floor as if in a chaotic fire drill. Like, cap the sugar intake, already.

Tedy Bruschi, is Heidi's hearty husband of five years. He is a household football name and now shares the house with bouncy little Tedy Jr., all of 13 months.

From his roots at Roseville High School to the desert landscape of Tucson -- where he was hailed as a hero at the University of Arizona -- to the snow-covered landscape of New England these days, Bruschi remains the heart and soul of his gridiron environment. He has played inside and outside linebacker and on special teams, and he's served as general good-guy team leader for the Patriots, the heart and soul of a defense that has the Patriots on the verge of another Super Bowl.

For Bruschi, the song remains the same. The man with the wild black mane who can't be blocked has long been characterized as a fellow with the uncanny knack for turning a game without even touching the ball. And that's all fine for Bruschi and the hordes of fans -- of all ages -- who have come to embrace him.

Holding his son for the first time, moments after his birth, affected pops in a way he fully can't explain. Never at a loss of words, Bruschi was silent, emotional, overwhelmed.

And some of his greatest joy remains far away from the football field. Playing the clarinet or the saxophone for little Tedy. Quality time.

"Tedy being born, that was the most incredible experience," Bruschi said Friday afternoon, after his team's last practice before today's AFC championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. "His arrival totally changed my life. I was thinking, 'I'm a family man now.' It really clarified for me what life is about. It's faith, family, football, and my main job is to be the best husband and father I can be.

"Yeah, football's important. It's my job. But nothing's bigger than Tedy Jr. and Heidi."

Well, for a time, Heidi was bigger than Bruschi. At least a bit wider in the middle.

"During pregnancy, for the man, it's pretty simple," Bruschi explained. "It's, 'OK, I don't really change. I look the same.' My body doesn't change, but Heidi's going through all kinds of changes. And then it really hits me, that it's really real, when I'm holding my son in my hands for the first time. It was awesome."

And soon, there will be another handful. The Bruschi Three will swell to The Bruschi Four as another boy is expected in May.

"We'll have to get some more football pajamas," Bruschi said.

The next arrival will happen in Tucson, where the family resides in the offseason. It's also where they met, where Bruschi made his second step to football greatness. He was lightly recruited coming out of Roseville, primarily because he was only 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds.

Never mind he was controlling games on the lines, blocking kicks, chasing down ballcarriers who seemed much swifter. Only Arizona gave him a serious flyer, and all because Dick Tomey, the coach then, declared, "The kid was just crazy, and you need that in football."

Bruschi never slowed down, tying the NCAA career mark for sacks with 58.

Along the way, he met Heidi Bomberger, a volleyball star for Arizona. She was a defensive specialist, of course.

"We met over the phone," Bruschi recalled amid laughter. "There was a rumor going around that there was this volleyball player who wanted to meet me. We chatted for three days before we met, and we hit it right off. Fortunately, I knew a little volleyball from intramural play."

One could only imagine what sort of player Tedy Jr. might be, considering the gene pool includes Heidi's father, who played on the 1971 Nebraska national championship football team.

One thing is certain. Young Bruschi will surely overcome obstacles. Bruschi fed off the notion he wasn't big or fast enough to play at any level.

He's basking on the pinnacle now. He was drafted in the third round by the Patriots six years ago, made the Super Bowl his first season as a special-teams ace and has since settled in nicely as a rock to the foundation, averaging 96 tackles his past three seasons. He helped the Pats get nasty on defense again as they reversed last season's 5-11 mark to 11-5 and earned a berth in the AFC final.

And he's done it with toughness, savvy, sheer will and instincts.

"I think the key aspect of me sustaining an NFL career this long is my intelligence," Bruschi said. "I know the defenses, different positions. I have had to learn a lot, under different coaches. I value my intelligence in football and what it's done for me. And I go all out -- always have.

"There's a sign at our stadium that reads 'Full Tilt. Full Time.' That's my section. I've adopted those guys because I like that motto."


BRUSCHI NOW A PLAYER OF NOTE: EARLY MUSICAL TALENT GAVE A HINT OF HIS JAZZY  PLAY IN THE NFL
Boston Globe - Sunday, January 27, 2002
By: Bob Duffy, Globe Staff

    There seemingly was nothing the kid couldn't play on the football field.

   

    At halftime.  Alto  or tenor sax? Trumpet? Clarinet? Trombone? Name that tune; Tedy  Bruschi  could  make  it  shout  hallelujah in a variety of melodious languages.

   "He  was  an excellent high school musician," says Mark Toffelmier, band
director at Roseville High just outside Sacramento.


   It was no surprise, really. While Bruschi was growing up in downtown San Francisco,  his  mother,  Juanita,  had  steered him toward music, and even before  he handled an instrument, he was using his voice as one, touring at age  7  and 8 with a boys choir that could rattle the rafters of the city's churches.

   But  it  wasn't  strictly  nurturing.  Prodigy  was  as much a factor as parenting  in  creating Bruschi's one-man ensemble, and that's why he was a coveted member of Toffelmier's marching band that had the stands hopping at intermission on football Friday nights.

   "Tedy had the ear," says Toffelmier.

   The  pupil demonstrated that to the teacher one day during his sophomore year  when  he  suggested  that the band try a new pop song. Thirteen years later,  Toffelmier doesn't remember the number. But he recalls what Bruschi did with it.

   "How does it go?" Toffelmier asked.


   Bruschi proceeded to show him by blowing up a storm on the alto sax. The bandleader was enthralled.

   "That's excellent," he told Bruschi. "Where did you learn that?"

   "I heard it on the radio last night," said Bruschi.

   The ear for the beat became legendary.

   Sizing up prospects

   There  seemingly  was  nothing the kid could play on the football field.


    During games.

   It  wasn't  necessarily  lack  of  talent, though that was unknown. Tedy Bruschi's  football  potential  was as much a mystery to others as football intricacies were to him.

   It  was amazing, really. His father, Tony Sr., was a football coach. His stepfather,  Ron Sandys, was a tennis pro. But the family never pushed Tedy toward sports.

   Unlike  music, his gridiron background was a cappella. In San Francisco, he  and the neighborhood kids would play on the communal field behind their homes.  No pads. No helmets. When they talked about smashmouth football, it wasn't  a  figure  of  speech.  And watch out for those sprinkler heads and
rocks and potholes.


   Little  Tedy didn't know what he was doing, but it didn't matter. He was tumbleweed   tearing  through  a  ghost  town,  and  he  made  a  whirlwind impression.

   "I  always  played  with bigger kids," he says. "And I was always picked first  or  second.  I  wish I'd caught on then that I could go someplace in football."


    He was still ignorant of football's possibilities and peculiarities when he  walked  into  the Roseville freshman team introductory meeting because, well,  why  not?  At freshman orientation, some six months after the family had  migrated  110 miles northeast of San Francisco, he'd spied a couple of buddies  sitting  at  a table with two pairs of cleats each and a cooler at their feet.

   "What are those for?" Bruschi asked.

   "We're on the football team," they told him.

   That was his grand inspiration for stumbling into the locker room, still not  knowing  a  hip  pad  from  a  hip  pointer.  Freshman coach Don Hicks delivered his welcoming spiel, then instructed the candidates, "Break up by position."

   Bruschi stood still. Hicks wondered if the kid's position was statue.

   "Coach," Bruschi implored, "where do I go?"

   Hicks   surveyed  the  14-year-old's  5-foot-10-inch,  205-pound  frame, shrugged, and decided, "You're a lineman."

   He  was partially right. As in music, it wasn't so much nurturing as the combination of prodigy and passion that, unbeknownst even to him, made Tedy Bruschi a one-man band in football, too.

   A  dynamic defensive tackle in high school who recently was selected the top  scholastic  player  in  Sacramento history by the local newspaper, the Bee.  A  devastating  defensive end for the University of Arizona's vaunted Desert  Swarm  who  tied the NCAA record for sacks with 52. And now, in the sixth  season  of a pro career he never was supposed to have because of his modest dimensions (6-1, 245), the middle linebacking fulcrum for a Patriots defense  that  will  try  to  continue  a storybook season today in the AFC Championship  game  at Pittsburgh. That could earn Bruschi his second Super Bowl  trip to New Orleans, a bookend for his rookie year, which he began as a clueless outside linebacker.

   As  their  playoff  pretensions  were  at  the  start of the season, the Patriots' chances against the mighty Steelers are considered nil.

   "I  like that underdog theme," says Bruschi. "I've been the underdog all my life, and I've been one of the most successful underdogs in history."

   Bill Belichick, a man who embodies understatement, doesn't consider that bragging.  In  fact,  Bruschi  may be selling himself short - and that's no height joke - if you listen to the Patriots coach. He places Bruschi in the same  exalted  company  as  his  overachieving counterpart on offense, Troy Brown.

   "Guys  like Troy and Tedy Bruschi, you can't tell them every play that's going  to  happen  in  a game, every situation," says Belichick. "They just seem  to  know  when  to  do the right thing and try to do it consistently. There's no question they're what you call clutch players, because they come through when they're needed the most."

   The  latest  example  of  Bruschi's  emergency instincts occurred as the Patriots  were about to sled out of the playoffs against Oakland eight days ago  in  the Mark Henderson Bowl II. With snow and wind swirling in Foxboro Stadium,  the Raiders were on the verge of retreating to their igloo with a 13-10 AFC second-round triumph. All they needed was to convert on third and 1  at their 44 with 2:19 left in the fourth quarter. But Bruschi and Ty Law mashed  Zach  Crockett  like  a  snow  cone, forcing an Oakland punt and an improbable  reversal  of  fortune  that  resulted  in  a  16-13 New England overtime verdict.

   By  now,  such Bruschi plays have ceased being revelations. The nose for the ballcarrier has become legendary.

  
Directional move

   Obviously,  none of this was by design. "I've just taken every day as it comes," says Bruschi, "and lived my life that way."

   It  had  the makings of a potentially wayward life on the streets of San Francisco.  Bruschi once said he was destined to attend Galileo High in the city  except  that  his mother feared earthquakes. Now he acknowledges that the  tremors  that  jolted  Juanita  were the cosmopolitan temptations that threatened  to  ensnare  Tedy, his older brother, Tony Jr., and his younger sister,  Natalia.  Juanita  had  divorced Tony Sr. when Tedy was 5, and she wasn't  wild about the direction her children were taking. "We were getting into  too  much  trouble  living  right  smack  dab  in  the  middle of San Francisco," says Tedy. "Just general mischief."
  

    Juanita  was  wary that it might escalate, and so, having remarried, she uprooted  the  family to sleepy, suburban, middle-class Roseville in Tedy's second semester of eighth grade.

   He  considers  that  one  of  the watershed events in his life, "because otherwise, I probably never would have played organized football."

   First  he had to overcome culture shock. "In San Francisco, I was having too  much  fun  with my buddies," says Bruschi. "We were going all over the city,  gallivanting. Just put a nickel in the bus and we could go anywhere. Then we moved, and there was nothing to do."

   Nothing  quickly  turned into plenty. By his sophomore year, Bruschi was playing  junior  varsity  football  on  both  sides  of the line, including offensive guard, then performing in the varsity games - on alto sax. "I was living right as a sophomore," he says. "I had music and football."

   He  excelled  in  both,  but  the dual idyll couldn't last forever. As a junior  on  the  varsity,  Bruschi  realized  that football was a much more serious  -  and  perhaps  rewarding  -  enterprise.  So Toffelmier lost the recruiting  battle  to  varsity coach Larry Cunha. "I made my pitch," sighs Toffelmier. "I would love to have had him for three years."

   Cunha  was  thrilled  to  have him for two years, both of which wound up with  the  team  in the sectional playoffs. The coach raves about Bruschi's football  exploits,  recalling  two  plays that served as his signature. On one,  Roseville  was  facing a private school, protecting a precarious late lead,  when the upper-class rival went for it on fourth and 1 - only to run into  a  ramrod  named  Bruschi.  On another, in the playoff quarterfinals, Bruschi sundered the line and blocked a bid for the deciding field goal.

   "He  put  together a very good junior year," says Cunha, "and his senior year, he was just everywhere."

   Cunha  had  encountered  Bruschi's  aplomb  before  he ever coached him. Teaching  world  history, he was taking roll call on the first day of class when he called the name "BROO-she."

   "No,  Coach," the unabashed student corrected him, "it's BREW-ski, as in `Have another.' "

   "OK," Cunha chuckled to himself, "here's a kid with some charisma."

   Wildcat strikes

   That's  the  type  of  insouciance  the  Patriots  take for granted from Bruschi, whose joy in playing football is as uninhibited as his style.


     "When  we're  in  the  huddle, that's the guy I'm glad to be with," says rookie  defensive lineman Richard Seymour. "He gives 110 percent. He brings a  sense  of  freshness out there. If you're having a bad day, he's the guy laughing, loosening you up."

   Bruschi's  linebacking  partner,  Mike  Vrabel, considers it a matter of perspective.

   "The  key is he's got a great attitude," says Vrabel. "He looks at it as an opportunity to have fun, make plays, play a kid's game, get paid for it, and do it well."

   It  was  hardly  a  given  that  Bruschi  would  get to play the game as anything except a kid, despite his prowess.

   "He's  a  great athlete," says Roseville athletic director and wrestling coach  Casey Griffin. "He can dunk a basketball and all that kind of stuff. There's no doubt he could have been an excellent basketball player."

   Instead,  Bruschi  became  an  excellent  heavyweight  wrestler and shot putter/discus  thrower  during  his  spare moments. He was an all-sectional wrestler,  an  all-state  thrower, even though he says those endeavors were nothing more than busy work: "The coaches said it would help with football, but it was just to pass the time."


   It appeared Bruschi would have plenty of time to kill after high school, because  the  tape-measure  drones couldn't  get  past his dimensions. The college  recruiting  of Bruschi was the antithesis of the band-vs.-football competition.

   Cunha,  who  also was Bruschi's coach in track, recalls in disgust that, per tradition, a college assistant approached him before his star lineman's senior year and said, "Who are your best players?"

   "He is," said Cunha, pointing to Bruschi.

   "Forget him," sniffed the college talent genius. "He's too short."

   Only  Washington  State,  Brigham  Young,  and Arizona didn't share that opinion.  And when Arizona offered him a scholarship on the spot during his recruiting visit, Bruschi was sold.

   Shifted  to  the end of the line, he went on to one of the most prolific careers  in  NCAA  history, exemplified by the sack record he still holds - and holds dear.

   "But  please  don't say I set the record," implores Bruschi with typical self-effacement. "I tied the record."


   Indeed,  it  was set by the late Alabama All-American and Chiefs All-Pro, Derrick  Thomas.  "Sharing  it with a guy like Derrick Thomas makes me very proud," Bruschi says.

   That  attitude  left  as lasting an impression as did Bruschi's exploits for  a  Wildcat  team that was a national powerhouse during his career from 1992-95.

   "He's  a  hero  in  Tucson,  I  promise  you,"  says  Arizona  defensive coordinator  Larry  MacDuff,  who returned to the Wildcats this past season after  spending four years as the New York Giants' special teams coach. "He was just a champion of a guy off the field, with really good values. He was heavily  involved  in  the  community,  great with kids. He had outstanding integrity."

   Of course, it didn't hurt that he could wreak a little havoc, too.

   "He  was  the  leader  of  our team," says MacDuff. "He was a tremendous difference-maker to our program. He did things right. He was an outstanding effort player, a big-play guy."

   Just  not  a  big guy, by NFL standards. So when the Patriots expended a third-round draft choice on him in 1996, MacDuff was pleasantly surprised.  "I know all the charts, the heights and weights," he says, "but this kid is  an  exception. When they drafted him, I said, `Tedy's not just going to make  a  team. He's going to be a great player and great leader.' I applaud the Patriots for taking him and finding a spot for him."

   That spot was linebacker, which Bruschi's father - who died last month - had foretold would be his son's destination.

   Tony  Bruschi  said,  "I've coached everything from football to fishing, and I'm telling you, your future is at linebacker."

   "But Dad," protested Tedy, "I like rushing the passer."

   That  triggered what the junior Bruschi recalls as animated debates, but he was adamant.

   "To me, getting a sack is the toughest thing in football, that and being on  an  island  as  a defensive back," he says. "It's drawing a line in the sand and crossing it to get the prize."

   But  NFL  employment  was  a more remunerative prize. So Bruschi stepped back  from  the line, which in football terms was tantamount to moving from San Francisco to Roseville.


   "It's probably one of the toughest things I've ever had to do," he says.

   Making smart choice

   It  was  no  picnic  for  his tutors, either. During Bruschi's first NFL training   camp  in  1996,  assistant  coach  Al  Groh  was  explaining  an assignment.

   "If you see pass," he said, "drop back and pick up the hook."

   "Uh, Coach," said a perplexed Bruschi, "what's the hook?"

   Groh  closed  his eyes, shook his head, and said, "OK, I see we're going to have to start from scratch."

   Bruschi eventually learned the hook - a receiver curling into the center of the field - and the hooks. It was a painstaking process.

   "It  took  me  a  couple  of  years  not  to chuckle when I said I was a linebacker," he says.

   That's  why  he's  indebted  to the likes of Groh and Bo Perini and Pete Carroll and Pepper Johnson and Belichick, among sundry mentors.


   "I  always  tell  kids  I  talk to that you should pay attention to your coach," says Bruschi, "because you can really benefit."

   There was a great deal of self-help involved, too, since there wasn't an alternative:  "I  said  to  myself,  `Tedy,  you're  going  to have to dive headfirst into this if you're going to stay in this league.' "

   And  here  he  is,  having  progressed  from  special  teams  terror and situational  pass  rusher, to starting outside and weak-side linebacker, to the  man  in the middle calling the shots, where Bruschi has been a fixture since  Nov. 25, first because of injuries to Bryan Cox and Ted Johnson, and now because of his impeccable transition.

   He  has rearranged his priorities - "I get just as much pleasure now out of stopping the rusher" - and capitalized on his diligence.

   "I  feel confident in my athletic ability," says Bruschi. "But I feel my strongest  point  is  intelligence.  I  know  the  game,  know  the various positions."

   The  mere suggestion that football acumen has eased Bruschi's adjustment causes  cornerback  Otis  Smith  to  stare  incredulous  holes  through the observer.


   "He's  a  smart man," says Smith, drawing out each word for emphasis, as if  to  indicate  that  applying  any  qualifier  to Bruschi's intellect is shortchanging him.

  
One-man operation

   Actually,  he's  proven  that on his own. While his close friend, Tucson attorney  Burt  Kinerk,  handled  Bruschi's  first contract, the client has turned  negotiator  for  the  last  two.  With  Kinerk's blessing. And with lucrative  results:  a  two-year,  $3  million  extension with a $1 million signing bonus in 2000 and a three-year, $4.6 million deal with a $2 million signing bonus last month.

   An  athlete  bargaining  for himself might as well be facing a financial firing squad, but Bruschi downplays the unique situation.

   "It wasn't as if I was all alone," he says. "I'd call Burt and I had the players'  union.  And  the Patriots were very fair. I believe in loyalty. I want to be known as a Patriot. I don't want to be one of those guys jumping around the league."

   An  admiring  Kinerk believes Bruschi is one of the few self-negotiators who can jump into shark-infested waters at the give-and-take table  "I  think  you  have  to  be  a  special person to do what he did," says Kinerk.  "There  aren't  too  many people who can do that, because you're a piece  of  meat.  But  Tedy  really  wanted to do this. He's a very unusual person."

   And  probably  a  lot  richer one than if he hadn't surrendered his band uniform, no matter how reluctantly.

   "I  chose  the  cleats over the sax," he says. "But only on the field. I still play."

   If  he  plays well enough today, Bruschi will get another chance to jazz it up in New Orleans.

 

Stars come out - for golf

Ex-Wildcat Bruschi serious about sport, helps his group win

By Terrance Harris Thursday, February 21, 2002
ARIZONA DAILY STAR

 

Tedy Bruschi seemed to be all smiles and laughter during Wednesday's Bank of America Celebrity Pro-Am.

 

But the former UA All-American and linebacker of the New England Patriots was all business at Tucson National when he stepped up to the tee.

 

Bruschi and his group, including PGA pro Carlos Franco and amateurs Skip Corley, Dominic Mastronardi and Craig Starkey, were so serious, they won the event with a 21-under-par 51.

 

"I take it seriously, because I'm playing with a pro," Bruschi said. "I know if it was a pro-am football game, I would want the people I'm playing with to take my game seriously. I sort of want to do the same thing.

 

"We joke around, have fun and keep it light, but I want them to know that I respect their game."

 

Bruschi turned in the shot of the day when he hit the flag on a shot about 300 yards away on No. 5. Bruschi birdied the par-4 hole with a 4-foot putt on the next shot.

 

Bruschi said his showing Wednesday was a vast improvement from his other time playing the pro-am.

 

"They asked me what my handicap was, and I said maximum, which was 21," Bruschi said. "I'm a little bit better than that, but this is a tough course, so I need a few extra strokes to give me a little more encouragement."

 

While Bruschi played well, it was actor Kevin Costner who played to the crowd. And what a crowd it was. Costner drew a galley crowd of about 200 spectators, by far the largest following of the day.

 

The fans were not disappointed as Costner constantly conversed with the crowd and signed autographs throughout the 18-hole event.

 

Joining Costner and Bruschi as celebrity draws were White Sox center fielder and former UA basketball player Kenny Lofton and musician Alice Cooper. Costner and Cooper were in the same group, paired with PGA pro Brian Hull. They shot a 57, six shots behind Franco's group.

 

For Bruschi, Wednesday's Pro-Am was his first opportunity to unwind since the Patriots won the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Bruschi makes his off-season home in Tucson.

 

"Ever since we left the AFC Championship, I've been on the go," Bruschi said. "We left for New Orleans the next day.

 

"Then after winning the Super Bowl coming back to that parade in Boston with 1.2 million people, it's been a roller-coaster ride. It's now settling down, now that I'm back in Tucson."

 

Bruschi will tackle the sax at Symphony Hall

By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff, 5/23/2002

 

You expect to see Tedy Bruschi preparing for a performance in the video room, or the meeting room, or the locker room. But on a warm, sparkling day, the ferocious linebacker for the Patriots was getting in touch with his artsy side in a music room at the prestigious Longy School of Music in Cambridge.

 

He was rehearsing the upbeat Eubie Blake tune, ''Fizzwater,'' on his alto saxophone, which he will perform with a saxophone quintet in a benefit gala for the Longy School at Symphony Hall June 17.

 

The goal is to raise funds for the school's scholarship and outreach program, which benefits students who can not afford music education.

 

It was only his second practice with saxophone instructor Andrew Cook, who was accompanying Bruschi on soprano sax.

 

''This is going to be more exciting for me than it will be for the kids,'' said Bruschi. ''I've been looking for something to get me back into my music. This is all I was before I played football.''

 

Growing up in Roseville, Calif., music was important to Bruschi and his parents.

 

''I started playing football when I was 14 and I had six or seven years of music before then,'' said Bruschi. ''I started out in the boys' choir, then played clarinet and alto saxophone. When I got to be 16 or 17, I had to make a decision, so I chose the cleats over the sax. It worked out well. This gave me a perfect excuse to get back into music and play with other people because I hadn't done it for so long.''

 

The Patriots' Charitable Foundation has come up with a catchy ad for Bruschi's night: ''From sacks ... to sax.''

 

Bruschi's participation in this event was inspired by a story about Bruschi's musical roots by the Globe's Bob Duffy during the Patriots' improbable Super Bowl run. Longy's Julie Fresina's brother Michael, who works at Street and Smith Business Magazine, contacted the NFL Players' Association, which contacted Bruschi

.

''I stopped playing in the band when I was on the JV football team,'' recalled Bruschi. ''I'd go from the JV football team and play in the varsity band in the varsity game. I went to the varsity as a junior, and I had to make a choice. But I always played a couple of times a year just to stay up on it.''

 

Bruschi's ability came as a bit of a surprise to Cook, but ''It's a nice surprise. It's good to see someone can balance athletics and arts and have that as an influence in his life.''

 

Cook, an avid football fan, said, ''It's the first time I've taught a celebrity and it's been a lot of fun. He's great to work with.'' Bruschi also plays his clarinet when he returns to his Tucson home for the offseason.

 

''It's really important that kids have something that taps the artistic side of them, whether it be their voice, whether it's an instrument, whether it be a brush or a pen,'' said Bruschi. ''To tap the artistic side is very important. Sports is a good outlet, but for me it's just violence and intensity a lot of times, so this keeps me in balance.''

 

Bruschi said his teammates don't know about his upcoming performance, but ''a lot of them will know when the article runs. When I was in high school I got a hard time for it. We'd practice at 6:30 in the morning and sometimes it was marching band. We'd be in the street practicing and here comes the football players and they see me and they give me a hard time. And I didn't care because it's what I loved and it's part of who I am.''

 

He often plays jazz, but he breaks out the Christmas tunes around the holidays.

 

His old saxophone is still in decent shape, but he was battling a leaky pad, which prevented him from hitting his low ''D.''

''It's my original sax,'' he said. ''I have a birthday coming up and I might ask for a new sax.''

 

Asked if he'll be nervous playing the Symphony Hall stage, Bruschi said, ''I've actually been there to hear the Pops play a couple of times. It's going to be quite an experience, one I'll never forget, and one that we can do as long as I'm here with the Patriots.''

 

Bruschi will be part of a June 9 ceremony in which Patriots players will be given their Super Bowl rings, according to the team's Web site ... Patriots coach Bill Belichick will receive the Baldwin Medal at commencement ceremonies at his alma mater, Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Conn., Saturday.
 

From Sacks to Sax
Michael J. Fresina

Streets and Smith's Sports Annuals
 

His heart raced as he wiped the sweat from his palms and brow. He had done all the interviews and greeted all the dignitaries. Now it was time to play. Tedy Bruschi, the soul of the New England Patriots, couldn’t wait to take the stage. This was the moment he had prepared for since he was just six years old.

 

    This scene was not played out in a corner of a locker room in the bowels of the SuperDome minutes before Super Bowl XXXVI. It was June 17th, 2002 and Bruschi was about the play Boston’s Symphony Hall. A guest performer at the Longy School of Music’s annual fundraiser, Bruschi admitted he, “was more nervous getting ready for this than the Super Bowl.”


    Bruschi, who didn’t start playing football until he was fourteen, began playing music when he was six years old and his instrument of choice was his voice. Singing in a boys’ choir known for blowing the roofs off churches, Bruschi fell in love with music. After a couple of years in the choir, he gave up singing for the clarinet and later moved on to the alto saxophone. Until his junior year in high school, when he had to pick between varsity football and playing in the band, music was Bruschi’s greatest passion.


        “Music”, Bruschi says, “is still a big part of who I am. I don’t get to play as often as I would like, but this fundraiser gave me the perfect reason to get back into it and play with other people. For years now, I’ve just been playing alone. I have really enjoyed listening to other people play and working on some harmonies.”


    Bruschi took to the Symphony Hall stage as part of a saxophone quintet including two thirteen-year-old girls, a fourteen year-old boy and their instructor from Longy, Andrew Cook. The piece they played, Eubie Blake’s Fizzwater, is an up-tempo, ragtime jazz number – one Bruschi had never even heard before he began practicing a few weeks before the event. “Heading into Symphony Hall, I am really glad I kept up with the sax over the years.” Bruschi said. “The ability to read music never left and when the music was sent to me, I knew immediately what parts would be easy and which I would need to practice more.”

Bruschi got together twice with Cook before having just one rehearsal with the whole group. Listening to them play, and judging by the enthusiastic response they received from the audience at Symphony Hall, one would never know the ensemble hadn’t been together for years.

Bruschi’s ties to the Longy School are still new, but should remain strong long into the future. Staff members at the small, but renowned school in Cambridge, Massachusetts read a blurb in a Boston newspaper about Bruschi’s love of music and decided to seek him out. Once Bruschi learned about the school and its philosophy of teaching, he was hooked. “I remember every one of my music teachers”, Bruschi said. “Each one had a huge impact on my life, my playing and my love of music. I have to admit, I don’t remember all of my football coaches.”

Bruschi is concerned as public schools around the nation cut budgets that fund music and arts departments. “Maybe”, he said, “there should be more schools like Longy and fewer football factories.”

With his Symphony Hall debut behind him, Bruschi took a moment to reflect on the whirlwind year he’s had. “I can’t imagine ever having a better year. First, the Super Bowl. Then, the birth of my second son and now the opportunity to play with this quintet and benefit the Longy School of Music, it’s been perfect for me. With my sports, my family, and my music, I’m in perfect balance.

 

2003

Bruschi hopes for familiarity at safety

03/25/2003 BY TOM E. CURRAN
Journal Sports Writer

FOXBORO -- Tedy Bruschi doesn't like the thought of a Patriots defense without Tebucky Jones and Lawyer Milloy behind him.

On the first day of voluntary offseason workouts yesterday, Bruschi weighed in without any prompting on the Patriots' safety situation where the franchised Jones, the cap-heavy Milloy and newly acquired Rodney Harrison are on the 2003 books for nearly $9 million.

"I would love to see Tebucky back," said Bruschi. "Certain things are happening now. Does it look impossible that he comes back? Are we going to trade him? I don't know. I think something will happen here with Tebucky's situation. We've got a lot of good quality safeties but I'd like to have [No.] 34 back. Tebucky brings a presence, Tebucky brings an attitude. Tebucky Jones and Andy Katzenmoyer are the best examples I've seen of size, speed, strength and athletic ability. To have

him there at free safety with his range and attitude . . . receivers knew where Tebucky was. That presence at safety is a valuable asset. If it works out where Tebucky's here, that would be nice."

As for Milloy, Bruschi said, "I can't see (the Patriots defense) without Lawyer. I can't. But we've got a lot of good safeties and obviously something's going to happen."

Bill Belichick likes his players to be versatile, but it's unlikely that Bruschi will be making many personnel decisions this season.

Still, the veteran linebacker's right when he says something's going to happen. And whatever it is will most likely involve Jones, whom the Saints covet, but are so far unwilling to deliver the second-round pick the Pats are said to be demanding.

The Pats could still work out a long-term deal for Jones (but not until after July 15) or go into the season with him counting an inordinate $3 million against the cap, which seems to be the least likely scenario.

Jones, who said earlier this offseason that he wouldn't participate in offseason workouts under the franchise tag, had not shown up at Gillette Stadium to work out by midday. There is no set schedule for workouts, however, so the chance exists that Jones did show later. Milloy, who is far less likely to be moved but will be asked to rework his growing contract, was at Gillette yesterday.

And so were many others, said Bruschi, who worked out around 8 a.m.

"It was one of the biggest (crowds) I've seen," he said. "We all came in at one time and the 8:30 a.m. running group was all the way across the field from sideline to sideline. With us not even being in playoffs, there's excitement in there. We all want to be back (working out) and we all want to get back to where we were (two years ago)."

Bruschi had a difficult 2002. He injured his right knee in the preseason, missed the third game of the year against Kansas City, then hurt it again on Thanksgiving against the Lions. He missed the final four games with a partially torn MCL. He said he did not have surgery on the knee.

"Last year was the year I had the most injuries in my career -- high school, college, seven years in the NFL," he said. "It's one of the reasons I wanted to be here today."

Bruschi met the team's blue-chip, free-agent recruit, Rosevelt Colvin, yesterday. As an outside linebacker, Colvin's presence will no doubt impact Bruschi and the rest of the Pats veteran linebackers in some way.

"I'm sure the coaches have a plan," Bruschi said. "Maybe a little outside linebacker/pass rusher (for Colvin). You never know how a free-agent signing will turn out. You have to wait until training camp. Then after the first week, maybe I'll be able to look and say, 'Hey, he'll do great.' "

How might it impact the rest of the linebackers? "Somebody's going to have to sit and watch while others play," Bruschi shrugged. "Somebody will have to come off the bench. It may be me. If my role is the same in December as it (was at the start of the '03 season) I'll be surprised."

Bruschi also cast a vote for next month's draft.

"When they drafted (defensive lineman) Richard Seymour (in 2001), I was the happiest guy on the team," he said. "Being an inside linebacker, when you see a man like that in front of you? Get another one of those. That's what I want. Another big guy to take up blocks so the linebackers can make plays."

Bruschi hopeful Jones will show up
by Michael Felger
Tuesday, March 25, 2003

FOXBORO - Tedy Bruschi looked down the line at teammates who showed up for the first running session of the Patriots' offseason conditioning program yesterday morning and took note.

``It was big,'' Bruschi said of the turnout. ``One of the biggest I've seen. That 8:30 (a.m.) running group was virtually the whole team.''

Well, not exactly. As expected, ``franchise'' safety Tebucky Jones was not in attendance. He was still in the thoughts of Bruschi, however, as the veteran linebacker lobbied for the return of his teammate.

``I would love to see Tebucky back,'' Bruschi said. ``Does it look impossible where he'll be back? Are we going to trade him? I don't know. I think something is going to happen here pretty soon with Tebucky's situation. We have a lot of safeties. We'll see how it pans out, but I'd like to have No. 34 back.''

Bruschi may get his wish, as trade talks with the New Orleans Saints have apparently cooled.

``Tebucky brings a presence. Tebucky brings an attitude,'' Bruschi said. ``Tebucky Jones and Andy Katzenmoyer are the two best examples I've ever seen of size, speed, strength, athletic ability - combination of all those things put into one. Receivers knew where Tebucky was, believe me.''

Bruschi said there was little doubt the Pats coaching staff would be able to come up with the schemes needed to keep Jones, Lawyer Milloy and the newly signed Rodney Harrison involved in the defense. Bruschi is also aware of the numbers crunch at linebacker. With free agent outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin in the fold, Bruschi will be battling for time with the returning linebacking corps of Ted Johnson, Mike Vrabel, Roman Phifer and Willie McGinest.

Whether it's a 3-4, or another variation, Bruschi is expecting the unexpected.

``Met Rosevelt today. Seems like a good guy,'' Bruschi said. ``How he's going to fit in, I'm sure the coaches have a plan. . . . Somebody is going to have to rotate. Somebody is going to have to sit and watch, somebody is going to have to come in off the bench. It may be me. That's the way it's been. If my role is the same in December as it is in September, I'd be surprised.''

Bruschi spoke for all linebackers when he expressed his desire for the Pats to bolster the defensive line at the draft next month.

``When they drafted Richard Seymour (in 2000) I was the happiest guy on the team,'' Bruschi said. ``To get another one of those - that's my vote. That's what I want. Give me another big man up there that's going to take up those blockers.''

Bruschi said he didn't need surgery on the knee injury (torn MCL) that kept him out of the final four games last season. He said he's back to 100 percent and participating fully in the conditioning program.

``It's amazing what a little rest will do,'' he said.

Tedy Bruschi - Sacks And The Sax
16 Oct 03 / by Luke Sacks, NFLPLAYERS.COM 

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi performs each weekend in front of stadiums packed to the rafters with thousands of screaming fans. He has been cheered, booed and everything in between. But playing football in front of people isn't something the eight-year NFL veteran gets nervous about anymore. Playing his saxophone in front of a crowd, however, is another story.

When Boston's Longy School of Music recruited Bruschi to perform live at Symphony Hall in 2002, he couldn't resist despite not having played his alto sax in front of people for a while. But after some convincing and some practice, Bruschi came through and performed Eubie Blake's famous "Fitzwater" piece as part of a quintet with students and a teacher from the Longy school. "It was great," Bruschi recalled. "I really had to practice a lot to do that. It's a lot different for me doing that in front of a lot of people compared to playing football."

Despite the time off from playing music live, Bruschi was able to work up the courage to go on stage and play the piece. While the butterflies may have been fluttering in his stomach, he was able to get through it unscathed. "It had been so long," he remembered. "When I was in junior high and high school I used to perform in front of people a lot. But then when I did the event a few years ago at Symphony Hall, it was something where I had some nerves but once I got out there and played the first note, I was fine."

As a result of that performance, Bruschi found himself playing his sax more frequently. "I was looking for an excuse to get back to playing often and that was it," he said. "It was a lot of fun and since then, I have started to play more often again."

Bruschi can't remember exactly how long he has been interested in music. But he does know that his love for it pre-dates his love for the gridiron. "I was playing the saxophone before I was playing football," he said. "I probably started when I was around 10 years old."

Bruschi was influenced by his mother, Juanita, to pick up a musical instrument. While most kids were getting pressured into playing football, baseball or basketball, Bruschi was being nudged towards music. "My mother never pushed sports, she pushed music instead," he recalled. "That was one thing that stuck with me. I started with the clarinet and then switched to the sax because it was a little more interesting of a sound to me."

As an adult, playing the saxophone provides a creative outlet and some relaxation from the rigors of life in the NFL. "I try to create when I play and I do it to relax," Bruschi explained. "It is really my number one interest after football."

While football hasn't been a part of his life as long as music has, the game has certainly provided plenty of challenges and rewards. After finishing his University of Arizona career tied with Derrick Thomas as the NCAA's all-time sack leader, Bruschi was forced to switch from defensive end to linebacker in order to play in the NFL. He calls the move, "the hardest thing I've ever done."

But he managed to absorb the nuances of linebacker over a period of time and the Patriots were patient and allowed him time to grow into the position. "I really didn't know what I was doing when I first came here and it took me three or four years to adapt to the linebacker position," Bruschi said. "But fortunately, I was still able to rush the passer, play third downs and play special teams as I was learning to play linebacker."

While he had to adjust to not chasing the quarterback on every play as a linebacker, Bruschi found chasing running backs could be just as much fun. "It wasn't hard as long as I was chasing the guy with the ball," he mused. "Now, I'm a full-time linebacker and I'm glad I made the transition."

 

2004

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

It's good to be Tedy Bruschi

By Cat Tracks staff  
Date: Feb 17, 2004


Tedy Bruschi is on top of the world. The former Wildcat just won his second Superbowl and was welcomed back to Tucson with a rousing ovation at halftime of the UA/USC basketball game. As good as his football career is, his personal life is better with his wife and two young sons.

We interviewed Tedy as part of the “Cat Tracks on the Air” radio show. Here is the transcript.

Doug Carr: You should be balanced now, a Superbowl Ring for each hand.

Tedy Bruschi: “I’ve got two now. I got to pick another finger to put the other one on. It’s a good problem to have.”

Brad Allis: There seems to be a lot of similarities between the ’93 Fiesta Bowl team and your Patriots’ teams. You both have great defenses and offenses that made plays when they needed them most. Do you see the similarities?

Bruschi: “That 93 Fiesta Bowl team draws more comparisons to our first team that won the championship. The way we did it this year we beat everyone. We beat everybody, we won 15 in a row. We blew people out, we won close games. I think we were the most dominant team in the league, so I think that is different from that Fiesta Bowl team.”

Allis: You’ve had an interesting NFL career. You were drafted, but had to switch positions. You started out as a reserve, but now you are sitting on top of the world. What’s it like being Tedy Bruschi?

Bruschi: “Well it’s a lot of fun, but right now I’m just a daddy. I’ve got two young sons. Little Tedy Jr. is three years old and Rex is two years old. That is what I really love, just being a husband and a father.

“In terms of my football life I have come a long way. I came from California down here and I played defensive end and defensive tackle all my life. All of the sudden I get drafted by the Patriots in the third round and they say ‘you have to move to linebacker, son.’ Luckily I was able to play special teams and rush the passer early on in my career, so that established my role on the team. In the meantime I was able to learn to play linebacker and slowly, but surely through my eight years I was able to get better at linebacker.”

Carr: You’re whole path from college on was one of hard work. You were lightly recruited out of high school, but left as the NCAA sack leader. What gave you your drive?

Bruschi: “I’ve just sort of been determined my whole life. I’m going to do whatever I can to be successful. I’m not going to let anything stop me. Certainly, not any of the doubters or naysayers. There have been a lot of opinions and predictions put out on me and who I can be as a player. What I can be as a player in my mind is totally different than what other people say.

“For me it is about playing winning football. I’m not a guy who puts out goals for individual accolades. I just want to be a championship caliber player. Other guys say they want to be a Pro Bowl caliber player, I want to be considered one of the best players. But I want to be considered a championship caliber player because that is what sports is all about, winning championships.”

Allis: You saw the highs and lows during your Wildcat career. You were as low as you could be in 1991, but by 1993 you were winning the Fiesta Bowl. What can you tell the guys who are here now and are struggling to turn things around?

Bruschi: “I tell those guys that they are sort of in the same situation that I was when I came to the University of Arizona. They are now part of a program that has been dwindling a little bit, sort of like when I came here in 1991. A motto we had back then was ‘bring it back.’. It was our responsibility to bring ‘it’ back, the ‘it’ being tough football, physical football, smart football and most importantly, winning football. They have to bring back winning football to the University of Arizona and that’s the responsibility they have right now and it’s a big responsibility. It’s a responsibility where all of them have to look at themselves in the eye and say it’s their responsibility and they are going to get it done.”

Carr: I know you recently had lunch with Mike Stoops. What do you see in Stoops that tells you he’s going to get this done?

Bruschi: I see endless energy. Endless energy that he is determined to do whatever he can to get this thing done. He has enthusiasm and a high energy about him. He's going to help Arizona football to become reborn. He’s going to get us out of the bottom half of the Pac-10 and I feel real positive about what he’s going to do with this program.

Carr: Stoops puts a great emphasis on the weight room, how important is it for these players to work hard?

Bruschi: “The work isn’t just going to be done in summer camp when the players report a few weeks before the season starts. If they haven’t started working by that point it is too late. If they haven’t started working by now for next year, it is too late. It is important what they do now. To me it is more important what they do this summer, this summer when it is not expected of them, when they are not expected to be in the workouts. It is important to see what they do when the eyes are not on them. Are they going to take it upon themselves to say ‘I’m going to be here four days a week, five days a week and train as hard as I can.’ “

Carr: You sound like the same player you were when you were an overachieving wild man here. Do you have that same drive and work ethic?

Bruschi: “Very much so. After the Superbowl it’s been about 15 days and I’m starting to get the itch to start training again. I’m going to take some time to heal a little injury that I have, but before the end of February I’m going to be back in the weight room.

Carr: Speaking of the injury, was there any way you weren’t going to play in the Superbowl?

Bruschi: “No, no there wasn’t. It did hinder me a little bit, but whether it had been week one, week two or week three, instead of the Superbowl, I was still going to put it on the line for the organization, for the team and especially the fans.”

Allis: Between you and your wife, the boys should have a lot of athletic ability. They are both very young, but have you seen any signs of their athletic ability?

Bruschi: Yeah, I’m the one who provided it. (laughs) No, Heidi was a great volleyball player and softball player at the University of Arizona, so I already have the Letters of Intent waiting for them.

Carr: As the two-time world champs, you have a huge target on your back. How important is it to get off to a fast start next year?

Bruschi: “The big thing for the start of next year is the Dolphins record (for consecutive wins). They won 17 or 18 and can we win our first three in a row? That is something we’ll keep in the background. We want to win three in a row, but we do that by trying to win one in a row. We didn’t win 15 in a row, we won one in a row 15 times. We’re going to try and adopt the same theme next year, which is ‘one game at a time’, especially with the pressure of trying to get to 18 games in a row.”

Allis: There are still a handful of Arizona guys in the NFL, do you talk to any of them?

Bruschi: “If there is an Arizona Wildcat on the other side of the field, I am definitely talking to him before the game, after the game, even during the game. It’s sort of like a brotherhood really. A lot of guys are out there that I am friends with. Even if the guy is a rookie I’ll go over to him and introduce myself.”

’Cat Tracks On the Air’ airs every Monday from 5-7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1290.
CatTracks.net: It's good to be Tedy Bruschi

GIVING BACK: Patriot leaves an impact

Tedy Bruschi participates in Reading Week

By TODD DEWEY
VIEW STAFF WRITER

Tedy Bruschi is one of the most intense players on the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, but off the field, the eight-year NFL veteran, and husband and father of two, is fairly low key.

Bruschi, who lives in Las Vegas in the offseason, turned down myriad interview requests and appearances in the wake of New England's second Super Bowl title in three years, but did accept an invitation, from a high school acquaintance, to take part in the recent Nevada Reading Week.

Bruschi, who bought a home in Silverado Ranch three years ago, spent a couple of hours reading "The Night I Followed My Dog" to a second-grade and fifth-grade class at Watson Elementary School in North Las Vegas.

"I thought it was a great idea. Reading to kids is something I love to do," said Bruschi, who also brought along his Super Bowl XXXVI ring, helmet and jersey. "I think, sometimes, you forget how exciting football is to younger kids, and sports in general, but going out and talking to kids rekindles my love for the sport."

Lorna Tobias, who was in charge of the reading week at the school, was impressed by Bruschi's attitude.

"He was really down to earth and very friendly," she said. "He was just really family oriented. He seemed like just an average person to me. He seemed like he really enjoyed it and the kids really enjoyed it.

"He expressed to the kids that he loved to read and hoped they'd become lifelong readers. That was not something I asked him to do, but it was a good message."

The message seemed to get through to fifth-grader Celestina Cubio-Torres and her younger brother Manny, a second-grader. Their mother, Becki Cubio-Torres, went to Roseville High School with Bruschi, near Sacramento, Calif., and invited him to take part in the event.

"It was cool having someone our mom knew from high school coming to read to us, and having someone from a (pro) football team telling us to read," Celestina said. "It was really fun, having him tell us it's real good to read and to follow your dreams. I love reading."

Manny, an Oakland Raiders fan, enjoyed checking out Bruschi's helmet.

"We got to hold his football helmet," the second-grader said. "He told us we have to read a lot, because if we don't, we won't get to our goals in life."

Bruschi, who has been married for seven years to his wife, Heidi, with whom he has two sons, Tedy Jr., and Rex, has been coming to Las Vegas in the offseason since 1992, when his mother and brother moved to the area.

At the time, Bruschi, 6-foot 1 and 247 pounds, was a defensive end at the University of Arizona, where he was a three-time all-American and two-time finalist for the Lombardi Trophy, given annually to the top lineman in the nation.

Bruschi set a school record with 19 sacks as a sophomore and finished his career with 52 sacks, which tied the NCAA Division 1-A career record with the late Derrick Thomas, a former Alabama and Kansas City Chiefs standout.

Bruschi, drafted in the third round in 1996 by the Pats, wasn't big enough to play defensive line in the NFL, so he carved a niche on the team as a role player, eventually making himself invaluable, earning a starting linebacker spot and title of defensive captain.

"It was a tough adjustment (to the NFL), but I felt I established a role right away, rushing the passer," he said. "I was a situational pass rusher, on third down, and played on special teams.

"That role kept me on the team and I learned the linebacker position in the meantime, so when that chance came, I was ready."

The high-energy Bruschi scored his first touchdown, on any level, his rookie year and, that same season, had two sacks in Super Bowl XXXI against the Green Bay Packers.

Bruschi appeared in every game his first three seasons and then made a career-high 138 tackles in 1999, when he started 14 games at outside linebacker. He added 105 tackles in 2000, when he started all 16 games at weakside linebacker.

Bruschi returned two interceptions for touchdowns in each of the last two campaigns, and came up with seven of his eight career picks in the last three years.

He had three interceptions this season, when he made 131 tackles, and returned one for a touchdown in a 12-0 shutout of the Miami Dolphins that clinched the AFC East title.

Bruschi, who has 21 1/2 career sacks and has played in three Super Bowls with the Patriots, said winning this year's Super Bowl proved the Patriots are for real.

"I think this one proved our first championship was no accident," he said. "This year we proved we can not only win a championship, but do it in dominant fashion. Winning 15 in a row is all you have to say about that."

Bruschi said he loves playing in the snow, but not living in it, which is one reason he moved to Las Vegas. He said he enjoys simply spending time with his family in the offseason.

"Once the season ends, it's time to spend time with your family," he said. "I keep a low profile out here. I like seeing shows and seeing what Vegas offers besides gambling.

"My wife and I saw Luciano Pavarotti at Caesars Palace and that will probably be the highlight of my offseason. I like that type of music."

Bruschi, who said he likes to listen to Bruce Springsteen before games, will turn 31 in June and just wants to keep improving on the gridiron.

"My individual goals are simple. Every year I try to improve upon last year," he said. "It will be my ninth year next year and I've done that every year, improved as a football player and linebacker. I just had my best year as a pro and I'll try to build on that for next year."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - GIVING BACK: Patriot leaves an impact - VIEW NEWS: A Neighborhood Newspaper

NOTES: 4/12/04

Peter King's Enjoyable Travel Factoid of the Week

 I had the best April hooky day in a long time Friday, in section 10 down the right-field line at the Red Sox-Blue Jays home opener. The Red Sox and Patriots combined for one of the greatest first-pitch ceremonies I've ever seen. Right after the anthem, about 25 Patriots players appeared from behind a huge flag that covered the Green Monster, and they got a thunderous ovation as they walked toward the mound. U2's Beautiful Day' serenaded them as they waved to the standing crowd. The Red Sox, meanwhile, aligned in a semicircle behind home plate, with manager Terry Francona crouching for the first pitch. Pats owner Bob Kraft toed the slap and threw the pitch. Then the two teams met between the mound and home, hugging and high-fiving. The crowd was nutso. Nomah and Tom Brady spent a couple of minutes together. Tedy Bruschi was so excited he ripped off his Pats' jersey and threw it into the crowd. Cool sight.

Bruschi wants to beef up Patriots’ ‘D’ line
By GEORGE SCIONE, Telegraph Staff
scioneg@telegraph-nh.com
Published: Saturday, Apr. 24, 2004

 

Whether the loss of run-stopper Ted Washington is finally sinking in, or the reality that an aging corps of linebackers - including him - may need an injection of youth for stabilization, New England Patriots middle linebacker Tedy Bruschi has one thing on his mind heading into today’s National Football League draft. The nine-year veteran wants beef up front, lots of it.

If Bruschi has his way, the Patriots will come away from this weekend’s college selection process with size on both the offensive and, more importantly, defensive lines.

“As a linebacker I always like to get big defensive linemen in front of me,” said Bruschi, a third-round selection (25th pick) in 1996. “My first need is that I can use a big guy at defensive tackle or nose guard and have him take up blocks. And it might be nice for Tom (Brady) and whoever we have at running back to add a couple big bodies on the offensive line here and there. But my first choice is another big defensive lineman.”

At 6-foot-1, 247 pounds, Bruschi is considered the heart and soul of the two-time Super Bowl champion Patriots. But heart and soul can only account for so much when players around you get older or, as Washington did, leave for another team.

Right now, the average age of the Patriots linebacking corps is 31, and Bruschi realizes that may be a focal point over the next two days. Not just at his position, but overall.

“I think right now youth at linebacker would be a good thing,” the 30-year-old Bruschi said. “At inside linebacker, I’m in my ninth year and I think I’m the youngest guy.”

Although part-time middle linebacker and special teams extraordinaire Larry Izzo is four months younger than Bruschi, Roman Phifer (36), Ted Johnson (32) and Don Davis (32) are getting up there in age.

Because of the age factor, don’t be surprised to hear one of five names called by Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli. Southern Mississippi’s Rod Davis (6-foot-2, 240 pounds), University of Miami’s Jonathan Vilma (6-1, 235), Georgia Tech’s Daryl Smith (6-2, 235), Auburn’s Dontarrious Thomas (6-2, 240) or Notre Dame’s Courtney Watson (6-1, 240) - the Top 5 at their position - may be just what Bruschi & Co. needs inside.

Whatever happens, Bruschi realizes the veterans will have plenty of mentoring and tutoring to do in the coming months.

“I guess what’s going to happen is we’re going to bring in a lot of young players,” Bruschi said. “We have a lot of picks in the draft coming up and whether we package them and move up or just draft in our spots, we’re going to have a lot of new guys coming in and I think that will be the biggest change next year.”

The San Francisco-born standout is ready to help any new teammate with the transition process. He remembers the changes he was forced to make when his name was called. Just the waiting process is enough stress. The whole idea of moving away from home is another burden entirely.

“There’s just a lot of questions, a lot of uncertainty,” Bruschi said. “The big part is you don’t know where you’re going to live. That was the biggest question prior to my draft, ‘who do you want to play for?’ I’d always say somewhere on the West coast would be nice, so I could be close to my family.

“I ended up going as far east as I possibly could go,” he said, “and it’s funny now. I wanted to stay close to home, but I went as far away as I could possibly go and I don’t think it could have turned out any better. That’s what these guys will need help realizing.”

In the end - the addition of premier running back Corey Dillon, the possibility that by weekend’s conclusion Ty Law may no longer be a teammate and the signing of newly drafted rookies - it all comes down to the same old philosophy.

“First of all we are all about winning,” Bruschi said. “No matter what happens with Ty Law or on draft day we just have to stay together and remember what got us those Super Bowl championships. That’s playing good team football and smart football and we’ll go from there.”

The Telegraph Online

05/06/04 PROVIDENCE -- Several members of the New England Patriots Super Bowl championship team will bring the Super Bowl trophy to Providence this Saturday night for the season's first WaterFire. Star linebacker Tedy Bruschi and Rhode Island native Mike Cloud are planning to make the trip. Defensive end Jarvis Green, defensive lineman Ty Warren and another other unnamed player or players may also visit the city. But team spokesman Stacey James cautioned that the players' plans could change, and some may have to cancel. After a brief presentation at Waterplace Park, the players will board a boat and take a "victory tour," giving fans along the river banks a chance to see the championship trophy, according to Mayor David N. Cicilline's office. The Patriots are scheduled to arrive at the basin at Waterplace Park near the Bella Vista Restaurant around 7:15 p.m. for the brief speaking program. They will then travel on a boat used to light the floating bonfires or a boat right behind it, so fans will have a good opportunity to see the players and the trophy while it's still relatively light out, according to James. The Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers, 32-29, on Feb. 1 to win the franchise's second Super Bowl. On Feb. 3, 2002, the team beat the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, for its first Super Bowl trophy, also called the Lombardi Trophy. Cicilline said in a press release, "I wanted to share the beauty and excitement of Providence's WaterFire with the Super Bowl champions. Providence is truly Patriots country, and I'm sure the enthusiasm of the fans will get the team fired up for another season." The Patriots consider the season's first WaterFire an ideal time to bring the trophy to Providence, according to James.
"Our fans are the greatest in the NFL," James said in the press release. "We have been invited to attend celebrations throughout New England over the last couple of years and look forward to returning to Providence to participate in the first Waterfire of the season this Saturday. WaterFire is unique to Providence and offers us a wonderful way to share our second Lombardi Trophy with the great fans of Rhode Island." Cicilline's office this winter announced that Providence would honor the Patriots with a spring rally. But James said the team, which had a parade in Boston immediately after winning the Super Bowl, prefers to show off the trophy in other parts of New England as part of existing events. The team learn
ed a lesson from its first Super Bowl championship, according to James. He said incorporating the "trophy tour" into already-scheduled events cuts down on costs and eases planning. Governor Carcieri, the General Assembly leadership, members of the Providence City Council, and other community leaders have also been invited to the celebration, according to Cicilline. It will be a busy few days for the Patriots. On Monday afternoon, the team is scheduled to meet President Bush in a Rose Garden ceremony.

 

Providence Water Fire 05/08/04

"We Will Rock You" blared from the speakers as the Patriots players entered the park around 7:15 p.m. Seven players from the championship team arrived with the Vince Lombardi trophy and paraded through the spectators, allowing fans to touch the shiny metal football.

"Thank you for a great season," Mayor David Cicilline said. "Thank you for bringing this great trophy back to us."

Tedy Bruschi presented the mayor with an autographed game ball. Bruschi was accompanied by Mike Cloud, Christian Fauria, Russ Hochstein, Lonie Paxton, Ty Warren and Jarvis Green.

Bruschi noticed how cold it was last night.

"It should be snowing," he said. "We do our best work in the snow."

projo.com | Providence, R.I. | New England Patriots

Bush welcomes Patriots back to Rose Garden

By DAVID NIELSEN, Scripps Howard News Service

WASHINGTON (May 10, 8:42 pm PDT) - The New England Patriots have a new "home field."

For the second time in three years, the Patriots celebrated a Super Bowl victory with a visit to the White House. President George Bush hosted the team Monday at a sun-drenched Rose Garden ceremony.

"Welcome back," said Bush, while glancing at Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "The mighty New England Patriots have returned, just like you told me they would."

The team toured the White House before the ceremony, and mingled with Bush for several minutes afterwards.

"This doesn't get old," said New England linebacker Ted Johnson. "It's an honor to come back here and you pick up things that you didn't see before. And a little more face time with the President doesn't hurt.

"It's your rite of passage. When you win the Super Bowl, you go to the White House."

Added Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi: "I don't know if it's fun, more than it being a formality and an honor really. There's not a lot of opportunities in your life when you can shake the hand of a President and have him be so gracious and take a picture with him and you have fond memories of it."

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PATRIOTS VISIT PATRIOTS
After his team's return trip to the White House this week, Pats owner Robert Kraft took some of the staff and seven players to visit wounded members of the military at the Walter Reed Medical Center. Tom Brady, Joe Andruzzi, Deion Branch, David Givens, Larry Izzo, Ted Johnson, and Tedy Bruschi spent more than two hours touring the hospital, taking pics, and signing autographs. "It was incredible. The whole way back from the hospital . . . you could tell the visit made an impression on the players," said Pats spokesman Stacey James. The patients were impressed, too. When James asked the wife of one of the soldiers where they lived, she said North Carolina (whom, of course, the Pats defeated in the Super Bowl). "I said, `Sorry,' " James said. "But she just said, `I bet he'll be a bigger Patriots fan now.' "

Boston.com / A&E / Celebrity news /

   Patriots salute patriots
 

     Seven New England Patriots - including Super Bowl superstar Tom Brady - got a reality check when the pigskin platoon blew into Walter Reed Army Hospital the other day to hang with some real Patriots during their day in D.C. The QB/QT, along with teammates Joe Andruzzi, Deion Branch, Tedy Bruschi, David Givens, Larry Izzo and Ted Johnson and owner Robert Kraft, spent two hours visiting with 20 soldiers, many of whom were fresh from the desert in Iraq. ``They couldn't believe how positive all the guys were,'' said team spokesguy Stacey James who joined in on the tour. ``There was a guy who lost both hands, one who lost a leg, and they were still talking about rejoining their platoon. The players couldn't believe it.'' Of course they couldn't. Because in the NFL, a broken leg can be considered a career killer! ``One soldier, who had lost his leg, was thanking them for coming to visit, telling them how much he appreciated it and the guys were like, `No, no, thank YOU,' '' James said. ``Come to find out, his wife said they were from North Carolina. But she thought from now on her husband would be a bigger Patriots fan than a Panthers fan!'' Stacey said the Pats, who earlier met with the Commander-in-Chief at the White House, were told they were the first Super Bowl champs to accept the hospital's invitation to come over and say hey to America's real heroes.
``Well, that certainly struck a cord,'' he said. ``Hopefully, we started an annual tradition.'' Patriots All Around!

BostonHerald.com - Inside Track

Red Cross enlists sports celebrities in drive for blood
By Kay Lazar
Friday, May 14, 2004

Hoping celebrities may help convince residents to roll up their sleeves and donate blood, the American Red Cross today is kicking off a campaign in Boston that will feature upcoming ads with New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi and Bruins goalie Andrew Raycroft.

BostonHerald.com - Local/ Regional News: Red Cross enlists sports celebrities in drive for blood

Pats score big for charity
By Inside Track
Friday, May 14, 2004

Bingo! He's got bingo! New England Patriots receiver Troy Brown and a benchload of his teammates including Tom Brady, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Kevin Faulk, Bethel Johnson, coach Bill Belichick and team owner Bob Kraft covered their cards at Gillette Stadium last night for Brown's first Celebrity Bingo Tournament. Brady blew through the Fidelity Investments Clubhouse just long enough to get the gals' hearts racing. When we asked the QB/QT where his alleged fiancee Bridget Moynahan was, No. 12 informed us we were ``jumping ahead of things.'' Meaning, we guess, there's no ring on Bridget's left hand. Yet. Bruschi, who was in a fierce bingo battle with teammate Rosevelt Colvin, said he loved the game, which he plays in Vegas with his mom, Juanita. ``I won 50 bucks once,'' Bruschi bragged. ``I never knew bingo would bring out this many people,'' Brown said. Proceeds benefited the United Way and Celebrities for Charity.

BostonHerald.com - Inside Track: Pats score big for charity

5K Walk and Health Fair on June 5

Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown of the New England Patriots will help kick off Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' 5K Walk and Health Fair at Artesani Park on Soldiers Field Road in Brighton on Saturday, June 5. The family-oriented event will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and will have free activities, including seated massage stations, fitness and health screening stations, face painting and a Jump Up and Go! Kids' Zone.

The event will also feature an announcement of the 50 public middle schools that will receive 2004-2005 Jump Up and Go! Healthy Choices grants from Blue Cross Blue Sheild. These grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are funded by Blue Cross Blue Sheild and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The grants will be used to implement fitness and nutrition programs for the students at the winning schools in the coming school year.

Community notes

A powerful visit: Seven Patriots amazed by tour of Medical Center
By Mike Reiss / News Sports Writer
Monday, May 17, 2004

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took their much-publicized visit to the White House last Monday, where they were honored as Super Bowl champions by President George W. Bush. The cameras didn't miss that moment, yet for seven Patriots players, perhaps the most unforgettable part of the trip took place when few were watching. "It was a great lesson in perspective," said linebacker Ted Johnson, who joined teammates Joe Andruzzi, Tom Brady, Deion Branch, Tedy Bruschi, David Givens and Larry Izzo as visitors to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "You couldn't help but be humbled by what you were seeing." The Walter Reed Medical Center, located in Washington DC, is a military-operated hospital that houses, among others, soldiers injured in combat. Johnson said some of the soldiers he met were seriously injured, such as one who had the top part of his hand ripped apart while fighting in Iraq. "I've been to hospitals before, and this was as intense an experience as I've had," Johnson said. "For two hours, we saw soldier after soldier and they were very candid about their injuries and how it happened. Most of the people we saw were amputees, and the way they talked about it, I couldn't believe how open they were about their injuries." The Patriots are believed to be the first NFL team to arrange a visit to the Walter Reed Medical Center following their Super Bowl honor at the White House. Team spokesman Stacey James said the team hopes it might start a league-wide tradition. Team owner Robert Kraft was one of the catalysts to the Patriots' trip, according to James. Following the Super Bowl victory on Feb. 1, Kraft received an email from a soldier at the facility, inquiring about the possibility of players visiting. Kraft had already decided to charter a plane for the team's visit to the White House -- a five-figure expense -- so the remaining question was how to get the seven players visiting the Walter Reed Medical Center home. The answer was to incur an additional expense and charter another plane. ohnson felt fortunate to visit the hospital. "What put me away was the spirit of the guys," he said. "One of the first people we met was walking outside for the first time (since being injured). It was a huge step and one of his fellow soldiers was helping him. You could see how protective he was of him. "There's a common bond through shared experiences. It's a little like football, except football is about winning and losing, not life and death."

Daily News Transcript - Sports Coverage

Notes and Quotes 5/27/04

Patriots cap a busy offseason

Brown latest to rework deal

    The Patriots could turn to yet another linebacker for cap relief, Tedy Bruschi, who is to earn $1.75 million and count $2,422,268 against the cap in the final year of his contract. But Bruschi, who represents himself, may well opt to play out the year and wait until after the season to discuss a new deal.

Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Patriots cap a busy offseason

 

Tracked down

New England Patriots tackle titan Tedy Bruschi picking up a silver Platinum Edition Cadillac ESV at Ray Ciccolo's Cadillac/Hummer Village of Norwood . .

 

The New England Patriots will receive their Super Bowl XXXVIII rings at a private ceremony at team owner Bob Kraft's digs June 13.

BostonHerald.com - Inside Track:

Notes: 6/1/04

Tree branch?

Bank of America won the battle to buy FleetBoston but Ken Lewis, chief executive, lost a Super Bowl bet with former FleetBoston head Chad Gifford. Now he's making good on the wager. Gifford's New England Patriots spanked Lewis's Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. To settle the boardroom bet, Lewis will present 38 North Carolina dogwood trees as a permanent gift to Bostonians. Paradoxically, losing the bet was a win for Lewis, at least on the PR front. BofA got to call the pay-out "a symbol of the bank's commitment to building the economic health and natural beauty of the city", where it now has many other branches after the $47bn acquisition. Boston mayor Tom Menino and Patriots' linebacker Tedy Bruschi will join Lewis and Gifford to plant the trees in Franklin Park today. Lewis will also serve up some Carolina barbecue during the tree-planting ceremony, settling another condition of the bet. No calling him a sore loser.

FT.com / Comment & analysis

 

6/2/04

During the tree-planting ceremony, Tedy Bruschi, linebacker for the New England Patriots, reflected on his team's Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers. "To win the way we did was just so unbelievable. The Panthers never gave up and played with a lot of heart. This game may be remembered as one of the most thrilling of the 38 Super Bowls," said Bruschi. "The Patriots are thrilled to have Bank of America as an official sponsor who will continue in Fleet's tradition of community involvement and sports excellence."

Bank of America Executives Settle Super Bowl Wager; Plant 38 Dogwood Trees in Franklin Park; Deepen Roots in Boston

 6/11/04

Here and there

The Patriots have a number of players who will be free agents at the end of this season. They are very close to a contract extension for linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who would be a free agent at the end of this season . . .

projo.com | Providence, R.I. | Patriots

Bruschi works on extension
By Michael Felger/ Patriots Notebook
Saturday, June 12, 2004

FOXBORO - Tedy Bruschi [news] is one of those players who you just can't picture playing in another team's uniform. And by the sound of it, that circumstance won't occur anytime soon, if ever.

     The veteran linebacker confirmed that he and the Patriots [stats, news] have been talking recently about a contract extension that would keep Bruschi in New England for the foreseeable future. Bruschi, who serves as his own agent, would not go into specifics, but reports indicated a deal was imminent.

     This will be Bruschi's ninth NFL season, and 2004 was arguably his best as a pro with 137 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions and 16 passes deflected. While he remains firmly ensconced as the starting ``mike'' linebacker in Bill Belichick [news]'s 3-4 defense, Bruschi's true value comes in his versatility, as he stays on the field in passing situations and is also a factor on special teams.
    Bruschi is set to earn $1.75 million in the final year of the three-year deal he signed just following the 2001 regular season. A new contract would allow the Pats to reward one of their hardest-working and most popular players while also potentially gaining some relief on the 2004 cap.

BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Bruschi works on extension

 

Enough Said

Linebacker Tedy Bruschi confirmed yesterday that he is nearing a contract extension, but Bruschi, who represents himself, bristled when asked how long his new deal would last.

"My agent doesn't talk about those issues," he said.

Then, pointing at the grass at the edge of the practice field, he added, "I'm a player when I'm here and I don't talk about those issues here."

projo.com | Providence, R.I. | Patriots

 

Pats' Klecko weighing switch to new position

Updated: Saturday June 12, 2004 3:08P

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- Defensive tackle Dan Klecko is dropping pounds in hopes of moving up the New England Patriots' depth chart in a different position.

Klecko has dropped at least 13 pounds since last season as the coaching staff toys with the idea of using him at inside linebacker

Listed at 5-foot-11, 283 pounds as a rookie last year, Klecko was smaller than a lot of defensive lineman, but bigger than most linebackers. Last year, he saw some playing time at nose tackle, but was also inserted at defensive tackle in a 4-3 alignment, middle linebacker in a 4-3, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and blocking fullback on offense.

Head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel have shifted Klecko to inside linebacker for the rest of the Patriots' two minicamps to try to find the high energy player a more regular slot.

The experiment is expected to continue when training camp begins July 29.

Klecko's teammate Tedy Bruschi made a similar move after college. The veteran linebacker held the NCAA sack record at Arizona as a pass-rushing defensive end, and has made the move to inside linebacker in increments over his nine-year career. The biggest difference, Bruschi said, is how a player sees the field as a linebacker.

"You're seeing it totally different," said Bruschi, who has been tutoring Klecko in the non-contact practices. "When you're down in the three-point stance, you see two guys, maybe three. But a linebacker is standing up, and you've got to see the whole thing. You've got to recognize formations and make adjustments for one, then you've got to recognize entirely different blocking schemes in terms of runs and passes."

So far, Klecko is getting good reviews for his efforts.

"Dan's a smart guy, he's worked hard and he's really doing a nice job of making the transition," Belichick said. "But when the pads come on, everything starts happening a little faster and the contact comes, and that's always been one of Dan's strengths. He's the kind of player who looks better in contact."

"He's a bright kid, and that's the first thing you've got to have," Bruschi said. "He moves pretty well. You've got to have that, and you've got to have intelligence, which I think he has, and basic football instincts, which I think he has also."

"It's a challenge," Klecko said. "It'll be tough, and it will take time, but I'll get it."

The minicamp ended with Saturday morning's practice. The players will meet again Sunday night at the Brookline home of team owner Robert Kraft to receive their Super Bowl XXXVIII championship rings.

"The rings are symbolic of what the team accomplished, and that's what we all play for," Belichick said. "It's a prize that you work hard to get so it will be exciting to see it and have it. But at the same time, that will be a short window to enjoy it, because we'll have the '04 season upon us."

SI.com - NFL - Klecko weighing switch to new position - Saturday June 12, 2004 3:08PM

Inside information

Tedy Bruschi has walked in Dan Klecko's shoes and knows it isn't comfortable at first. "It's the toughest thing I ever had to do," Bruschi said of the move from defensive lineman to inside linebacker. "To have my hand down in the dirt and then be asked to stand up 4 yards off the ball, it reads a totally different way. I know what he's going through. And it was tough for me. Unfortunately, it took me over a year to get used to it. I'm just trying to help him a little bit in meeting rooms and on the side, just trying to give him pointers that will help him get along a little faster than he would normally." Klecko's view of the action is abnormal compared to what he is accustomed to as a defensive tackle. "When you're down in a three-point stance, you're seeing two guys, maybe three," said Bruschi. "You're a middle linebacker standing up, you've got to see the whole thing. You've got to recognize formations and make adjustments. You've got to recognize entirely different blocking schemes." Klecko, who said he is down to 270 pounds from his listed weight of 283, said, "Tedy helps me a lot. I'm trying to be in his hip pocket as much as I can. He's been helping me with every little thing." Belichick said putting Klecko at linebacker may not be a long-term experiment. "He has the athleticism to play at that position," Belichick said. "He'll definitely play down in some situations as well, maybe all situations." The thing about Klecko is, he knows how to play football. "When the pads come on and everything starts happening a little bit faster and the contact comes, in the past that has always been one of his strengths," Belichick said. "Dan is a guy who probably looks a little bit better when the pads are on relative to other players. Some guys might look a little bit better athletically and moving around. Dan has got the motor and the power."

Boston.com / Sports / Camp a fundamentally sound idea

A diamond jubilee as Patriots get their rings

BROOKLINE -- In the middle of an hour-long procession of luxury cars, sport utility vehicles, and limousines pulling up to a red carpet in front of an opulent house, Adam Vinatieri pretty much said it all.

"This," the Patriots kicker said last night, "is all right."

It was that kind of night for the Patriots, who received their 2003 Super Bowl rings at owner Robert Kraft's house during a celebratory dinner. As the players pulled up, Kraft greeted each one with a hug in the entryway to his palatial home. Coach Bill Belichick was one of the last to arrive.

"So many days out of the year, we're one game at a time, one day at a time," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "But this is one night when we can embelish."

"This is why we play," linebacker Ted Johnson said. "The ring is a huge symbol of what we were able to accomplish. This event gives some closure to last season."

It also gives their fingers some serious weight to carry. Each ring -- which Bruschi estimated at more than $20,000 -- weighs 3.8 ounces and 5.05 carats. It is 33 percent larger than the team's ring from the 2001 season, has 104 diamonds, and is the heaviest Super Bowl ring ever.

There are 15 full-cut gems that run across the crest of the ring, symbolizing New England's 15-game winning streak. Along the bottom are 12 diamonds, representing the 12-0 home record (including exhibition games). Ted Washington, who came back from Oakland, Calif., to pick up his jewelry, had the biggest ring at size 17.5.

"The real standard was, the ring in 2001, when they put it on the bar you could see it for three stools," Kraft said. "This is a six-stool ring."

"It's the best Super Bowl ring ever," Bruschi said. "The best ring in the history of the NFL went to one of the best teams in the history of the NFL."

Like the 2001 edition, the rings were cast in 14-carat white gold, which is becoming a tradition for New England -- the Patriots are the only team to use white gold on Super Bowl rings.

The Patriots are getting used to these ring ceremonies. They have created a mini-dynasty in the past three years, winning two Super Bowls and posting a 17-2 record last season.

"I'm still surprised at what we've accomplished," said running back Kevin Faulk, who rolled up to Kraft's cobblestone driveway in a stretch limo.

But he won't forget, thanks to the images of a pair of Lombardi Trophies on the centerpiece of the ring. On the crest is an aerial view of Gillette Stadium with "WORLD" across the top and "CHAMPIONS" on the bottom.

"We get these tonight, and it symbolizes what we did last year," Vinatieri said. "This is the last time we get to celebrate. Some players play their entire careers and don't get even a sniff of a ring like this."

As excited as players were to receive their rings -- some showed at 5:40 for the 6 p.m. dinner -- some said they weren't satisfied.

And filling them up is a matter that won't wait until fall, not with minicamp starting last week. After the luxury of last night -- with Tom Brady pulling up in a limo and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel pulling up in a limousine-bus hybrid -- the players and staff won't have much time to forget what earned them the rings.

"Tomorrow it's back to work," Faulk said, "to try and win another one." 

Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / A diamond jubilee as Patriots get their rings

More Tedy quotes about The Ring:

""The first (ring) will always have sentimental value. That's when we broke the mold as far as being a football team," Bruschi said. "But this one is unbelievable. There's also so much significance to it with the 15-game winning streak."

 

As Mr. Kraft said, this is the best ring in the history of the NFL," Bruschi said, standing in front of the Super Bowl logo painted on the Krafts' lawn.

 

We're always one game at a time,'' linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. ``This is one night we can (let loose). This is one of the greatest rings for one of the greatest teams in NFL history.''

Patriots Extend LB Ted Bruschi's Contract

 

FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots (news) have signed linebacker Tedy Bruschi to a contract extension through 2007.

Bruschi, who acts as his own agent, was scheduled to become a free agent after the 2004 season. The new deal includes a total base salary of $4.6 million over the next four years, according to the web site of the NFL Players Association.

 

Bruschi's signing bonus was not disclosed. Patriots spokesman Stacey James said Thursday the team does not comment on contract extensions.

 

Bruschi, 31, was the team's third-round draft choice in 1996. He was second on the team with 137 tackles last season, with two sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

 

He also scored two touchdowns, and one of them earned him a permanent place in Patriots' lore. After intercepting Miami's Jay Fiedler for the clinching touchdown in a 12-0 victory over the Dolphins on Dec. 7, Bruschi dropped to his knees as teammates swarmed around him.

 

The crowd responded by throwing fistfuls of snow in the air, giving the appearance of frosty fireworks.

 

Bruschi signs extension
17 Jun 04 / by Andy Hart, Patriots Football Weekly

According to NFLPA documents Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who represents himself and negotiated the deal, has signed a new four-year contract that will keep him in a New England uniform through the 2007 season.

The 31-year-old linebacker could have become a free agent following the 2004 campaign, but the new deal that reportedly has a total value of $8.1 million and includes a $3.5 million signing bonus, was enough to keep the eight-year veteran from testing the open market.

A former 1996 third-round draft pick out of Arizona, Bruschi had his best season as a professional a year ago earning second-team All-Pro recognition from the Associated Press. The defensive co-captain started all 16 games at inside linebacker for the Patriots in 2004, as well as the team's three postseason contests. He finished the regular season ranked second on the team with 137 tackles, adding two sacks, three interceptions, 16 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

A former college defensive lineman, Bruschi has started 72-of-120 games played in his eight seasons in Foxboro. A versatile player, the 6-1, 247-pounder has been a key contributor on the outside and inside defensively as well as on special teams with the Patriots. His career totals include 640 tackles, 21.5 sacks, eight interceptions, 43 passes defensed, 14 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 48 special teams tackles

According to the NFLPA, Bruschi's new deal carries a salary for 2004 of $700,000. His base pay increases to $850,000 in 2005, $1.35 million in 2006 and $1.7 million in 2007.

Official Website of the New England Patriots - 6/17/04 8:35:38 PM

ESPN.com

Len Pasquarelli, June 18, 2004

During this (much welcomed) lag time in the NFL schedule, any story of even minute significance merits a headline and closer than usual inspection, it seems. So when the New England Patriots signed Tedy Bruschi to a new, three-year, $8.1 million contract extension earlier this week, we scurried for some statistics to pad out the story. Most interesting was that the eight-year veteran linebacker had 16 passes defensed in 2003. If that doesn't seem like a ton of deflections for a linebacker, especially a guy who plays on the inside in a 3-4 scheme, consider this: There were only 14 defensive backs in the NFL who had more passes defensed than did Bruschi last season. Yeah, we know, the "passes defensed" category is one of those esoteric numbers, with the statistic not yet officially recognized by the league, one in which the criteria varies from team to team. But no matter the method used by Pats coaches to determine a pass defensed, Bruschi certainly was an active guy last season. Then again, his 16 pass deflections are still four fewer than Washington Redskins star LaVar Arrington posted in '03. There were just four defensive backs -- Ty Law of New England (23), Houston's Marcus Coleman (23), the Pats' Tyrone Poole (21) and Fred Thomas of New Orleans (21) -- credited with more passes defensed than Arrington had.

ESPN.com - NFL - Pasquarelli: Raw deal


Tedy Bruschi is worth every penny of his new contract with the Patriots.
Elsa/Getty Images

Patriots brace themselves for 2005 free agency

Not many players deserved a contract extension more than linebacker Tedy Bruschi.

He's just an ordinary athlete and lacks natural size, but he brings an attitude and heart that provides the Patriots' defense with an identity. He's always making plays due to his natural instincts and aggressiveness.

 

Now the Patriots must begin addressing the future of Matt Light.

 

Light made tremendous progress last season and was among the highest-graded left tackles in the league. The Patriots stayed away from matching the high dollars given to Damien Woody this spring, but Light is different. In the NFL, left tackles carry a much higher value and Light takes a great approach to the game. The Patriots must do whatever they can to lock Light into a long-term deal before he hits the free-agent market next spring.

 

 

 

FOXSports.com | SCOUT'S HONOR: Couch finds a home

 

Low-blow from Bruschi
 

     Some Patriots players (not to mention their agents) were disappointed at the decidedly below-market contract extension signed by linebacker Tedy Bruschi [news] last week.
 

     At four years and $8.1 million (with a $3.5 million signing bonus), Bruschi's deal averaged $2 million a year. The NFL ``transition'' number (the average of the 10 highest-paid players at the position) is just over $4 million.
 

     In terms of his importance to the Pats, Bruschi is undoubtedly a top-10 linebacker. On a league scale, no one can argue that he's at least close to it. As a 2003 Pro Bowl alternate and an essential cog in two Super Bowl championships, it's inconceivable (barring injury) that Bruschi wouldn't have done better as a free agent following the 2004 season.
 

     Word is that a few of Bruschi's teammates implored him to get an agent to help in the negotiations. Instead, Bruschi represented himself, just as he did when he restructured following the 2001 season. The result was another killer deal for Pats.
 

     In discussing the Bruschi situation, one agent compared him to Ray Bourque, the former Bruins defenseman who consistently settled for below-market deals, thereby keeping Jeremy Jacobs' internal salary cap in line.
 

     Bruschi admitted in a radio interview that he probably could have gotten more in free agency, but that it was more important to him to remain in New England. Bruschi went on to say that all NFL players are probably overpaid anyway.
 

     Any agent listening to the interview probably threw up in his mouth.

BostonHerald.com - Patriots: Grant an aid in Colvin comeback

 

Bruschi to perform at Symphony Hall
21 Jun 04 / by Andy Hart, Patriots Football Weekly

Tedy Bruschi first made a name for himself as a college football player at Arizona via the sack, concluding his NCAA career tied atop the all-time sack list with 52. And while he still brings down the occasional quarterback on Sundays during the fall, he will be making sweet music with a different sort of sax on stage at Symphony Hall on Monday night where he will perform Rob Buckland's “Watch You Step” on his alto saxophone as part of the Longy School of Music's annual gala.

The performance will be Bruschi's second appearance at the annual gala, all proceeds of which go to the Longy School's scholarship and outreach activities. A former member of the Roseville (Calif.) High School marching band, Bruschi was forced to choose between football and the saxophone at an early age. He has reached ultimate success on the football field, but has never lost touch with his musical side.

“It is really important that kids have something that taps the artistic side of them,” Bruschi said. “I know that music helps keep me in balance. The Longy School provides a much-needed service to the Boston area.”

Founded by Georges Longy in 1915, the Longy School is a premier center for music education and one of only eight independent music conservatories in the United States. Last year 66 low-income students from Boston, Cambridge and Somerville received preparatory music lessons from Longy faculty at dramatically reduced rates.

“It is wonderful that Tedy Bruschi is again willing to show his support for our scholarship fund,” Kwang-Wu Kim, President of the Longy School of Music, said.

Tonight's event begins at 6 p.m. at Symphony Hall in Boston. Bruschi is expected to take the stage with the Longy Junior and Senior Saxophone Ensembles to perform “Watch Your Step” at 8:15 p.m.

Official Website of the New England Patriots - 6/21/04 3:15:28 PM

PERSONALITY PROFILE

Tedy Bruschi finds an escape on the golf course Tedy Bruschi

By Todd Dewey, Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS (May 5, 2004) -- Tedy Bruschi, a defensive captain on the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, said one of the main lures of the links for him is playing a ballgame on grass where he doesn't get hit.

"I love being outdoors and being on some beautiful turf. I work on grass also, and it puts me back there. I can be pretty competitive with my brother without someone blindsiding me," said Bruschi, a native of California who bought a home in Las Vegas three years ago.

Bruschi, one of the most intense players on the Patriots, with whom he has played in three Super Bowls and helped them win two, tied the NCAA Division I career sack record while at the University of Arizona.

Bruschi, a 6-foot-1, 247-pound linebacker who played defensive end for the Wildcats, set a school record with 19 sacks as a sophomore and finished with 52 sacks, tying him with the late Derrick Thomas, a former Alabama and Kansas City Chiefs standout.

Ironically, Bruschi, a three-time All-American and two-time finalist for the Lombardi Trophy, never hit the links while in the golf mecca of Arizona.

"I didn't really get into golf until my first year in the NFL," he said. "The bottom line was I couldn't afford any clubs."

After getting drafted by the Pats in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft, though, Bruschi decided to take up the game, and has developed an annual offseason rivalry with his brother Tony, a construction supervisor in Las Vegas.

"I don't really golf for competition. I get plenty of that from football. Golf is strictly for enjoyment and fun, but whenever I'm in Las Vegas, me and my brother have a competition," he said. "Whenever I get around my brother, our juices really get flowing and we've got to get out.

"We golf to see who has bragging rights. I had a three-year win streak, but he came back and got me pretty good this offseason."

Bruschi and his brother have played at several courses in Las Vegas, including the now-defunct Desert Inn, the Badlands, TPC Canyons and Rhodes Ranch.

Bruschi, who recently returned to Massachusetts for the Patriots' offseason conditioning program, golfs with teammates Adam Vinatieri and Ted Johnson when he's back East.

"Adam was on fire the other day, but kickers have plenty of time to find time for their golf game. Us linebackers have aches and pains to deal with," he said. "I don't really have a handicap. I golfed a 90 at TPC Norton, and that's a good score for me."

Bruschi said he's completely healed from last season and is already focused on making another run at the Super Bowl.

Not big enough to earn a spot on the defensive line in the NFL, Bruschi was a role player his rookie year, when the Pats lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, but eventually he broke through as a starting linebacker.

"It was a tough adjustment, but I feel I established a role right away, rushing the passer and playing on special teams," he said. "That role kept me on the team and I learned the linebacker position in the meantime, so when that chance came, I was ready."

The high-energy Bruschi scored his first touchdown on any level his rookie season, and capped off the campaign with a pair of sacks in the Super Bowl.

He played in every game his first three seasons and then made a career-high 138 tackles in 1999, starting 14 games at linebacker and all 16 in 2000.

Bruschi, who has 21 1/2 career sacks, returned two interceptions for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons and has come up with seven of his eight career picks the last three years.

He had 131 tackles and three interceptions last season, including one he took back for a score in a 12-0 shutout of the Miami Dolphins that clinched the AFC East title.

Bruschi said this year's world title proved the Patriots are for real.

"I think this one proved our first championship was no accident. This year we proved we can not only win a championship, but do it in dominant fashion," he said. "Winning 15 in a row is all you have to say about that.

"Now I'm back here 100 percent and ready to go back to training camp and make another run at the Super Bowl. We've won it twice and our next goal is to win our third world championship."

Bruschi said his goals are simple - to win.

"If you get caught up in individual goals, they mess up your mind and you're not seeing the big picture, and the big picture is winning football games," he said. "I don't get caught up in Pro Bowls and leading the league in tackles. I don't like the term Pro Bowl-caliber player. I like being a championship-caliber player.

"Every year I try to improve upon last year. It will be my ninth year next year and I've done that every year, improved as a football player and linebacker. I just had my best year as a pro and I'll try to build on that for next year."

Bruschi enjoys spending time with his family in the offseason and said seeing Luciano Pavarotti at Caesar's Palace with his wife was the highlight.

"I like seeing shows and seeing what Vegas offers besides gambling," he said.

Bruschi also spoke to a Little League team in Las Vegas and read at an elementary school in the offseason, along with a trip to Fenway Park for Opening Day. He's also slated to go to the White House soon and will also represent the Patriots at the ESPY Awards.

Whenever his schedule becomes too hectic, though, Bruschi can always find refuge on the golf course.

"I like seeing the perfect drive going straight down the fairway, with the trees in the background, and the overall peace it gives me," he said.

Las Vegas Golf: Tedy Bruschi

PRO FOOTBALL NOTES

...While we're on the subject of contracts, the four-year, $8.1 million extension Tedy Bruschi recently negotiated for himself continues to draw criticism from agents, media, and players, including some teammates. It certainly falls in the "below market" category, considering the contract Houston's Jay Foreman signed last year averages $2.4 million, and the long list of linebackers who signed richer deals this offseason but aren't wearing two Super Bowl rings. But the chances are good that Bruschi will play out the entire contract because the extension doesn't have years with huge salary cap numbers added strictly for proration purposes. He'll get his wish and do what Laywer Milloy didn't do and Ty Law won't do -- play his entire career as a Patriot. Bruschi always reaches his incentives, and he's never been asked to take a pay cut. As for what he could have commanded on the open market, keep in mind he'll be 32 years old next offseason, and some within the league question whether he would be as effective in another system. Still, from the perspective of other players, Bruschi's deal effectively has created a cap within the cap at Gillette Stadium. If Bruschi, a second-team All-Pro last year, averages just a little more than $2 million a year, the Patriots can and will use that as justification for refusing to pay David Givens and Tom Ashworth like an average starting receiver and right tackle. So Givens and Ashworth will play for the one-year, $380,000 tender and like it. Players talk among themselves, and some of the younger Patriots are beginning to realize that if they want to get theirs, they'll have to get it elsewhere.

Survey said . . .

Where does Bruschi rank among his peers? He's right up there, as Bill Belichick would say. From May 12-26, the Sports Xchange surveyed 22 personnel directors for USA Today Sports Weekly, and they rated Bruschi as the league's seventh-best inside linebacker, behind Carolina's Dan Morgan and ahead of Pittsburgh's Kendrell Bell, with whom the Steelers happen to be negotiating an extension.

Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Whipping them into shape

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Rugged Bruschi embraces his musical side

By Bill Burt
Sports Editor

BOSTON -- Two elderly women were walking through the crowd in search of the hors d'oeuvres tray last night when they stopped dead in their tracks.

They noticed a man in a dark suit talking to a TV reporter.

"That's Tedy Bruschi," said one of the women.

"He's cute," the other said before they were on their way, still staring Bruschi's way. "My grandson is going to be upset when I tell him I saw him in person."

There was no blue and silver face paint or the chanting of "Bru-SKI! Bru-SKI!" he is used to when he performs. No, this venue was different. This was Boston Symphony Hall.

But like the 68,000 anxious locals who make their way to Foxboro about 12 Sundays a year, they know a good thing when they see it and they saw it in Tedy Bruschi last night.

The New England Patriots linebacker was among those being honored -- with pianist and composer Leon Fleisher and composer Joan Panetti -- at a fund-raiser for Longy School of Music, which educates 1,400 students from school age to adults in Harvard Square.

Bruschi was among eight junior and senior saxophone ensembles (he was a junior) that played Roger Buckland's "Watch Your Step."

Here was one of the most rabid and energized players on a two-time Super Bowl champion, showing no signs of someone in over their head.

"I practiced a lot," said Bruschi, who still holds the NCAA record for sacks in a career with 52. "The last week or so, I practiced every day. This music wasn't as difficult as the one I worked on two years ago. That was 'Fizzwater' by Eubie Blake. That was tough. That was Belichick tough."

Bruschi's journey to Boston Symphony Hall, with a saxophone case by his side, is an interesting one.

At 7, he was in church choir. At 8, he started playing the clarinet. And at 9, he hit paydirt, musically speaking, and played the saxophone.

"I was in fourth grade and I knew it was my instrument," Bruschi said. "I fell in love with it."

The first test of his love for music was in high school. He had to go to school early (6 a.m.) as part of the school's band.

"The tough kids would be coming to school about the time we were finishing," Bruschi said. "People always ask me about kids bothering me about being in the band.

"Trust me," he smiled. "Nobody bothered me."

It was not an easy decision as a high school junior when Bruschi was faced with choosing football or the saxophone. Because a potential scholarship was involved, football won out, barely.

"I'm not a football player," Bruschi said. "I play football. But there is so much more to me than playing a game. I love music. I love being around my family."

Bruschi met his wife Heidi at the University of Arizona. He was a communications major. She majored in special education.

"As long as I've known him, music has been a big part of his life," Bruschi said. "I love that about him. He has other interests in his life. He's a great dad. He cares about his family. And he loves to play the saxophone."

Bruschi estimates he plays the saxophone about once a week once football begins in late July. During the offseason, he practices about three times a week.

Leading up to last night's show, he was practicing every day.

"The toughest part now is trying to find time after working out," Bruschi said. "My boys (Tedy Jr., 3; Rex, 2) like to hit the buttons while I'm playing, which sometimes changes the music. When they go down for a nap, I try to work some time in. But the problem is I can't play too loud or I wake them up."

Bruschi said some of his Patriots teammates razzed him a bit around the weight room when they heard about his performance at last night's fund-raisier. But within the last couple of days, he said that changed.

"Some guys came up to me and admitted they had played some instruments when they were growing up, too," Bruschi said. "A couple said they'd like to start playing again. That would be great."

Bruschi believes every person has an artistic side. If some people, especially tough-guy athletes, would stop worrying about being labeled and played an instrument or painted a picture, life as they know it would be better.

"Art is a beautiful thing," Bruschi said. "You find out a lot about yourself and look at life differently. I know I've had a successful career in football, but I don't know where I'd be if I never got into music."

Bruschi recently made news because not only did he sign a four-year extension (estimated to be about $8 million), but he did it without an agent.

That attitude has parallels to his passion for music.

"Tedy is his own man. He always has been," said Heidi Bruschi. "But I do tell him that if I met him in high school, that things might have been different between us."

Sorry to disagree, but it says here the band geek named Tedy Bruschi, with all that athletic ability, good looks and saxophone over his shoulder, would have won in the end.

Rugged Bruschi embraces his musical side

Bruschi scare: Pats star hospitalized with headaches
By Laura Crimaldi
Thursday, February 17, 2005

Charismatic New England Patriots [stats, news] linebacker Tedy Bruschi [news] was hospitalized yesterday after complaining of headaches just days after capping a Super Bowl-winning road trip with his first appearance at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

One source told the Herald Bruschi lost some vision in one eye, but the sight was returning. A team official said he was up ``walking and talking.''

The 31-year-old inside linebacker is being evaluated in the exclusive Phillips House at Massachusetts General Hospital where he was admitted after arriving at the hospital by ambulance.

``After complaining of headaches earlier today, Tedy Bruschi was admitted (to MGH),'' Patriots spokesman Stacey James said in a statement last night. ``He is in good condition and will be held for further evaluations.

``The Bruschi family appreciates everyone's concern, but requests that you respect their privacy at this time.''

Several sources said the player had been rushed to the Boston hospital by ambulance from his home in North Attleboro and may have suffered a stroke.

One source said Bruschi had suffered a stroke, but it appeared to be a minor stroke since he was being treated at the Phillips House rather than in a critical care unit.

CBS-4 reported Bruschi also suffered partial paralysis.

James would not confirm or deny that Bruschi had suffered a stroke. More tests are scheduled for today and a source at the hospital said he was under the care of a team doctor.

Team owner Robert Kraft, who declined comment while attending last night's Boston College-Rutgers basketball game, visited Bruschi at MGH, sources said.

Bruschi, who was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated just before the Pats won their third Super Bowl in four years, is a fan favorite and a key component of the Pats' defense. As the team took the field in Jacksonville, Fla., some New Englanders unfurled a banner reading, ``Bruschi Full Tilt Full Time.''

Cameras worldwide captured the 6-foot-1, 247-pounder playing with two of his young sons - 4-year-old Tedy Jr. and 2-year-old Rex - on the field before the kickoff. Bruschi's wife, Heidi, gave birth to a third boy, Dante, last month.

A nine-year NFL veteran, he made a key interception in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl as the Patriots downed Philadelphia, 24-21. He flew home for the victory parade in Boston before jetting off to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl, which was played last Sunday.

The University of Arizona product was a third-round pick in the 1996 NFL draft. Then a defensive end, he made the transition to inside linebacker. Along the way, he also gave up booze. He is now featured in a ``Got Milk?'' ad.

( Laura Raposa, Gayle Fee and Michael Felger contributed to this report. )

BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Bruschi scare -- Pats star hospitalized with headaches

He's the heart and soul of this team
By Kevin Mannix
Thursday, February 17, 2005



When you look at the world champion Patriots and you try to pick one player who embodies the spirit and talent that enabled them to win three Super Bowl championships in the four years, your attention goes automatically to the middle of the defense - to the whirlwind wearing No. 54.


Tom Brady is indispensable. Getting Corey Dillon was imperative to the offense. Safety Rodney Harrison is the muscle. But the spark, the heart of this team? That's Tedy Bruschi.


That's why his being hospitalized last night was so stunning and the possibility of his professional career being impaired is so frightening.


These are supposed to be the best of times for Patriots fans. That's no longer the case, not with Bruschi at Mass. General. This team won championships because it knows how to handle pressure and because it learned how to make big plays when games were on the line.


IT doesn't make mistakes, it forces them.It doesn't give the ball away. IT takes it away.


If you were to transfer those traits to a single player, you'd basically be cloning Bruschi, the sparkplug linebacker who has played in four Super Bowls in his nine years in the league.


Who made that fourth quarter interception against Donovan McNabb in the Super Bowl?


Who sacked Drew Bledsoe this season and forced that critical fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Richard Seymour in Buffalo?


Who slid into the end zone with the decisive interception/touchdown against Miami that set off the snow fireworks at Gillette Stadium in 2003?


Whose enthusiasm and joie de defense most reflects the spirit of the Patriots?


The answer to all is Bruschi, the undersized, over productive former defensive lineman/pass rush specialist who came to New England as a third round draft pick in 1996.


Other players made tackles. Bruschi has never been content with that. His stated goal has always been to force turnovers, make plays and make a difference.


``I don't want to just stop the guy with the ball,'' he said this year. ``I want to take the ball away from him. You win games by forcing the other team to give up the ball and that's what I'm always trying to do.''


Think back to that playoff victory against the Colts this year. Remember Edgerrin James trying to get to the outside with Bruschi slapping away at the ball, holding him up, trying to get the ball loose while Harrison lined the Colts back up for the big hit? That's the kind of play Bruschi has made.


As a role player, limited to passing situations, Bruschi had two sacks in the Pats Super Bowl loss to the Packers in his rookie season.


This is no silver spooner, whose place among the best players in the league was preordained. He didn't come out as a high draft pick. He was the 86th player taken in '96 and spent a few years moving from position to position as a ``situational'' player while the team tried to determine where he would help the most.


Defensive end. Defensive tackle. Outside linebacker. Bruschi lined up at all those positions. Finally, after learning what the world of being a linebacker was all about for a couple of seasons as a part-time player, Bruschi stepped in full time at inside linebacker.


Teammates fed off his enthusiasm. You could see them pick up their game when they saw what Bruschi was doing on the field.


And with Bruschi, that's what matters. His doing his job was never enough. He had to do his part to make sure that his teammates were doing theirs. He did a little extra so the rest of the defense did more of the same.


That's what makes him the consummate team captain.

 

MetroWestDailyNews.com - Sports Coverage: He's the heart and soul of this team

Heart And Soul Now Knows Real Love
By: Bob George/BosSports.net

02/17/05

This isn’t about next season.

This isn’t about a Boston Three Party. What if Roman Phifer or Ted Johnson retire. How will we get along without him. Is next year totally shot. What will the personality of the Patriot defense be like. How you and I were already making plans to be in Detroit in February, only now those plans just went up in smoke.

What is this about?

Heidi. Tedy Jr. Rex. Dante. And their husband and father.

Being together as a family.

Enjoying a nice quality of life.

Watching the kids grow up.

Watching the kids have kids.

Growing old together.

For all this, anything football matters nothing at all. No Super Bowl win is more important than any of the above. For all of the above to happen without any negative intervention of any kind, if the football career of Tedy Bruschi has come to an end, let it be so.

Bruschi was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital on Wednesday night, complaining of severe headaches, blurred vision and partial paralysis. An AP report late Thursday said that Bruschi suffered a mild stroke, but could be released from the hospital as early as Friday. According to a Globe report earlier Thursday, Bruschi was sitting up in bed and was free of any paralysis or blurry vision. He is being kept at MGH for further testing and observation.

Through all this, his family has kept vigil at the hospital, with a public request that they be given their due privacy. Meanwhile, his extended family, that being his fan base, sits by nervously, hanging on what few reports emanate from MGH, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

We won’t make you sick with the “Why Tedy?” stuff. While this sort of problem could have been caused by a football injury, it is just as likely that weak blood vessels throughout the body could be genetic. Nobody is constructed so perfectly that nothing whatsoever goes wrong in his or her lifetime. In Bruschi’s case, he has a blood vessel problem. If it was indeed congenital, what can anyone do about it? The last thing Bruschi would want is your pity.

What Bruschi does need is a total understanding of how his fan base feels at this moment, in hopes that whatever comes of this problem, he will feel at peace.

It is not known if Bruschi will have to retire, let alone be completely out of danger. One broken vessel might begat another. It may be caused by any sort of collision during a game, or it may just happen when he’s out at the park playing with his kids. There is too much unknown regarding this situation right now to speculate on the long-term prognosis for Bruschi at this point.

So, let’s create this hypothetical scenario. Bruschi is fine, recovers nicely, but due to this problem is forced to retire from football. What then?

If Bruschi never plays another down in the NFL again due to this condition, fine. Nobody out there in Patriot Nation would object. Do not go anywhere near a football field again if it will put your good health in jeopardy. Everyone out there will accept the fact that the Tedy Bruschi era in Foxborough has come to an end. And everyone will be perfectly okay with that.

And we don’t say that because we’ve been secretly wishing Bruschi would retire because, at age 31, his skills are declining. We all know that Bruschi could go several more years, just like Phifer. We say that because of what was stated at the top of the article. Faith and family first, football second.

Bruschi’s career will have come to an early end. But the adulation his fan base will continue to have for him will not die out. Instead, it will continue to grow and grow. Nobody who saw him play will ever forget his zeal for the game, how well he maximized his smallish (for the position) body and transformed himself into one of the best middle linebackers of his day. Further, nobody will ever forget how his zeal for the game permeated itself amongst his teammates and made them play at higher levels because they were on the same field as Tedy.

Just so that Bruschi fully understands the feelings of his fans, Bob Kraft will arrange something in the fall for him. It will be a retirement bash, so called. But Bruschi will hear the sentiments of the players and the fans. His teammates will say what they need to say, and they’ll probably have a hard time spitting it out. Then the fans will have their say. They’ll say it in posters, they’ll say it in jerseys, and they’ll say it in cheers.

And it will come out as the biggest “Thank you!” the world has ever known.

Or, even better: the biggest “We love you!”.

You have talented athletes in this region. But you have only a handful of beloved athletes. Bruschi belongs in the beloved category. Few athletes of any era have garnered as much adulation as Bruschi has. He earned this adulation through his approach to the game, what he has been able to accomplish, and his own adulation for his fans. You have athletes who put up big numbers, but Bruschi was able to do much more than that.

To put it in one sentence, he struck a nerve. Fans simply cannot help but love him.

Naturally, he could come back and resume his career, and all this retirement stuff is moot. This is just in case Bruschi has played his last down in the NFL. This is to make sure that everyone keeps his career, as well as his life, in proper perspective.

If this is indeed it for Bruschi, let the retirement begin. And let his family enjoy him forever.

That goes for his extended family as well.

 

New England Patriots Coverage - Heart And Soul Now Knows Real Love By: Bob George/BosSports.net

Bruschi recovering after suffering mild stroke

Jimmy Golen / Associated Press


BOSTON (AP) - New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffered a mild stroke but is walking, talking and in good spirits, the team said Thursday.


Bruschi experienced temporary numbness, blurred vision and headaches Wednesday night and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.

"It has been determined that these symptoms were the results of a mild stroke," team spokesman Stacey James said. "Tedy is in good condition and, as always, his spirits are high. He is walking and talking normally and stressed that he would like to thank everyone for keeping him and his family in their thoughts and prayers."

The Patriots said Bruschi could be released as early as Friday.

"The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and the Bruschi family is very appreciative," James said.

A nine-year NFL veteran, Bruschi is the centerpiece of the Patriots defense that helped the team win three of the past four Super Bowls, including a 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 6.

On Sunday, Bruschi played in his first Pro Bowl.

Bruschi, 31, was selected as the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week three times, including the first-round playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts. A second team Associated Press All-Pro selection, he ranked second on the team with 128 tackles and tied for second with three interceptions.

He had two fumble recoveries in the team's 20-3 playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts, and an interception in the Super Bowl.
 

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/3403934

Stroke sidelines Bruschi
Pats linebacker suffered broken blood vessel in head
By John Altavilla

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffered a mild stroke caused by a broken blood vessel in his head and remained hospitalized while doctors continue to monitor his condition.

Bruschi, 31, who returned from his first Pro Bowl last Sunday in Hawaii, was taken by ambulance to the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston Wednesday with a severe headache, partial paralysis and blurred vision in one eye. The partial paralysis and vision problems apparently have resolved themselves.

"Tedy is in good condition and, as always, his spirits are high," said a Patriots spokesman in a prepared statement.

"He is walking and talking normally and stressed that he would like to thank everyone for keeping him and his family in their prayers. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and the Bruschi family is very appreciative."

The Patriots also said Bruschi could be out of the hospital Friday afternoon. It was unclear if the stroke threatened his playing career.

Bruschi's wife, Heidi, became suspicious that something was wrong Wednesday and called 911.

"He's having blurred vision, numbness on the right side of his body," she was heard telling a dispatcher on a tape of the call.

Doctors are trying to determine if he had a cerebral hemorrhage or arterial dissection, which is a tear in the lining of an artery.

When such a tear develops in the carotid or vertebral arteries, the flow of blood between the layers of the torn vessels might cause the artery to close entirely, affecting blood flow to the certain areas of the brain.

According to a University of California at San Francisco Web site, arterial dissection is the leading cause of stroke in young people and some of the various causes include trauma to the head or neck. Dissections also occur spontaneously.

Bruschi, a nine-year veteran, made a crucial fourth-quarter interception of Donovan McNabb in the Patriots' 24-21 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX on Feb. 6 in Jacksonville.

He was a three-time AFC Defensive Player of the Week, including after the Patriots' 20-3 divisional playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts, in which he had two fumble recoveries. A second team Associated Press All-Pro selection, he ranked second on the team with 128 tackles and tied for second with three interceptions.

Bruschi is one of the most popular and affable players on the Patriots, a team leader and spokesman who endeared himself to millions of fans Super Sunday by being filmed walking the field with two of his three sons, Tedy Jr. and Rex.

He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated during the playoffs.

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/printedition/cs-0502180427feb18,1,4001190.story?coll=cs-sports-print&ctrack=2&cset=true

Worried fans focus on hero's recovery
By Jennifer Rosinski
Friday, February 18, 2005

Hours before a home game against the 49ers and the day before his third son's birth, Tedy Bruschi [news] stopped his car to greet die-hard supporters tailgating in Foxboro.


The charismatic 31-year-old wished the gathering of fans a happy New Year and asked Randy ``Zip'' Pierce of Nashua, N.H., about his guide dog. It was one month before the team went on to win its third Super Bowl.


``He was just so oddly down to earth,'' said Pierce, a season-ticket holder and 2001 Fan of the Year who started Bruschi's unofficial fan club: Bruschi Backers.


``The guy had a lot on his mind, but he took a moment that no one at that tailgate will ever forget. He's a top-notch classy guy. He just epitomizes class.''


In return for his good will, worried but hopeful fans are rallying for the recovery of their favorite Patriot. Bruschi was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital from his North Attleboro home Wednesday complaining of stroke-like symptoms. He will remain overnight after a day of tests.


``Everyone is praying for him and his family that he'll be OK,'' said Patriotworld.com host Karen Cardoza of Cumberland, R.I. ``As much as he's an icon for Patriot Nation, the most important thing is can he be healthy for his family. He needs to be there for his wife and kids.''


It wasn't until after she met Bruschi at a stadium blood drive more than a year ago that Beth Rayner-Zyskowski of Milford understood all the hoopla.


``He's one of those people that when he's talking to you he is completely focused on you. He's a person first,'' the teary-eyed Milford paralegal said.

( O'Ryan Johnson contributed to this report. )

http://patriots.bostonherald.com/patriots/view.bg?articleid=69258

Tedy hangs tough: Pats star on mend after mild stroke
By Michael Felger
Friday, February 18, 2005

Tedy Bruschi [news], the Patriots [stats, news]' heart and soul, is fighting back after suffering a mild stroke.


The popular linebacker, who complained of blurred vision and headaches, may be released from Massachusetts General Hospital as early as today.


``It has been determined that these symptoms were the results of a mild stroke,'' team spokesman Stacey James said last night. ``Tedy is in good condition and, as always, his spirits are high.''


Bruschi, 31, was said to show marked improvement from Wednesday, when he entered the hospital suffering blurred vision and a loss of feeling in his right side.


``He kind of snapped out of it (yesterday), but he was in rough shape on Wednesday,'' one source said.


Bruschi's football future remains in question. Sources say Bruschi, with the help of his doctors, will determine that over the coming weeks and months.


Bruschi was taking phone calls and e-mails from his hospital bed alongside his wife, Heidi. Bruschi also received visitors, including Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his wife, Myra, and at least one teammate, in the private suite tucked away in a corner of MGH's exclusive Phillips House.


``He is walking and talking normally and stressed that he would like to thank everyone for keeping him and his family in their thoughts and prayers. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming, and the Bruschi family is very appreciative,'' James said.


Although Bruschi is ready to check out of the hospital, a source said his eyesight has not returned 100 percent.


It's still not known what triggered the episode that led to Bruschi being rushed via ambulance to the hospital from his North Attleboro home Wednesday morning. Heidi Bruschi called 911 and reported her husband was experiencing ``blurred vision'' and ``numbness on his right side,'' according to a transcript of the call released yesterday.


Bruschi played in his first Pro Bowl in Hawaii on Sunday with no apparent problems. He also played all 19 games for the Patriots during the season (including three playoff games), recording 128 tackles and three interceptions.


Bruschi has long been a favorite among coaches, fans and teammates for his fiery play on the field and his emotional nature off of it. Last summer, Bruschi turned down a chance to go to free agency when he signed a four-year, $8 million extension with the Patriots.


Bruschi realized he could have earned more on the open market, but his first priority was remaining a Patriot.


``How much is enough?'' Bruschi said in reference to the money he earns as a pro athlete. ``I couldn't stand the thought of having all those fans who come to the games wearing my jersey seeing me in another uniform.''


( Laura Raposa and Steve Ryan contributed to this report. )

BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Tedy hangs tough -- Pats star on mend after mild stroke

Bruschi suffered stroke

Pats linebacker said to be upbeat, in good condition

08:49 AM EST on Friday, February 18, 2005

BY TOM E. CURRAN
Journal Sports Writer

New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffered a "mild stroke" Wednesday and remains in Mass. General hospital in good condition, the team reported last night.

Tedy Bruschi, who many see as the heart and soul of the Patriots, was rushed to the hospital suffering from partial paralysis and blurred vision Wednesday night.

The Patriots issued the statement after a day of speculation and reports that Bruschi had a broken blood vessel in his head and suffered from blurred vision and partial paralysis.

The Patriots also said in last night's statement that the 31-year-old linebacker is now walking and talking normally, and could be released from the hospital as early as this afternoon. The Patriots didn't say whether the stroke would affect Bruschi's career.

"As always, his spirits are high," team spokesman Stacey James said in the statement. "The outpouring of support has been overwhelming, and the Bruschi family is very appreciative."

Another Patriots source said yesterday they did not "get the sense" that Bruschi's ailment was either life or career-threatening.

Bruschi was transported by ambulance to the Phillips House at Mass. General on Wednesday night after experiencing severe headaches and numbness on his right side.

Bruschi, married with three young sons, including a newborn, returned Monday from Hawaii after participating in his first Pro Bowl. A week earlier, the Patriots won their second consecutive Super Bowl with Bruschi providing a key late-game interception.

A tape of the 911 call that Bruschi's wife Heidi made to North Attleboro police Wednesday was broadcast on Boston's WCVB-TV yesterday.

Speaking in a composed voice, she explained her husband had, "blurred vision and numbness on the right side of his body" and that he needed an ambulance to take him to Mass. General.

Because it was closer, the dispatcher on duty wanted Bruschi taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, but he was apparently overruled.

Given the monumental accomplishments of the Patriots over the last few months, culminated by their Super Bowl win 12 days ago, the news that one of their most recognizable, passionate and beloved players was stricken in any way remains hard to digest.

Bruschi's attitude on and off the field has become emblematic of the way the New England Patriots do business.

Bruschi has been with the Patriots since he was drafted in 1996. He has become one of the league's most respected inside linebackers after having never played the position before arriving in the NFL. He's one of a handful of players who's been with the team for its last four Super Bowl appearances, and since 2001 he's become more and more the face of the team.

During this year's playoffs, Bruschi's national profile has risen as he's anchored the Patriots' defense. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated last month, did a public service announcement from the Pro Bowl thanking fans for their help in the tsunami relief effort and is currently featured in a "Got Milk" ad. An accomplished saxophonist, Bruschi has previously performed with the Boston Pops.

During the offseason last year, Bruschi eschewed free agency and negotiated his own contract with the Patriots, reportedly walking into the office of Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli and stating simply, "I want to stay here and I want to be treated fairly."

Bruschi may have been able to get more money on the open market but, as he said last August, chasing every penny wasn't his motivation; team success was.

Pats' safety Rodney Harrison told Fox Sports New England: "Our thoughts and prayers are with him. I don't know what's going on with him. He's been an iron man, he's been tremendous and he's had a great impact on my career. He's just a great guy that affects so many people on and off the field."
 

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

Following stroke, Bruschi faced with questions about athletic future

By JAY LINDSAY, Associated Press Writer
February 18, 2005


BOSTON (AP) -- A stroke didn't keep Tedy Bruschi hospitalized for long. The question now is if it will keep him off the field for the New England Patriots.

The popular 31-year-old was released Friday from Massachusetts General Hospital after spending two days there recovering from a mild stroke that caused numbness, blurred vision and severe headaches.

He waved and smiled but didn't comment to reporters as he stepped into a waiting sports utility vehicle and drove off. Patriots spokesman Stacey James did not respond to questions about whether Bruschi would be able to play football again.

Experts say his return will depend on the stroke's cause and severity. A mild stroke isn't necessarily career-ending for a professional athlete, but the risk is higher for someone who takes the punishment of an NFL linebacker.

Doctors pointed to Bruschi's quick release from the hospital, along with reports that he was walking and talking normally a day after the stroke, as hopeful signs that he may be able to continue his career. Still, his prognosis remains uncertain because all strokes cause some level of brain damage and can raise fears of a recurrence.

``There really is no good stroke,'' said Dr. Larry Brass, a professor of neurology, epidemiology and public health at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Brian Mullen of the NHL's New York Islanders had an unsuccessful comeback attempt two years after suffering a mild stroke in 1993.

``I think the biggest thing you've got to overcome is your own mind,'' Mullen said. ``It definitely gets in your head. You ask yourself, 'Am I doing the right thing for my family?'''

Bruschi, a nine-year veteran, has been a key member of a defense that helped New England win three of the last four Super Bowls. Last Sunday, Bruschi played in his first Pro Bowl.

His wife, Heidi, called 911 on Wednesday, saying he was experiencing ``blurred vision, numbness on the right side of his body.''

An estimated 700,000 people per year in the United States have strokes, which occur when blood flow to the brain is interrupted.

The vast majority result from clots that block the brain's arteries. Another type involves bleeding in or around the brain, sometimes due to ruptured blood vessels.

The hospital and the Patriots have not said what kind of stroke Bruschi suffered.

Experts said it could be weeks before doctors pinpoint the stroke's cause, and Bruschi's professional future won't be any clearer until they do.

``Even if the effects of the stroke are mild, and we hope they are, the crucial thing is determining the cause,'' said Dr. Robert Adams, a spokesman for the American Stroke Association.

The damage from a stroke depends on several factors, including how long before it was treated, what part of the brain the stroke occurs in and the intensity of the rehabilitation.

Brass said Bruschi's apparently quick recovery could be a sign of a specific type of stroke in which the symptoms last less than 24 hours and leave no lasting damage. A traumatic injury to a part of the body can also damage blood vessels and lead to clotting, but that wouldn't be a big risk once the blood vessel healed.

Tests could also reveal a predisposition to blood vessel tears or other factors which would make a return to the field risky, Brass said.

Strokes among people as young as Bruschi are relatively rare, with about 30,000 to 40,000 occurring annually in people ages 18 to 50. A cause is difficult to pinpoint in many of those cases because the possibilities aren't as obvious as they are in older people, who often have cholesterol problems.

``It's like your car breaking down after 5,000 miles,'' Brass said. ``Something's wrong.''

Mullen underwent surgery to correct the heart problem that caused his stroke. He said when he first came back, his teammates shied away from hitting him until he insisted they take their whacks. Eventually, he said, he stopped fearing that his body couldn't take the punishment.

He looks back at his difficult decision to retire and wonders if he should have kept trying. But the stroke changed everything.

``As an athlete, up to that point, you feel invincible,'' Mullen said. ``Something like that happens, and it shakes up your whole life.''
 

Bruschi out of hospital
Patriots star heads home after two-day stay at MGH
By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff | February 19, 2005

At about 4:20 yesterday afternoon, Patriots Pro Bowl linebacker Tedy Bruschi walked out of Massachusetts General Hospital on his own, two days after suffering a mild stroke.

Accompanied by his wife, Heidi, the 31-year-old Bruschi, dressed in a gray sweat suit, smiled at reporters and said he felt fine. He then got into a gray SUV driven by his brother, Tony, and was whisked away with a police escort.

Prior to leaving the hospital, Bruschi received more visitors yesterday, including teammate Deion Branch.

Stacey James, the Patriots' executive director of media relations, said after talking

with Bruschi yesterday, "He feels great about being able to go home and spend time with his family." Bruschi has three children. James also said Bruschi was eager to acknowledge all the people who have wished him well.

Bruschi, who has played nine seasons in the NFL, all with the Patriots, isn't the first Boston athlete to suffer a stroke. On July 30, 1991, in the prime of his career, Red Sox relief pitcher Jeff Gray experienced slurred speech, blurred vision, and numbness in his pitching arm. Tests revealed Gray had suffered a stroke.

The righthander fought gallantly to return to the big leagues, making it as far as the minors, but finally announced his retirement in 1995. He became a pitching coach in the Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds organizations.

Ten years before, lefthander Tom Burgmeier, who pitched for the Sox from 1978-82, suffered a stroke in the offseason. Shortly after Gray's stroke, Burgmeier, recalling his own symptoms, said, "It happened just like that," snapping his fingers. "I was talking to my friend and all of a sudden he asked me, 'Have you been drinking?' My speech was slurred and I didn't even realize it, though I realized it afterward."

Burgmeier, who later became a pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals, also said in that interview, "When people say stroke, they automatically think you've been debilitated. I was in the hospital for about three days undergoing tests, and the next day I was out quail hunting. The only effect for me is that my wife told me I was dragging my right leg for a couple of days after it happened."

Burgmeier suffered his stroke in November 1981 and returned to the mound in February 1982. In fact, Burgmeier had one of his best seasons -- 7-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 40 appearances -- that year.

Gray's stroke was worse. To that point in the 1991 season, Gray had been the workhorse of the Red Sox bullpen, appearing in an American League-high 50 games as a setup man for Jeff Reardon. Gray had worked 61 2/3 innings and had held batters to a .181 average, recording a 2-3 record with a 2.34 ERA.

Another pro athlete who attempted a comeback from a stroke was New York Islanders forward Brian Mullen, who was stricken in 1993. He tried to return to the NHL two years later only to have a seizure, ending his comeback.

The most-celebrated case involved Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richard, who had a stroke caused by a blockage in 1980. He attempted a comeback, but also failed.
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Bruschi out of hospital


Bruschi leaves hospital; future up in air

Concerned about the consequences of Tedy Bruschi's mild stroke, his family does not make a statement on the Pro Bowl player's prognosis, likely because it is unknown.

01:00 AM EST on Saturday, February 19, 2005

BY TOM E. CURRAN
Journal Sports Writer

Tedy Bruschi was released from Massachusetts General Hospital yesterday afternoon, about 55 hours after having been admitted.

Accompanied by his wife Heidi, brother Tony and sister-in-law Linda, the 31-year-old Patriots linebacker left the hospital around 4:20 p.m., returning to his North Attleboro home and his three young sons.

Still wrestling with the reality and consequences of Bruschi's mild stroke, the family did not release a statement on the Pro Bowl player's prognosis. And that's likely because they don't yet know what it is.

"A stroke isn't a disease," said Dr. Larry Goldstein of Duke Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "It's dozens of conditions with dozens and dozens of different potential causes and myriad types of symptoms and consequences."

Goldstein is a neurologist and the director of the Duke Center for Cerebrovascular Disease. He's internationally recognized for his expertise in stroke prevention and treatment and is one of the country's foremost experts on strokes, having formerly chaired the advisory committee for the American Stroke Association.

There are two general types of strokes. Transient ischemic attack is one, and it's caused by an artery blockage that leads to a blood clot in the brain. The other is hemorrhagic stroke, which is characterized by bleeding in the brain.

Bruschi most likely suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. Those also come in two forms, Goldstein explained. One is a subarachnoid hemorrhage, in which a vessel "bursts like a balloon," causing blood to escape to the outside of the brain, creating pressure, and

"the worst headache of your life," said Goldstein.

The other kind of hemorrhagic stroke involves a collection of blood on the brain that causes some of the symptoms Bruschi experienced -- severe headache, blurred vision, numbness in the limbs.

Goldstein said victims of subarachnoid strokes are normally younger than other stroke sufferers, but added: "If he suffered a subarachnoid, chances are he would be walking and have no problems communicating. But he wouldn't be leaving the hospital (after two days). That he's being discharged probably means there wasn't a very serious neurological impairment. If there was, a patient wouldn't be leaving that soon."

The cause of the stroke, Goldstein said, is what will most greatly impact Bruschi's future, both in everyday life and as an NFL linebacker.

"There are so many different possibilities to think about," he said. "And there's no way to tell. If every stroke was caused by the same thing and all were the same, it would be easy.

"Most people get better, to some degree," he explained. "The degree to which you get better is, 'How bad were the symptoms to begin with?' People who can't talk and can't move an arm or leg won't recover nearly as well as people who could when they were admitted. People who are younger do better and recover better than people who are older. Potentially, he may have a complete and full recovery and no neurological problems, but again, what caused this?"

Given the number of collisions a football player has, it's possible Bruschi suffered a ruptured blood vessel in either the Super Bowl or the Pro Bowl. It is possible for a ruptured blood vessel to trickle for a time, clot, and then grow as it draws fluid from the brain until it causes severe pressure. It may never be known whether this was caused by a collision.

In recent years, performance-enhancing supplements such as ephedra -- which recently was banned by the FDA -- have been linked to strokes. In a casual conversation last season, Bruschi was asked whether he takes many supplements, and he said he uses only protein.

While it appears Bruschi has recovered somewhat from this event, stroke sufferers are more likely to suffer additional strokes in the year after the initial stroke. Clearly, his playing future is up in the air.

"In terms of his career, what kind of residual problems he may have and, of course, what caused this are the (biggest factors in deciding his future in the NFL)," said Goldstein.

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

Megliola: No rush to judge on Bruschi
By Lenny Megliola
Saturday, February 19, 2005

I'm thinking, and maybe you are too, that this is it for number 54.


We'll know more in the coming days and weeks about Tedy Bruschi's football future. At least he has a future. At least he has today. You know the line. We're all day-to-day anyway, aren't we? It's just that sometimes a strong reminder comes your way.


It's no fun getting dialed up by your mortality. And it's even more shocking when you're 31, the picture of health, wealthy, playing a game for a living, the father of three young ones. In other words, Bruschi, living the good life at its zenith.


And then -- WHAM! -- you get a headache like you never knew headaches could be like. You don't want to be a wimp about it, but the damn thing won't relent, like some running back you've just crushed. This was Wednesday at Bruschi's North Attleboro home, the Patriots' linebacker hoping the headache would just go away. But when his eyes went fuzzy and the right side of his body went numb, his wife, Heidi, hit the three numbers that got the ambulance to the doorstep.


The medical people say Bruschi suffered a mild stroke. What triggered this isn't known. That's the scary part. Could be just one of those quirky things, nothing to worry yourself sick about, or it could be symptomatic of something more serious. This is what the doctors will try to pin down by testing and observing Bruschi so he can get on with his life.


Bruschi was released from Massachusetts General Hospital yesterday. He sidetracked the media, heading instead for the SUV that would take him home. Patriots media relations chief Stacey James said Bruschi might have something to say next week.


Whether Bruschi can get on with his job, too early to tell. It's not like he's a CPA, a CEO or runs a YMCA. He's a linebacker in the NFL, which is hard enough of a way to make a living. You don't need episodes like this to make you suddenly wonder if it's time for a new line of work. Like I said, it's early. Let the doctors do their testing and come to conclusions and suggestions. We all hope Bruschi makes a complete recovery and can still put on his Sunday business suit and perform his hard-knocks job.


But right now, the last thing you want to picture is Bruschi sticking a Buffalo Bills runner or an Indianapolis Colts receiver with his usual gusto. Watching a stroke-recovering Bruschi go helmet-to-helmet with an opponent will make you wince; seeing him get up slowly will turn your stomach. Imagine what Heidi Bruschi would be thinking.


Bruschi's place in Patriots' history is secure: One of the most popular players, and one of the best. Three Super Bowl rings. What else does he have to prove? Sure, you can understand why he'd still want to play. Football is what he knows. The NFL provides a very good lifestyle.


But depending on the risk involved now, if indeed the doctors conclude there is risk, Bruschi has to look at the bigger picture here. If there's any chance -- any chance -- that his line of work in any way, shape or form can be traced to the stroke, or if continuing to play could exacerbate the situation, woudn't he just retire?


Remember the cameras catching Bruschi frolicking on the Attel Stadium turf before the Super Bowl, the father backpedaling, a mile-wide smile on his face, his two sons, Tedy Jr. and Rex, giving chase? The kids finally catch him and they all tumble to the ground. There is no happier person on the planet at that moment. In a few hours Bruschi would play in another Super Bowl, but this is who he really is. The father. And there's another son, born last month.


Athletes like to retire by their own measure of time, which is a lot different than other people. Thirty-one is young. But 31-year-old stroke victims who play linebacker in the NFL have to think differently.


We would all like to see number 54 play a few more years. Better yet, we'd just like to see number 54 for years and years, healthy, happy, playing ball.


With his kids.


MetroWest Daily News - Sports Columnists

MetroWestDailyNews.com - Sports Columnists: Megliola: No rush to judge on Bruschi

Bruschi's back home: Patriots star's release is `a very good sign'
By Michael Felger
Saturday, February 19, 2005



Tedy Bruschi hit the road yesterday.


Everyone hopes it's the road to recovery.


The popular Patriots [stats, news] linebacker was released from Massachusetts General Hospital two days after suffering a mild stroke at his North Attleboro home.


Bruschi, wearing a loose-fitting sweat suit, walked gingerly out of the hospital on the arm of his wife, Heidi, at around 4:20 p.m. Bruschi did not stop to talk to reporters, instead waving and smiling before ducking into the back seat of an SUV driven by his brother, Tony.



Once seated, Tedy and Heidi Bruschi embraced.



``He's glad to be going home and glad to be spending time with his family,'' said team spokesman Stacey James, who said Bruschi hopes to speak to the fans through the media next week. ``He feels great. He's going home.''


Medical experts said the fact Bruschi was walking out of the hospital roughly 48 hours after being admitted with blurred vision and partial paralysis was a very positive sign.


However, one source with knowledge of Bruschi's condition said the player's peripheral vision still hasn't returned to 100 percent and he is due for more testing. Bruschi's speech is not impaired.


Doctors said Bruschi's return to football will depend on a host of factors, including the exact cause of the stroke and the nature of any resulting brain damage.


``His leaving after two days is a very good sign,'' said Dr. Judith Hinchey, a noted neurologist at Caritas St. Elizabeth Medical Center. ``But whether someone can go back to playing depends on where the damage occurred in the brain. I know of many athletes who've gone back.''


Hinchey also said a stroke could be caused by a blow to the head, and such an injury would make a person more susceptible to another stroke. ``You are at significantly more risk if you've had one in the past,'' she said.


Several notable athletes have had their careers ended by strokes, including Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richard in 1980 and NHL hockey player Brian Mullen in 1993. Red Sox relief pitcher Jeff Gray never returned to play after collapsing from a stroke in the Sox clubhouse prior to a game in 1991.


Former Sox team doctor Bill Morgan said Gray's stroke was far more severe than Bruschi's appears to be. Gray was in the hospital for weeks and was slow regaining motor functions. Morgan was encouraged by Bruschi's release. ``In my opinion, that's a great sign,'' said Morgan. ``The fact that he's walking out the door two days (later) tells me matters have stabilized.''


A bigger question may be whether Bruschi wants to push a return. He has three young sons, and he's earned more than $11 million from the Pats since entering the league in 1996. Last summer, he signed a four-year contract worth $8.1 million with a $3.5 million signing bonus.


``I don't live glamorously,'' said Bruschi at the time.
BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Bruschi's back home: Patriots star's release is `a very good sign'

Patriots Notebook: Bruschi still has a lot to give
By IAN M. CLARK
Union Leader Sports

New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is home now after leaving the hospital yesterday. The early indications are positive for Bruschi, who suffered a mild stroke on Wednesday. His football future is in doubt, but his football past has already been cemented in Patriots lore.

The heart and soul of a team that has won three Super Bowls in four years, Bruschi’s blue collar work ethic and on-field intensity have made him a fan favorite and a leader in the locker room.

Bruschi’s stroke was a mild one and his ability to walk and talk normally immediately following the stroke are good signs, but his future as a player is still very much in doubt and will take time to sort out the long-term effects.

But even if it is the end of Bruschi’s playing career, don’t expect him to disappear from the spotlight. While his retirement would be unfortunate and untimely, Bruschi is in a position to contribute in many other ways.

First, there is the coaching angle. With the loss of Romeo Crennel and Jeff Davidson to Cleveland there will be a trickle-down effect for coaching slots. Eric Mangini has been promoted to defensive coordinator from his spot as defensive backs coach.

While coaching the DBs may not be in Bruschi’s future, the potential for other spots to open up is there. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is loyal to his players, and has spoken in glowing terms about Bruschi for years.

Another of Belichick’s former players, Pepper Johnson, is the Patriots defensive line coach. Johnson is considered a hot property who might be stolen away from the Patriots somewhere down the road.

Bruschi has been described by Belichick in the simplest yet most flattering way. Tedy Bruschi is simply a football player. His instincts and smarts make him a good player, his leadership and intelligence would make him a good coach. Another possibility would be for Bruschi to take a scouting job with the team.

Bruschi could also land in a television studio. He is well-spoken and has the athletic-type good looks to make a solid analyst (if Patriots tight end Christian Fauria doesn’t beat him to it).

Bruschi is married with children and could also just say “hey, it’s been a good ride” and walk off into the sunset. He’s not the type to dwell on things and he certainly would not want to be pitied if he had to hang it up early.

But these are all the what-ifs if indeed Bruschi’s long-term effects prevent him from suiting up again. Other athletes have tried to come back from strokes, but none at a demanding physical position like NFL linebacker. That said, if anybody can do it, it would be the tough-as-nails Bruschi.

Over his nine years in the league, Bruschi has continued to defy the odds. A monster of a defensive lineman in college (where he held the NCAA record for sacks), Bruschi was considered too small to play D-line in the NFL.

Belichick (then assistant to Bill Parcells with the Pats) liked what he saw and took a chance. The Patriots selected Bruschi in the third round of the 1996 draft. He made the team as a special teams stud, seeing only spot duty until he became a starter in 1999 under Pete Carroll.

From there, Bruschi’s career took off. He recorded a career-high 138 tackles in 1999 and has topped 100 tackles three other times (only failing to do so in 2001 and 2002 when he missed time with injuries).

Aside from his steady play, Bruschi has also been a big-play, impact player as well. Five of his 11 interceptions have been returned for touchdowns. He is a defensive captain and played in his first Pro Bowl just one week ago.

But Bruschi is so much more. While players like quarterback Tom Brady and kicker Adam Vinatieri are the marquee names, Bruschi and players like safety Rodney Harrison are the true heart of the team.

Bruschi’s dedication to the Patriots and their fans was demonstrated a few years ago when he renegotiated his own contract. Bruschi opted to remain in Foxboro for what many people thought was less than his true market value.

But Bruschi’s reasoning was part of what makes him so beloved in New England. He said he couldn’t bear to come back to Gillette Stadium as an opponent and see fans wearing his familiar number 54. It was something he hated to see as a fan growing up and it was something he vowed never to let happen.

Bruschi’s loss would be felt not only in stats, but in so many intangible areas. Amid a veteran linebacking crew, Bruschi is the go-to guy. He calls the plays on defense. He is smart. He is athletic. He is always around the ball. In short, Tedy Bruschi is the mold that Belichick wants all of his players to fit.

So if indeed Bruschi’s last snap came in Super Bowl XXXIX, don’t mourn what might have been. Instead, relish the plays that made him an icon of Patriots football. If his playing days are done, Bruschi is a man with plenty still to contribute in whatever way he wants.

And if the lasting results of the stroke are as mild as hoped and Bruschi is able to continue on as a player, remember to enjoy him while we’re lucky enough to have him around.

Ian M. Clark covers the New England Patriots for The Union Leader and Sunday News. His e-mail address is iclark@theunionleader.com.


The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News - 30-Mar-06 - Patriots Notebook: Bruschi still has a lot to give

Corky: Bruschi puts scare into us all

CORKY SIMPSON
Tucson Citizen

Tedy Bruschi was in big trouble. His crime: sitting in an empty football stadium late at night, drinking a beer and bothering no one after losing to UCLA 37-17.

Imagine that. A 20-year-old drinking beer. Horrors!

As an offense against humanity, it was right there with fishing from a log or stepping on a crack in a sidewalk.

As for climbing the fence at Arizona Stadium late that night in 1993 - big deal. Where else would a Tedy Bruschi go to have a brewski?

But the University of Arizona linebacker with the irrepressible smile turned his life around. He was never again caught drinking beer in an empty football stadium.

Oh, and the next time he faced UCLA, the Wildcats thumped the Bruins 34-24.

The other image burned into memory is from an Arizona road trip. Here's a smiling Tedy in the fourth quarter, lifting a fallen quarterback - dressed in AstroTurf - to his feet after smashing into him for a 10-yard loss.

Cherished fragments from the past are not as sharp as Tedy, the on-field leader of the three-time NFL champion New England Patriots. Toughest guy out there. Throwing his body all over the place. Refusing to lose.

And best of all, that wonderful footage of Tedy and his little boys on the field just before the Super Bowl kickoff, romping and rasslin' each other to the ground. That's the real Bruschi.

His hospitalization this week with symptoms of a mild stroke scared us all. He is one of the nicest, most popular athletes in UA history.

Bruschi was released from a Boston hospital yesterday. Experts say his return to the field will depend on the stroke's cause and severity.

A mild stroke isn't necessarily career ending for a professional athlete, but the risk is higher for someone who takes the punishment of an NFL linebacker.

As to Bruschi's future, ex-UA football coach Dick Tomey said, "He's smart and he has a great grasp on who he is. He'll do the right thing, I'm positive of that."

Tomey, now the coach at San Jose State, has special feelings for his former player.

"A lot of people you coach with and work with, you respect," he said. "But I admire Tedy, and I think that's the best way to describe my feelings about him."

Marc Lunsford, a former Arizona assistant, recruited Bruschi out of Roseville, Calif.

"Tedy has always had a special desire to be good, to do things right," Lunsford said. "Coach Tomey told us to look for people with a burning desire to be successful. "That's Tedy."

When Bruschi was inducted into the Arizona Hall of Fame in 2000, Lunsford was there.

"Here you are at age 31," Lunsford said. "You just won your third Super Bowl, played in your first Pro Bowl ... then, to have this happen. Life takes strange turns."

It sure does. We all pray that Tedy returns to complete health.
http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/index.php?page=pro&story_id=021905c1_corky_column

North Attleboro neighbors huddle over ailing athlete
By Kevin Rothstein
Saturday, February 19, 2005



Legions of New Englanders are wishing Tedy Bruschi a speedy recovery, but the fans of North Attleboro who know the Patriots player as a neighbor and fellow parent have a special place in their hearts for the ailing gridiron great.


``He's a terrific guy on and off the field,'' said Fred Lopez, whose son goes to the same preschool as Bruschi's older son. ``I know everybody wishes him well.''


All Lopez needs to know about Bruschi is what he sees when he watches Bruschi pick up his son at preschool.


``You can tell when he greets his son coming out of the door,'' said Lopez. ``With a hug and kiss.''


A Gillette Stadium employee shooed the media away from Bruschi's street, but neighbor Teresa Devlin said the cul-de-sac neighborhood was a place where everyone looked out for one another.


``He lives in a great neighborhood,'' she said, recalling how the residents banded together to help another neighbor who was seriously ill.


Devlin dropped a note at the house two days ago to let Bruschi's wife know that she would help if needed. There's no shortage of well-wishers, but she was worried that Bruschi's out-of-state family might not be able to give the help they need like cooking meals and shopping for groceries.


Martin Elementary School is almost within sight of Bruschi's house so the staff placed a sign in front proclaiming ``Get Well Tedy Bruschi'' and ``We Love You #54.'' And inside the school, Jackie Healey's fifth-grade class made get-well cards for him.


``We made cards for Tedy Bruschi to tell him to get well and we hope he gets well, '' said student Kayla Lopez, who wrote on her own card that she ``hopes to see you on the field next year.''


Having Bruschi as well as Adam Vinatieri and other players live in town has been a boon for the young fans who love how easy-going the pro players are, said school principal Mike Luce.


``The (kids) all feel like they have celebrity status, but from what they've all said they're down-to-earth guys,'' Luce said.


Seven-year-old Ryan Ma, wearing a Patriots Super Bowl T-shirt, already feels an affinity for the Pats because his neighbor is Vinatieri. He once went to a birthday party with Bruschi's son. ``I'd tell him I'd feel bad he's in the hospital and I hope he feels better,'' Ma said.
 

Bruschi faces toughest challenge
By Kevin Mannix/ NFL Notes
Sunday, February 20, 2005

Even though we're all rooting for Tedy Bruschi [news] to play for the Patriots [stats, news] again, that seems to be a very, very long shot today.


Hearing that the Pro Bowl linebacker was going to be released from Massachusetts General Hospital after only a couple of days created a sense of optimism that he can come back and play again despite the ``mild stroke'' that sent him to the hospital last week.


Seeing him make his way out of the hospital on Friday afternoon voided that optimism. You can't feel confident about his being able to play again after seeing him make his way to his SUV. He wasn't in a wheelchair or pushing a walker or leaning on a cane. But Bruschi was definitely walking cautiously, requiring the helping hand of his wife Heidi as he made his way out of the hospital and off the sidewalk before beginning the trip home.


Maybe that will pass. Maybe therapy and medication combined with time and Bruschi's always indomitable spirit will allow him to suit up for the Patriots when they open camp this summer. Maybe by then he'll be moving like a linebacker again, getting ready for a 10th season and the chase of a fourth Super Bowl championship.


But the combination of hearing about him suffering a stroke, minor or otherwise, and the sight of him making his way out of the hospital make it difficult to envision seeing No. 54 back on the field again.


The ever-present smile was still in place as he waved to fans outside Mass. General, but the lasting memory was him making his way to the car.


That's the memory we have of Bruschi. Not of his interceptions or tackles or his celebration slides through the snow after a key play. Not of him forcing fumbles at key times in important games. It even supercedes the vision of him playing with two of his sons on the field at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville hours before the Pats won the Super Bowl just three weeks ago.


Bruschi was on camera for only a couple of seconds on Friday night, but that was time enough for any optimism to fade.


Bruschi has always gotten full value out of his talents. He refused to accept the consensus opinion that he was too small to make an impact in the NFL when he came out of Arizona. He refused to accept that he was too inexperienced to play linebacker in the pros. When those around him doubted, Bruschi persevered and succeeded.


Now he faces his most difficult challenge. This isn't a knee ligament or a separated shoulder or a sore back. This involves his head, and all head injuries/episodes are serious, particularly for a football player. A ``mild'' stroke is still a stroke. It's a brain injury. Nobody can guarantee there won't be a second episode, particularly for somebody who's been involved in so many head-on collisions.


People have returned to work following stokes before. But none of them were professional football players.


And as much as the Patriots need Bruschi, his family needs him more.
BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Bruschi faces toughest challenge

FARINELLA: Bruschi episode a reality slap

Amazing, isn't it, how quickly the real world can intrude upon our enjoyment of the fantasy realm of sports.

Just a couple of weeks ago, this region was basking in the glory of the New England Patriots' third Super Bowl championship in four years. Coming on the heels of the first World Series championship for the Boston Red Sox in 86 years, it thrust these six states into a state of euphoria that wasn't likely to dissipate any time soon.
Then, Wednesday evening, reality intruded in the rudest manner imaginable.

Most of you were probably watching the evening news when the stunning report of Tedy Bruschi's hospitalization was first aired. Others among us were busy doing our jobs, and didn't hear the report until later.

One way or another, you'd have to be a pretty cold-hearted individual not to have felt a chill running up and down your spine as the reports of the severity of Bruschi's illness steady escalated from `` headaches'' to `` stroke-like symptoms'' to the eventual confirmation that indeed, the 31-year-old inside linebacker and spiritual leader of the Patriots' defense had suffered what doctors called a `` mild'' stroke.

Stroke. The word itself reeks of finality.

It speaks to a deep dread that exists within all of us of a sudden, unanticipated and inescapable attack upon that which makes us human -- our cognitive powers, our ability to speak, to talk, to walk, to interact with others.

For those of us who have seen the horrible damage that a severe stroke can do, those worst fears have already been realized. There was no sight more numbing, more heartbreaking, than that of my father -- one of the most vital and energetic individuals I will ever know -- laying motionless in a hospital bed, robbed of the powers of speech and mobility by the last of the strokes that would claim his life in less than a month's time.

But my father was 82 years old -- not 31 and in peak physical condition. There was a sense of order about my father's illness, heartbreaking as it was, because he had lived a long time and had accomplished all he could in life.

After having watched Tedy Bruschi run up and down football fields for the better part of the past nine years, I'm willing to bet that there isn't one among us who would suggest that he has achieved as much as he's ever going to achieve.

But now, his life has changed.

And in the months to come, he and his wife, Heidi, are going to have to determine just how profound that change will be -- if, indeed, they are fortunate enough to be able to make that decision and not have it made for them by forces they can't control.

If this sounds alarmist, I don't mean it to be. But this is very serious stuff. What happened Wednesday is just the tip of this particular iceberg, and no one knows what the future holds.

I'm supposed to be an impartial journalist, I know. But I'd be lying if I said I haven't enjoyed watching the progression of Tedy Bruschi from a 'tweener -- a collegiate defensive end who was first slotted as a pass-rushing specialist with the Patriots when he was drafted in the third round in 1996 -- to a Pro Bowl inside linebacker and symbol of all that's good and honorable about your World Champion New England Patriots.

From a professional standpoint, I enjoy watching players who overachieve and turn that overachievement into the norm. I enjoy watching players who have no fear, and are able to back up what they say with what they've already done on the field. I enjoy watching leaders.

And I'd also be lying if I didn't admit that Bruschi's cooperative nature with members of the media hasn't molded my opinion of him somewhat.

As Bill Parcells said a long time ago, `` he gets it.'' Bruschi has always understood that a cordial and cooperative approach to the media is a benefit to all parties concerned. He's had his good days and bad days, like any human being, but because of the mutual respect that has developed among Bruschi and members of the Patriots' press corps, reporters know when he needs some space and they respect the boundaries.

And from a personal standpoint, I like the guy. I like the values that he and his family bring to the team. I like the fact that he had the intelligence and courage to recognize early in his career that he had to grow up and become a man if he was going to become a role model on the field and at home.

Impartiality be damned. Of course I'd like to see No. 54 running onto the field before ABC's cameras on Thursday, Sept. 7, at Gillette Stadium!

But there's a lot more to it than what I'd like, or what you'd like ... or even what Tedy Bruschi might like.

He's fortunate that he's young and in excellent shape. Younger stroke victims have better chances to resume their lives. A member of our newspaper's staff, reporter Jamie Merolla, had a stroke a few years ago and is still going strong.

That's not to minimize the severity of even the mildest stroke, however.

`` There really is no good stroke,'' said Dr. Larry Brass, a professor of neurology, epidemiology and public health at the Yale University School of Medicine, in an interview with the Associated Press. What's more, most stroke victims aren't NFL linebackers. They don't have to deal with the pounding, the controlled violence and the constant pressure of high-intensity competition -- and do it with a body that has already betrayed them in a manner they never could have imagined.

I would never, ever presume to counsel Tedy Bruschi in matters of such importance. All I can try to do is imagine what I might be thinking if I was in his position.

On one hand, there are the rings -- two already his, another to be presented this summer, symbols of a career that has finally reached the heights for which he hoped when he entered the NFL, `` not knowing anything,'' as he said. In a perfect world, this would be the prime of his career with a team that's on top of the world.

On the other hand is his family -- a loving wife and three beautiful children, including a newborn. If you saw the video of Tedy frolicking on the Alltel Stadium turf with sons Tedy Jr. and Rex in the hours before Super Bowl XXXIX, you know that what that means to him.

Right now, no one knows what risks he faces -- not just in football, but in everyday life. It was encouraging to see Bruschi able to walk out of Massachusetts General on Friday, smiling and waving and apparently unimpaired, but his journey has just begun.

Wherever it leads -- and that will be for him, his family and his doctors to decide -- New Englanders will be there for him. He's earned that much from us.
The Sun Chronicle Newspaper

 

Images of Tedy Bruschi
By: Kevin Rousseau

Crystal clear images are what come to mind when I think of number 54.



Images like hugging that first Lombardi trophy or sliding into the end zone for a touchdown against the Dolphins last year to set off those now-patented snow fireworks. Or how about when he held out the ball to the Colts bench during the fourth quarter of this year’s divisional playoff game as if he to ask the Colts just how hot they thought they were now?



But perhaps the reason that a lot of people in these parts have a pit in their stomach isn’t so much those images but more the ones of Tedy Bruschi, the man off the field. The Tedy Bruschi I am concerned about this morning is the one who took a “below market” contract last offseason because he couldn’t bear the thought of coming to Foxboro as an opposing player and seeing that “Full Tilt, Full Time” sign down in the corner of the stadium or having fans wear his old #54 Patriot jersey as a tribute to the ex-Patriot.



A lot of fans probably can’t get the image of Bruschi playing with his two sons on the field just hours before the recent Super Bowl out of their minds. Or about the anecdotal stories that they may hear about how great he is to the kids who live in his neighborhood. The list goes on and I’m sure that you probably have one you could add.



But the image that I just can’t get out of mind is of a recent picture that was taken after the team arrived home with its recent Super Bowl crown. It was such a powerful picture that I had it up on my computer for a week. It symbolizes, to me, who I want my son’s heroes to be and why I am proud to say that I am a follower of this group of men called the New England Patriots.



In the picture, a smiling Tedy Bruschi (when isn’t he smiling?) is sharing the Vince Lombardi trophy with a thrilled, Downs Syndrome-afflicted child in a wheelchair who, in turn, is amazed to see his reflection looking back at him from the trophy.



No Ron Artest or Barry Bonds here, folks. Nope. What this picture symbolized was that beyond being the greatest gang of football players that I have ever had the pleasure of watching, Mr. Bruschi and his comrades are, above all else, good and decent role models for our kids. You’ll never have to apologize for buying your son or daughter a Bruschi or Brady jersey as you would if you plunked down your dollars for one from Kobe or Bonds. Bruschi wasn’t the biggest guy or the most talented guy out there but he sure did work tirelessly at it and was willing to sacrifice anything and everything for the good of the entire team.



Next year’s Patriot team was going to look different for a number of reasons; the biggest of which, of course, was the departure of Coordinators Weis and Crennell. Now the team may be faced with not having its unquestioned leader on the defense back roaming the middle of the field. How can this be? It isn’t supposed to happen like this.



With this in mind, let’s state here what everybody is dancing around. The chances of Tedy Bruschi playing another football game maybe slim. From what I can gather, Tedy Bruschi may be susceptible to a recurrence and playing football at such a high level could be a tall order for Bruschi. This reality has certainly sobered me up and taken me off my post-Super Bowl high.



Of course, we’ve known this awful feeling before. The images of Tony C and Reggie Lewis still haunt us to this day. And then there are those who are still with us, like Norman Leveille and Darryl Stingley, both of whom had their glorious potential tragically cut short. While not knowing what the coming days and months will bring him, we can only hope and pray at this point that Bruschi is not forced to join this team of fallen Boston sports heroes.



Despite the grim forecast, the good news is that we have not lost Tedy Bruschi, the person, even if we may have indeed lost Tedy Bruschi, the football player. If I had to pick between the two, it wouldn’t have to be a hard choice. And I suspect it wouldn’t be hard for most of Patriots Nation either.



Especially for members of the Nation like that little guy who braved the cold night a few weeks ago and now has the thrill of a lifetime that he will never forget thanks to old number 54.
New England Patriots Coverage - Images of Tedy Bruschi By: Kevin Rousseau

New England rooting for Tedy Bruschi


Tedy Bruschi is a special human being. The gifts the New England Patriot linebacker brings to a football game are the gifts that he also brings to daily life: a boundless enthusiasm, generosity and sense of loyalty along with a deeply competitive nature. Fans long have loved him and Bruschi has reciprocated, stamping the Patriots' championship defense with his style of reckless abandon and sealing his reputation with countless good deeds.
Bruschi is the player waiting the longest after practice to sign autographs, the player most likely to spot the handicapped youngster at the back of the pack and make sure he went away with "Tedy Bruschi" inked on his program or jersey, the player most likely to throw himself into a worthwhile community campaign. Bruschi cares, and it shows.
One of the film highlights of the recent Super Bowl triumph over Philadelphia was captured a few hours before the game. It featured a joyous Bruschi, in uniform, tumbling on the field with his two young sons as if he were romping with his toddlers in a neighborhood park. It was Tedy Bruschi in character.
For years now, fans have had their own way of greeting Tedy, with a special chant, playing on the raucous sound of his name.
Some of his peers criticized Bruschi for negotiating his own contract instead of retaining a high-powered agent; they said he was leaving money on the table. But Bruschi isn't about money; he's about who he is and what his values are and they include being part of New England for years to come.
So it came as no surprise that when Bruschi suffered a stroke the other day, millions of New Englanders looked to his medical bulletins as though he were a member of the family. In a real sense, he is.
Pitcher Curt Schilling was in tune with the region's concern when he showed up at Red Sox training camp wearing a Bruschi jersey with the familiar number 54.
Some day that number will be retired; it will have to be because there will never be another Tedy Bruschi walking in the door down at Foxboro.
A stroke, even a minor one, is a serious matter. It may be weeks or months before the effect on the brain and the nervous system can be measured. Meanwhile, we can only keep pulling for Bruschi and his full recovery.
New England rooting for Tedy Bruschi: 2/ 21/ 2005

Kraft: Bruschi's family comes first

Canadian Press

2/23/2005

JERUSALEM (AP) - Ailing New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi's first responsibility is to his family, team owner Robert Kraft said, refusing to speculate about whether the stroke the linebacker suffered last week would end his career.

Kraft, in Jerusalem on Wednesday to attend the reopening of a stadium he funded for an Israeli flag football league, focused on the ailing Bruschi during a tour of the Old City. Last week, the linebacker asked the team's owner to pray for him.

Following up, Kraft said he tucked a piece of paper in the Western Wall, a common practice at Judaism's holiest site. Moments later a man approached Kraft and asked him if the paper prayer was for Bruschi.

"The nice thing is that people in Israel are following football in America," Kraft said.

Kraft, whose team has won three of the last four Super Bowls, stood beside the Vince Lombardi trophy with the Old City behind him.

"This is the first time in the history of American football that the trophy has ever been outside of America," Kraft said.

Kraft drew a parallel between his very American sport and the way Israel is run.

"You get three out of four Super Bowls by subjugating the ego for the good of the whole," he said. "In Israel, this is in the fabric of the country, to create a democracy that thrives against the odds."

Kraft's initial $120,000 US donation in 1999 helped pay for the Kraft Family Stadium, a former soccer field that was converted into the home of the American Football League in Israel (AFI).

This winter, he donated another $500,000 to pay for artificial turf and other improvements to the stadium.

More than 1,000 men and women participate in AFI's youth and adult flag football programs, founded by American expatriates living in Israel.

Bruschi's stroke shows serious side of sports
By Bill Gouveia/ An Inside Look
Friday, February 25, 2005


I am a sports fan of the highest order. My moods, my outlook on life, my total attitude tends to swing back and forth with the fortunes of the local professional franchises. Remember, "fan" is derived from "fanatic".


Like so many fans, I love to debate the decisions of team managers and coaches, their playing strategy, and their use of personnel. I enjoy evaluating talent, discussing possible trades, talking about who should be signed to long-term contracts and who should be cast aside on the dreaded waiver wire.


Sports are an escape from the real world, yet at the same time they ARE the real world. Sports entertain us, engage us, enrage us, and divert us from the problems of everyday life. When I am worrying about who the Red Sox fifth starter will be, I am not worrying about some problem at work or at home.


But every once in a while, a situation occurs in the world of sports that strikes home, that makes us realize what a serious business providing us with entertainment and release really is. Such a story is the tale of New England Patriot linebacker Tedy Bruschi.


Bruschi has spent nine years with the Patriots, gone to four Super Bowls and won three world championships. At age 31, he has had a career more successful than the vast majority of NFL players that have gone before him.


After winning the title again this year and playing in his first Pro Bowl (the NFL equivalent of an all-star game for you non-fans) Bruschi was on top of the world. Professionally, his star has never been brighter. After nine years of toiling in virtual anonymity, he is finally being recognized as one of the best in the game.


A fan favorite, Bruschi is one of those rare athletes to whom money is not everything. He loves New England, and recently signed a four-year contract for $2 million per year, far less than he could have gotten on the free agent market. He wanted to be here, he loves the fans, and we love him.


Then suddenly his life changed last week. Bruschi suffered an apparent stroke, was hospitalized in Boston, and came home two days later. While his football future may be in doubt, it appears his long-term health should be okay.


And somewhat surprisingly, I discovered that was all I cared about. Although I love Tedy Bruschi the football player, the hustling athlete who always gives 110 percent on the field, I found out I don't care if he ever plays again. I just want him to be okay, and his family to have him around for a long time.


Athletes tend to come and go in professional sports. Their athletic life is relatively short, and we learn not to cling too long or too hard to our favorites. As much as we like them, it is their athletic performance that draws our attention. With few exceptions, when that fades - so does our love and attention.


But for me, Tedy is different. Or maybe now I'm different.


Now that I am older, and have raised kids of my own and experienced all that goes with that, I have a different perspective. Years ago I might be worried about the impact losing Tedy might have on the Patriot defense. Now, I find my only worry is that Tedy be around for a long time with his wife and kids.


Don't get me wrong - I hope he can come back and play. That would be great, but it suddenly doesn't seem all that important. What is important is that Tedy is a good guy with a family, and I suddenly care more about him being around for graduations and family weddings than football games and championship parades.


Tedy Bruschi has given us New England fans a tremendous amount of pleasure over the years, and God willing he will continue to do so. But if he can never play again, he needs to know that we real fans care more about him and his family than we do about the game at which he is so damned good.
BostonHerald.com -

An open letter to Tedy Bruschi

February 26, 2005
By: Chris Warner

Dear Mr. Bruschi,

Even though you and I have never met, I (along with millions of others) have watched you morph from a college pass-rushing defensive lineman to one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL - for our money, the best, no question. From special teamer to starter, we’ve seen you play in four Super Bowls with that ever-present, intense gleam, that mix of joy, tenacity, and respect for the game that few players display so openly.

I’m taking the liberty of speaking on behalf of New England fans and telling you that now, frankly, we’re worried. We wonder how a guy in the prime of his athletic career can possibly suffer a stroke. Such thoughts lead to more selfish ones as to whether or not we get to watch you play next season.

That’s what I’d like to talk to you about.

Nothing would warm our hearts more than if you came back this summer as strong as ever, making the offense work, cheering on your defense, guiding any new guys. In the same way Tom Brady has been the offensive leader during this astounding Patriots run (and believe me, Tedy, for longtime fans, “astounding” is downplaying it), you have been the head of the defense. We give credit to Rodney Harrison for the past two years, and Ty Law for the years before this. Mike Vrabel and Willie McGinest have been huge come playoff time. But when we think Pats defense, you are the guy. You’re the keystone to this castle. With Law and Romeo Crennel gone, your leadership will be needed more than ever.

Your fearless leadership on the field and your class off of it have made you a New England icon on a team that isn’t supposed to have any. Helping bring three Lombardi trophies to a team that had none will do that. The fact that you took a pay cut in the process doesn’t hurt your status around the Northeast, either.

For this reason, and for four other reasons I’ll come back to, I’m going to put my selfishness aside and ask you to do one thing: if your doctor advises against playing any more, please follow his advice.

I’m not sure how much you know about Reggie Lewis, because he died before you left Arizona and came up to these parts, but he was the face and the future of the post Larry Bird Boston Celtics. A Northeastern grad and a great athlete, he became a great scorer, an underrated defender. He had games when he could put the ball in the bucket at will, popping a mid-range jumper (this was back when NBA players could shoot a whole lot better) or slashing to the hoop.

During a game, he collapsed. His doctors told him not to play, that his heart might not take it. He got a second opinion, the one he wanted, and then one day, while he was just shooting around, he collapsed again and never got up.

We just don’t want anything like that to happen again.

But we know you’ll make the right decision. We can see how smart you are and the care you take in your career evaluations, taking less money to provide stability for your family and your team. With so much that seems wrong in sports these days, you represent what is right.

Finally, I get to the four other reasons I spoke of earlier. As much as you’ve done for the Patriots team, there’s your other team who needs you even more: your lovely wife and three children. During the Super Bowl, the Fox network played a video clip of you playing on the field with your two sons only hours before kickoff. In that moment, Tedy, we caught a glimpse of your true wealth that you seem to appreciate so well.

No matter what happens, we thank you, and - no matter what your decision - we look forward to seeing you around.
AllSports' NFL News - An open letter to Tedy Bruschi

Sherlock: Please Tedy, remember football is only a game
By Don Sherlock/ dsherloc@cnc.com
Thursday, March 3, 2005

First, I'm not a doctor.

Second, I'm not a psychologist.

Third, I'm not a family counselor.

Fourth, I never played football more advanced than eighth grade on the sandlots.

So why in the world would anyone listen to what I have to say about Tedy Bruschi's football future?

Well, I've lived more than three score years; I have a family that I love; my family has a history of strokes, and I've seen lots of football up close.

And I'm here to tell you Tedy Bruschi should hang up his cleats, enjoy looking at his three sparkling Super Bowl rings, take whatever front office job the New England Patriots want to give him, and lavish all the love he can muster on his young, all-American family.

Tedy Bruschi is one of the good guys in sports today. How many times have you seen him interviewed on TV after a game? How many times have you read his take on a situation before a game? And how many times after a game have you read Tedy Bruschi's quotes?

There's a reason he is the most quoted Pats' player, with the possible exception of Tom Brady. He's accessible; he's smart; and he's personable. A perfect combination for TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.

If you didn't know anything about Bruschi's family before the Super Bowl, there was no escaping it Feb. 6. Camera crews caught him in street clothes, backpedaling on the ALLTELL Stadium turf, laughing as he dodged his two young boys while urging them on. Then he purposely fell down and they gleefully jumped on him, defeating their All-Pro linebacker father.

The camera also caught his beautiful wife Heidi on the field celebrating with him after the game.

All the tests are not in yet so there's nothing definitive that says Bruschi should not play football again or that he'd risk recurrence or worse.

But anyone who saw him leave Mass. General Hospital a couple of days after suffering blurred vision and numbness on the right side of his body, classic signs of a stroke, did not recognize the same Tedy Bruschi they saw make a diving interception of a Donovan McNabb pass in the fourth quarter of this year's Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles.

He walked gingerly alongside his wife. If it wasn't apparent before then that he should take his memories and enjoy the rest of his life, it certainly was after watching his tenuous departure.

A 31 year-old bouncing back from football injuries is one thing. A 31 year-old bouncing back from a stroke is quite another.

No one knows what the chances are of a recurrence. But what we do know is that a young, intelligent, talented football player may run the risk of permanent debilitating injury, if not death, if he decides to go back on the field and into the brutal game of football.

There are no guarantees in life, nor is there a guarantee that he won't suffer a worse stroke sitting behind a desk or out among people being a goodwill ambassador for the New England Patriots or the National Football League or for the American Stroke Association.

But it is a fact that football is a brutal game. It's a fact that concussions are commonplace in the game. And Tedy Bruschi plays a brutal position in football; linebacker. He has been at the top of that game for several years.

Playing football again is not worth the risk. It's just a game. Give that dedication to your family and to the rest of your life, Tedy.

BostonHerald.com

 Fellow Patriots on Tedy:

By Michael Felger/ Patriots Notebook
Thursday, March 3, 2005

Ty Law:

Tedy's upbeat
Count Law among those who think Tedy Bruschi [news] is gearing for a return to football after suffering a stroke three weeks ago. Law got that impression during a recent conversation with the Pats linebacker.


``Bruschi is doing just great, from the last time I talked to him,'' Law told WEEI yesterday. ``I think he'll be back to being the old Tedy Bruschi. . . . He's going to be back ready to go, I'm pretty sure of that. It was a scare, and we all have a habit, the media and all, of blowing things out of proportion. He's looking forward to playing - that's what I get out of him. If he felt he couldn't come back and be the same guy - he wouldn't even talk about football.''

By Chris Shepard Patriots Insider
Date: Mar 3, 2005

Jarvis Green

PI: This question might hit a bit closer to the heart. Tedy Bruschi was recently released from the hospital, have you heard much about Tedy's condition?

Jarvis Green: I went to see him the day he got released from the hospital. I went to see him and he sat down and talked to me and it was very emotional. His health comes before the game of football. He's played for nine years. He has three Superbowl rings, been there four times I mean what else..

PI: Interceptions too. He has played incredible.

Jarvis Green: Yeah he is incredible. But it is tough man. Him and his family have to make it. They have three kids now and I mean it will be a tough decision. But hey, everyone knows that football does not last forever but you want to live as long as you can, you know.

Guarded optimism


While Tedy Bruschi [news] has been leaving his teammates with the distinct impression that he will be returning to football, many Patriots realize it's better to be cautiously optimistic regarding that aspect of his recovery.


``Would you expect anything different from Tedy? He's the ultimate high-spirits guy,'' said Matt Chatham. ``But talking about playing football in (March) is a lot different than actually going out and doing it. . . . I don't know if we're really even thinking about football. (But) as an average citizen getting around and being himself, he's doing great.''


Pats owner Robert Kraft has spoken to Bruschi a couple of times since his Feb. 16 stroke.


``He sounded great. He's feeling well. We hope his recovery continues along as it has,'' Kraft said. ``His first responsibility is to his family. That's what we're all looking for. Anything that happens after that is a bonus.''

BostonHerald.com - Patriots

Harrison said he had spoken to Bruschi.

"I'm not even thinking about the football part; I just want his family to enjoy having Tedy as a husband and a father," Harrison said. "If we have him back on the field, well that will be even better."

Bruschi recovering from stroke
By Andy Hart/Patriots Football Weekly

March 9, 2005

For most of the last six seasons Tedy Bruschi has been the heart and soul of the New England defense. He’s a key producer from his inside linebacker position on a unit that has helped lead the team to three Super Bowl titles. He has earned a reputation as an instinct-driven, fan-favorite playmaker. But the importance of that on-field resume was put into perspective Feb. 16 when the father of three was taken via ambulance from his North Attleborough, Mass., home to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after suffering the effects of a mild stroke just three days after taking part in his first career Pro Bowl.

“After suffering from headaches earlier today, Tedy Bruschi was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston,” said a written statement released by Patriots Executive Director of Media Relations Stacey James. “He is in good condition and will be held for further evaluations. The Bruschi family appreciates everyone’s concern, but requests that you respect their privacy at this time.”

After undergoing two days of tests at the exclusive Phillips House building at MGH, Bruschi was released. Citing an unnamed source, the Boston Globe reported that Bruschi had suffered from a “leaking blood vessel in his brain,” one type of stroke, and that “his football future was unknown.” Little new information has been revealed about the 31-year-old linebacker’s condition as both the organization and family remained tight-lipped about the matter, although the team did shed some additional light on the situation in another release sent out the day after he was admitted to MGH.

“On Wednesday morning, Tedy Bruschi suffered from headaches, blurred vision and some temporary numbness while at his home,” the second printed release said. “He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was admitted and held for evaluations. It has been determined that these symptoms were the results of a mild stroke. Tedy is in good condition and, as always, his spirits are high. He is walking and talking normally and stressed that he would like to thank everyone for keeping him and his family in their thoughts and prayers. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and the Bruschi family is very appreciative.”

Bruschi’s unexpected health battle comes as a surprise for a guy who’s amazed onlookers, including Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, with his dependable durability despite his aggressive, all-out, sometimes-reckless style of play over his nine year career. On top of his first Pro Bowl trip, Bruschi was also named as a second-team All-Pro in 2004, a season in which he finished second on the Super Bowl champs’ defense with 128 tackles while recording 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.

While many of Bruschi’s teammates have honored the family’s request for privacy in dealing with the medical matter, and the team has maintained its usual silence in regards to all medical issues, the New England players have expressed support for their defensive captain.

“Tedy’s still in our prayers, he’s doing a lot better and getting well each and every day,” said Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin at the Feb. 28 premier of New England’s Super Bowl XXXIX DVD at a Boston theater, noting how important Bruschi is on and off the field in New England. “He was one of the first guys I met when I got here. He extended his hand out to me and welcomed me with open arms. Tragic things happen in everyday life and it’s unfortunate that it happened, but we’re hoping for a speedy recovery and hopefully he can get back out there playing.”

Fellow Patriots defensive captain Rodney Harrison reiterated Colvin’s thoughts, while giving a positive report on a recent conversation with the guy who has earned his reputation as the team’s “full tilt, full time” defensive leader.

“We’re always thinking about Tedy,” Harrison said. “I talked to him a couple of days ago and he seemed like he was doing a lot better and he was in good spirits giving me a hard time like he usually does. He’s in good spirits and that’s what’s important, and that he’s healthy.”

But the continued uncertainty of Bruschi’s health, and questions regarding his return to football have put a heightened need to add depth to an aging linebacking corps that was already perceived as a top target area heading into free agency and the draft. The release of veteran Roman Phifer just before the start of free agency leaves Bruschi and fellow veteran Ted Johnson, 32, as the team’s only proven, experienced considerations for the two inside linebacker spots in the team’s base 3-4 front. But for now, that type of analysis is secondary to the recovery of one of New England’s most popular and beloved sports stars.

If there is one thing that came from Bruschi’s stroke, a health scare to the seemingly indestructible leader of the Patriots defense, it was to show those enjoying the high times in New England over the last four years how important it is to cherish the good times because football, and life, can change in a matter of seconds.

“It makes you think about it every day,” Ty Warren said. “I just wish the best for him and his family. But he’s a strong guy. He’s going to pull through it either way and he’ll do what’s right for him and his family.”

Only time will tell where that leaves the Patriots and Bruschi’s football future. PFW

"Patriots Beat by Tom Curran: Proceeding with caution on Pats' Bruschi

09:03 AM EST on Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Tedy Bruschi's situation is like the elephant in the middle of the room. It's getting harder to ignore.

What has happened, when it happened and who it happened to have combined to make this an incredibly delicate story to pursue.

Imagine, a 31-year-old husband and father of three sons -- one of whom is a newborn -- suffers a stroke. It doesn't matter if this happens to Tedy Bruschi or a friend of your third-cousin's tax guy. It still gives you pause.

Then factor in who Bruschi is -- the most visible player on the defense of the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots. One of the most introspective and articulate athletes in the NFL. A self-made player whose style is predicated on a willingness to sacrifice his body, but also a player whose intelligence and intuitiveness are unmatched. A professional athlete who doesn't chase every nickel and treats the fans like they spent hard-earned money to watch him play a kid's game. A handsome guy with a thousand-watt smile who oozes sincerity every time he opens his mouth.

Then add in when the stroke occurred. Three days after he returned from his first Pro Bowl. Ten days after the Patriots won the Super Bowl when his fourth-quarter interception was one of the game-sealing plays. Three weeks after he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He had been one of the five most visible players in America's most popular sport for more than a month before he was stricken.

For two months, the question that's been dangling but left unasked is, "What now?"

Inevitably, rumors have surfaced. Yesterday morning on AM-790 The Score, it was suggested that Bruschi was going to have a procedure to repair a hole in his heart. Last night on the NFL Network, defensive end Willie McGinest, when asked about Bruschi, said, "I think he had a hole in his heart."

When called earlier in the day about the alleged heart defect, the Patriots explained that they intend to make no comment without being contacted by Bruschi and his wife, Heidi, and that they have not been contacted. Aside from McGinest, who appeared to offer the information by mistake, other teammates of Bruschi were in the dark.

So right now, Bruschi himself is the lone official source for his condition. And, even though he initially planned to hold a press conference days, that's been canceled and he's not interested in talking to a media that he felt was invasive in its coverage both when he was hospitalized and when he was released.

Bruschi let it be known in no uncertain terms that the media best back off. Generally, we have, and there have been good reasons for that. For one thing, the cause and effects of strokes take time to figure out. For another, Bruschi has been accommodating and his request for privacy deserves consideration. This is a matter of public interest, not public safety, so it's not as if anyone can allege there's a "right to know." And finally, who wants to be the one to agitate a guy who just had a stroke?

But as rumors surface and the business of football -- the NFL Draft and free agency -- presses forward, it's becoming harder to stay out of the minefield that is Bruschi's situation and still say you are effectively doing your job as a reporter.

For a month, the status and well-being of Tedy Bruschi the father, husband, role model and human being, towered in importance over the status of Tedy Bruschi, inside linebacker for the New England Patriots. And how Bruschi performs those duties will always be more important than how well (or if) he'll be able to knock people down on Sundays in the fall and winter.

A month ago it wasn't necessary or productive to ask how Bruschi was progressing and whether he would play football again. And it didn't feel right, either.

A month later, it still may not feel right to ask. But it's getting harder not to.
Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal | Patriots

Heart patients can still take a hit -- Don't rule out return
By Michael O'Connor
Thursday, March 17, 2005 - Updated: 06:57 AM EST

Tedy Bruschi can still suit up for the Patriots [stats, news] even if he's both a heart patient and a stroke victim, local heart specialists say.


According to a television report Wednesday night in Arizona, the Pats defensive captain was scheduled to undergo a procedure this week to repair a hole in his heart. There have been conflicting reports as to when and where such a procedure would take place, though Bruschi was caught on camera by Ch. 7 in the back yard of his North Attleboro home yesterday afternoon.


Pats spokesman Stacey James said again yesterday that he did not have any information to offer on Bruschi's condition.


``As soon as the family has something to add, confirm, deny, or has a date of expectation, we'll pass that along,'' he said.


If Bruschi does require heart surgery, it would not necessarily close the door on his football career unless other complications develop, even in a hard-contact sport.


Dr. Carey Kimmelsteil, a cardiologist at Tufts-New England Medical Center, said such holes ``are in many cases tiny and can in fact be quite common,'' affecting up to 25 percent of the population.


``In many cases they are just `potential' holes, or weakening in the walls of the heart,'' Kimmelsteil added. ``They can be very common.''


In Bruschi's case, if surgery was recommended, a tiny wire would be inserted in a thigh vein, guided by X-rays to the heart. Once arrived at the organ, surgeons would use ultrasound guidance to assist them in finding and plugging the hole.


According to Dr. Charles Dow of New England Baptist Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the alternative treatment would be a blood thinner such as Coumadin, which allows for easier circulation.


But blood thinners also make clotting more difficult, which could endanger anyone who plays sports.


``Obviously Tedy Bruschi [news] playing football, if he gets hit, there's a good chance he could bleed,'' Dow said. ``It's very doubtful a contact athlete would be put on Coumadin.''


The Patriots star was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering what doctors determined was a mild stroke in mid-February. He had reportedly complained of headaches and blurred vision at his home just three days after playing in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

According to Dow, Bruschi may be dealing with a ``patent foramen ovale,'' the most common hole defect.


``And these are much more frequently picked up later in life,'' he said, rather than at birth.


The surgery, Dow said, ``is performed on young people all the time.''


Post-operative medicine includes simple aspirin.


``There is some related increased risk of minor bleeding, but it wouldn't prevent him from playing,'' Dow said.


But it has yet to be determined conclusively if surgical repairs of such heart defects reduce stroke risk, stressed Kimmelsteil, who estimated he has done approximately 40 such procedures.


Tufts-NEMC and the cardiologist are currently involved in clinical trials involving a half-dozen hospitals to determine the effectiveness of the procedures.


Kimmelsteil performed the procedure on a rodeo performer - also involved in a rugged, hard-contact profession - who has shown no ill effects since, the surgeon said.


``Hopefully, we'll be able to alleviate the threat of stroke,'' Kimmelsteil said.
BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Heart patients can still take a hit -- Don't rule out return

Hole may be clue with Bruschi
By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff | March 17, 2005

When Tedy Bruschi suffered a mild stroke last month, the cause was a mystery -- at least publicly. But a teammate's assertion that the Patriots linebacker is now being treated for a hole in his heart yielded an important clue into how a pro athlete in the prime of life could have been felled by a stroke, doctors said yesterday.

Fellow linebacker Willie McGinest, speaking Tuesday night on "Total Access" on the NFL Network, said Bruschi had a hole in his heart. Tucson television station KOLD also reported Tuesday that Bruschi has the defect and that he was expected to undergo surgery.

Neither Bruschi's family nor the Patriots would provide details yesterday of his medical condition. A spokeswoman for Massachusetts General Hospital, where Bruschi was treated for the stroke, referred inquiries about the Pro Bowl linebacker to the team.

But specialists in cardiology and neurology not involved with Bruschi's treatment said that when young, fit patients suffer a stroke, one of the first suspicions is that the patient has what's known as a patent foramen ovale -- a tiny, oval-shaped hole between the two upper chambers of the heart. The condition can be treated with minor surgery or blood-thinning drugs.

The specialists said the hole can allow small blood clots that would otherwise be absorbed in the lungs to pass from one chamber of the heart to another and then travel to the brain. There, clots that would be innocuous elsewhere in the body can become wedged in narrow vessels, blocking blood flow to a portion of the brain and causing a stroke.

"It's a very common explanation for why young people have strokes," said Dr. David Thaler, director of the Tufts Comprehensive Stroke Center at Tufts-New England Medical Center.

All developing fetuses have the hole, which allows blood to bypass the still-forming lungs. Once the child is born, though, there's no longer any need for the tiny tunnel and in most infants it closes by itself within a few months.

But medical studies have estimated that the hole -- measuring about a tenth of an inch -- persists in up to one of every four adults, but typically with no or few consequences. It does not prevent strenuous activity or even a career as an athlete, and doctors said it's not practical to screen the general population for the defect.

"On a physical exam, you'll never find it," said Dr. Carey Kimmelstiel, director of interventional cardiology and clinical cardiology at Tufts-New England Medical Center. "And why would you? It's not going to lead to a murmur, it's not anything you're going to hear."

In fact, as far as specialists know, it only becomes a problem when a blood clot succeeds in squeezing through the opening

Those clots could develop in the leg or in the heart or in other parts of the body. They might form, for instance, during a lengthy plane flight, when blood pools in the extremities.

Shortly before Bruschi developed classic symptoms of a stroke -- persistent headaches, blurred vision, and numbness on his right side -- he had returned from playing in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

"If you're sitting in an airplane from Hawaii to Boston, the blood is just sitting there," Thaler said. "We make these little blood clots all the time, and usually they're of no consequence."

Even though clots may travel from the leg into the right chambers of the heart, those clots in most people are filtered out by the lungs before they can reach the left half of the heart, which pumps blood back out into the body -- including the brain.

So, Kimmelstiel said, when a younger patient with no traditional risk factors -- high blood pressure, diabetes, history of head trauma -- suffers a stroke, doctors begin looking for a hole in the heart that would allow a clot to skip the lung-filtering step.

They find the opening in about half of stroke patients who otherwise have no underlying condition predisposing them to the potentially lethal attack.

There's no definitive medical research showing how doctors should respond when they find a hole in the heart of a stroke patient. Studies have offered varying assessments of the likelihood of a second stroke: from less than 1 percent to as high as 15 percent in the year after the first stroke.

The hole can be surgically closed, either by implanting a device to plug it or by sewing it shut. Or doctors can prescribe blood-thinning drugs to discourage the formation of clots. Right now, two studies are under way to assess the merits of both approaches.

But this much is sure: Doctors almost certainly would opt to close the gap in the heart of a professional athlete or any other patients whose professions place them in substantial peril of regularly bleeding. Once the hole is closed, there's no reason that the heart condition, doctors said, should preclude a professional football player from returning to the field.

Instead, a return to play would depend on the extent of neurological damage resulting from the stroke.

"If [Bruschi's] nervous system is functioning normally and the cause of his event was thought to be patent foramen ovale and if that gets closed," Thaler said, "then he should be able to return to a normal life, vigorous and violent as he likes."

It is the sort of active life cherished by Stran Smith -- both before and after his stroke. He was 32 and a professional rodeo cowboy when he suddenly lost the ability to speak.

Diagnosis: a stroke.

"The first specialist said to me, `There's other things that you can do with your life,' " Smith recalled yesterday during a telephone interview from Houston, where he was preparing for a rodeo. "He said, `You'll live to an old and happy age, but you can't do what you do.' And I live to do what I do, which is the rodeo."

Later tests revealed the true culprit in Smith's stroke: a patent foramen ovale.

"Before all of this, nothing at all was wrong with me," Smith said. "It was hard to understand. It was pretty amazing to me."

Ultimately, he wound up at Tufts-New England Medical Center to have the hole fixed. That was two Mays ago, and these days, he's back roping calves.

Stephen Smith can be reached at stsmith@globe.com. © Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.
 

Bruschi story proves tough to tackle
By Bill Griffith | March 20, 2005

For nine years, Tedy Bruschi has gone out of his way to make reporters' jobs easier. Not so the past month. Through no fault of his own, he's presented the media with a story almost impossible to cover.

In fact, just trying to cover the story has become a story.

There have been many questions but few answers regarding the Patriot linebacker's condition following his hospitalization with a mild stroke the week after the Feb. 13 Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

The Channel 7 clip showing Bruschi outside his home last Wednesday showed how far the station will go to advance the story, however slightly. In this case, it showed that Bruschi was (1) in the Boston area and (2) not in the hospital.

Ed Kosowski, the station's news director, said he was surprised that more outlets didn't look for similar shots, given the way the story had been advanced by reports out of Arizona and quotes by Willie McGinest on The NFL Network that Bruschi apparently had a hole in his heart.

"It can be a difficult story to cover," said Kosowski. "You want to respect the Bruschis' privacy, but as long as we're not trespassing and ambushing him, I feel it's appropriate to have people parked outside his home. Our people were careful to stay on public property and didn't shout questions at the family.

"You have to realize that Tedy Bruschi is a public figure and as well-known as a prominent politician. That means he can't have the expectation of complete privacy."

"It's been a frustrating story to cover," said Channel 25 assistant news director Paul McGonagle. "People are e-mailing us and stopping our crews out on the street to ask, `What's the real story?' And we don't know. We're walking that fine line between respecting the family's request for privacy and looking for answers. But we're not getting answers from anyone."

The Patriots have made an art out of not talking about players' injuries, but they aren't behind the silent treatment this time.

Patriots public relations director Stacey James said, "The only thing that's been said to me is: Do what the Bruschis want. Help them all you can."

Right now, what the Bruschis obviously want is privacy.

The Bruschis were accommodating to the media Feb. 18 when they agreed to a "photo opportunity" as the linebacker left Massachusetts General Hospital.

That wasn't enough for a group of stations that staked out his home, leaving only when asked by the Patriots, and then only after each was assured the others would leave, too. Both channels 7 and 25 tracked the Bruschis' SUV leaving the hospital via helicopter, though not all the way home.

In most newsrooms, reporters cover one event, and then move to the next. In a sports department, reporters cover many stories generated by the same teams and, in most cases, try to keep the lines of communication open.

"Bruschi is a classic story, one of those that doesn't come along often," said former Channel 7 sports producer Frank Shorr, who now teaches at the Sports Institute at Boston University.

"As a producer or reporter, there are situations where you have to make a decision to invade space. By and large, especially in this market, the lines are very clear. So you get into situations where producers and reporters are being pressured to do things that are good for the moment but in the long run may put them in a position where they're risking their relationship with the athlete and the team."

Said Channel 7's Kosowski, "You can put your sports team in an awkward position in this type of story. Their relationship with sports figures and teams is more intimate. They see these people daily. But, for the station, while you want to respect a person's privacy, you also want to do your job."

Several factors ensure that the Bruschi story will have legs.

He's a key member of the Super Bowl champions.

He's extremely popular with fans, and even negotiated a contract extension with a "hometown discount" that will likely keep him a Patriot for the rest of his career.

He's dealing with an ailment that seems to be more common than many people realize, prompting many to wonder, "Is this something that could strike someone in my family?"

"Fans, even casual fans, identified with him as a family man when they saw him playing with his kids on the field before the Super Bowl," said McGonagle. "Then, when they saw that he lived in a modest house, people felt he was one of them.

"New Englanders are a different breed. They love that kind of stuff. It shows in the man-on-the-street interviews we've done. Instead of worrying about the Patriots possibly losing a key player and hurting their chances for chasing another championship, fans are saying, `Tedy, if you don't come back, we understand.' That says a lot about the viewers and fans."

This much is certain: Bruschi will talk to the media again. On his terms. When he reaches a comfort level, he'll say, "Let's do it." If not for the media, then certainly for his fans.

Trouble is, Bruschi doesn't know when that day will come.

Which means this story isn't going to get any easier to cover.

http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2005/03/20/bruschi_story_proves_tough_to_tackle

He has nowhere to hide: Ailing Bruschi not happy with `invasion' by media
By Kevin Mannix/ NFL Notes
Sunday, March 20, 2005

You're Tedy Bruschi [news] and you're upset, disappointed and more than a little ticked off. And it has nothing to do with your physical condition and the reported upcoming surgery you face to close the reported hole in your heart that allegedly caused the ``mild stroke'' you suffered a month ago.

It has to do with the lack of respect for you and your family's privacy shown by segments of the media in the immediate aftermath of your hospitalization.

You've been a playmaker with the Patriots [stats, news] since 1996 when you came here as a third-round draft pick from Arizona. You've been to four Super Bowls and you have three NFL championship rings. You had just returned from your first Pro Bowl appearance when you suffered the stroke.

The words ``reported'' and ``allegedly'' are used because there has been nothing official announced. You've put up a roadblock along this particular information superhighway, a sign of your unhappiness with the media.

People can't understand why you won't allow the Patriots to release any information about your medical condition/prognosis. You've always been one of the most recognizable Patriots and one of the legitimate ``go-to'' guys in the locker room. During the week and after practice, you've always been there in front of your locker, answering any and all questions long after the rest of the players have escaped.

That spirit of cooperation continued right up to the point when you left Mass. General Hospital after suffering the stroke. You agreed to let the media know when you were leaving the hospital so the cameras could get their quick shots.

But that's where things changed. Some members of the media went too far. You found out on your way out of the hospital that three television crews had already visited your home, even though they knew that you and your wife were in Boston. Were they trying to get comments from your sons Tedy Jr. or Max, or get a shot of infant Dante with a babysitter?

One television helicopter actually hovered above you as you drove home from the hospital

In the words of the poet Popeye, ``That's all I can stand, and I can't stands no more.''

You shut off the media totally. You blew off the ``press conference'' that had been tentatively scheduled for the following week and haven't been heard from since then.

You were seen one more time, when a Ch. 7 news crew played paparazzi and arrived at your house unannounced and uninvited, filming you walking in your back yard.

Unfortunately that won't be the last time you'll have your privacy violated. It's a regrettable part of the price you pay for stardom. You'd like to be left alone, but your success on the field, the power of your personality and your stature in the community won't allow that. One downside of gaining fame is the loss of privacy.

BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: He has nowhere to hide: Ailing Bruschi not happy with `invasion' by media

Bruschi may sit out '05 season
By Ron Borges, Globe Staff | March 23, 2005

KAPALUA, Hawaii -- For the first time since his rookie season, Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi has retained the services of an agent to represent him, and they are discussing the possibility of Bruschi sitting out the 2005 season for health reasons, similar to the way Carolina linebacker Mark Fields sat out 2003 after being diagnosed with cancer.

As of yesterday morning, Boston-based agent Brad Blank was listed as Bruschi's representative on the NFL Players Association website. A source with knowledge of the union's operation said the NFLPA received a signed form from Bruschi Monday designating Blank as his agent. For the past five years, Bruschi served as his own agent in contract negotiations.

With three years remaining on his current contract, the defensive captain would seem to have little need for representation unless he was contemplating retirement, but Blank insisted no such decision had been made.

"I can relate to you only that Tedy is considering not playing next year," Blank said. "Beyond that, I cannot comment on anything."

On Feb. 16, Bruschi was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital after having a mild stroke. He was released a couple of days later, but reports from an Arizona television station had him reentering Mass. General recently to have a hole in his heart repaired.

Asked yesterday about Bruschi's medical condition, Blank said, "I'm not allowed to comment on his medical status. All those comments come from the Bruschis."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who is here for the NFL owners meetings, also declined comment, saying, "Tedy has made all the comments. I leave it at that."

A year ago, Bruschi negotiated an $8.3 million deal that paid him a $3.5 million signing bonus and a $700,000 salary last season. He is scheduled to earn $850,000 in 2005, $1.35 million in 2006, and $1.70 million in the final year.

If Bruschi retires, the deal would be voided, but if he sits out 2005, he could be paid his full salary if the Patriots place him on the physically unable to perform list. If they put him on the non-football-related injury list, they would not be obligated to pay him his salary but still might choose to do so, as the Panthers did with Fields in 2003.

If Bruschi retired before June 1, the Patriots would face a daunting salary cap escalation of more than $2.6 million, the pro-rated portion of the signing bonus, which could not be spread over the four-year length of a nonexistent deal.

Sitting out a year may work in the best interest of all parties, because the immediate salary cap hit would be avoided by the Patriots, while Bruschi would have a year to regain his health and receive his $850,000 salary.

On a team that won its third Super Bowl in four years this past season, Bruschi had 122 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, and 3 1/2 sacks. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time. It was only three days after playing the Pro Bowl that he was stricken with the stroke symptoms.
Boston.com / Sports / Football / Patriots / Bruschi may sit out '05 season

Tedy's agent to fill in blanks
By Kevin Mannix
Thursday, March 24, 2005 - Updated: 07:09 AM EST

Tedy Bruschi obviously has some serious questions about his status with the Patriots [stats, news]. That's why he hired an agent to represent him for the first time since coming into the league as a rookie in 1996.


Prior to retaining the services of Brad Blank, the Pats linebacker had been his own agent. He negotiated his own contract last year, a four-year deal worth $9.1 million, including a $3.5 million signing bonus and $1 million in incentives. He also handled contract talks for his previous deal, a two-year agreement worth $3 million.


But his situation has changed. His current concerns go far beyond the language in the standard player contract.


After suffering a mild stroke a month ago that threatens his career, Bruschi needs to be advised of his legal rights.


``There are a number of questions that need to be answered,'' said Ralph Cindrich, a prominent agent who was a linebacker with the Pats in 1972. ``I'm sure Tedy doesn't have enough knowledge of the language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement on his own to understand all the possibilities and potential problems involved with his situation. An experienced lawyer like Brad would. That's why having him as his representative makes sense.''


Blank will know the practical difference between a player being on the ``physically unable to perform list'' and being on the ``non-football injury list.''


He'll also know how to negotiate a hard line if the Patriots decide to risk some serious public relations fallout and not honor Bruschi's contract if he's not able to play again.


Questions abound. Do the Patriots have to pay Bruschi his base pay in 2005 if he can't play? If it's determined that the cause of his stroke was congenital, and not because of anything that happened on the field, can the team demand a portion of his signing bonus back? Can they withhold his salaries for the next three seasons ($856,000 this year, $1.855 million in 2006 and $2.206 million in 2007) if his career is over?


And those are just the obvious ones.

BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Tedy's agent to fill in blanks

Linebacker’s fans hoping for the best

A Telegraph Column By Tom King
Published: Thursday, Mar. 24, 2005

It’s time for the issue of New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi to become a lot clearer than it is now.

Whether that means his new agent, Brad Blank, or Bruschi himself should issue a statement regarding his health and his football future, that’s up to them.

But something has to be said by somebody or all the rampant speculation will get totally out of hand, if it hasn’t already. True, Blank took a step in published reports Wednesday by saying that the popular player may sit out next season.

How secretive has this all been? Bruschi hasn’t even shared his health and career questions with his biggest fans, including Nashua’s Randy “Zip” Pierce. Pierce, who routinely keeps in touch with the linebacker, has yet to communicate directly with him since his post-Pro Bowl stroke.

“I haven’t spoken to him,” said Pierce, the former Patriots Fan of the Year. “He asked that people respect his privacy so I haven’t even corresponded by e-mail with him.

“But I know there’s no doubt he wants to play. . . . If not, he would have already retired.”

Pierce feels that Bruschi hired Blank to deal with a lot of the issues surrounding his playing/contract status, and likely deal with the public as well. Meanwhile, media helicopters fly over the player’s home. Players like Willie McGinest speak for him in other interviews. Speculation can get out of hand when the truth is hidden.

“(Blank’s hiring) certainly says that something’s going on,” Pierce said.

Pierce wouldn’t share anything with the media that Bruschi would have told him, if that was ever the case. That, he says, is up to Bruschi. “He’s a pretty private guy,” Pierce said.

Bruschi is usually in Arizona this time of year, Pierce said.

“So the fact that he’s here means he’s getting medical care,” Pierce said. “That’s clear as a bell. . . . But if he had surgery, I believe I would have heard about it. And I did not. . . . But for him still to be here, he has to be having something done.”

It’s ironic, because for years Bruschi has become one of Pierce’s biggest boosters in his own health struggles. Pierce is blind and confined to a wheelchair because of problems with balance. He listened to the Super Bowl from a hospital room. But lately, he’s been doing much, much better.

“The last month my health has been pretty solid,” he said.

Solid enough to field phone calls from media outlets all over. They started phoning him when news first broke about Bruschi’s stroke and, while the calls have tapered off, they’re still coming. Pierce says he spends about an hour a day communicating with fellow fans and media about Bruschi’s condition.

Still, Pierce’s inside information is limited. He says although there’s a special bond with Bruschi, they aren’t friends socially.

“I understand that,” he said. “I’m a Patriots fan in their prime time. I’m a fan of Tedy’s. That’s it. I consider Tedy and I to be fan and player.”

So the speculation continues. Pierce continues to dig. He believes he will hear from Bruschi when the time is right. He also believes the linebacker will play again.

“I figure by the draft we’ll hear something real,” he said. “But I’ll tell you this – If he shows up and starts that first game, whether it be this year or next or whenever it is, that crowd, when they see Tedy Bruschi run out onto the field, will be a fun thing to hear.”

It’s a day all Patriots fans hope for. Until we hear more from Bruschi or Blank, that’s all they can do.


The Telegraph Online
 

Patriots' Tedy Bruschi in first-pitch ceremony
By Associated Press
Monday, April 11, 2005 - Updated: 05:00 PM EST

BOSTON - New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi threw out a ceremonial first pitch at the Boston Red Sox [stats, schedule]'s home opener on Monday nearly eight weeks after suffering a mild stroke.


``I am feeling pretty good,'' he said in a statement issued by the Red Sox.


He walked with a slight limp from the left-field wall along with three others who threw out first pitches - former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell, former Boston Bruins star Bobby Orr and New England defensive end Richard Seymour. All received a loud ovation as they walked to the mound.


``I have firsthand knowledge on why the fans of New England are the best in the world,'' Bruschi said in a statement issued by the Red Sox. ``It's because of all the support they've given me - all the letters, all the e-mails and all the flowers that have been sent.


``I want to tell them the most sincere `thank you' because they've helped me get to where I am today.''


Bruschi, wearing a white Red Sox jersey with manager Terry Francona's No. 47 on the back, threw his pitch to Francona.


``This is an extreme honor for me because this is a historic day - the Red Sox championship solidifying the championships of the Patriots, the Celtics and the Bruins,'' Bruschi said.


Last Friday, Francona was released from Massachusetts General Hospital where he had been taken for tests to determine the source of chest tightness. Red Sox team physician Dr. Thomas Gill said the tightness probably was caused by ``a recent viral illness.''


Bruschi suffered the stroke 10 days after the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years and three days after playing in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii for the first time. He's been working out at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro but there has been no announcement of his prospects of playing next season or beyond.


Bruschi, 31, left Massachusetts General on Feb. 18, two days after his wife Heidi, called 911, saying her husband was experiencing ``blurred vision, numbness on the right side of his body.''


BostonHerald.com - Boston Red Sox: Patriots' Tedy Bruschi in first-pitch ceremony

A Championship Flavor at Fenway Park

Bryan Morry, Patriots Football Weekly

Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour joined legends Bobby Orr and Bill Russell in throwing out the ceremonious first pitch Monday afternoon at Fenway Park as part of the Red Sox opening day championship celebration. But just as thrilling were the behind-the-scenes moments that included Tedy Bruschi's first public comments since he suffered a stroke in mid-February.

BOSTON -- Someone once said that since we have two ears and one mouth we should listen twice as much as we talk. Well when the legendary Bill Russell is speaking about winning championships, the listening ratio increases beyond 2:1. His Celtics teams won 11 NBA titles including eight in a row in the 1960s, but his words on this day weren’t prepared for a speaking engagement as they might have been back in the summer of 2002 when Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick invited Russell to speak to his first defending championship Patriots team.

No, the setting Monday was completely informal. It was a small room inside Fenway Park where Russell, donning a Celtics cap and his signature high-pitched laugh, recalled some of the elements and players that made his teams great while Patriots Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour, three-time champs themselves, soaked it all in alongside another Boston sports legend, Bruins icon Bobby Orr, he of two Stanley Cup titles.

The championship quartet was on hand on a brisk, sun-splashed afternoon to help the Boston Red Sox celebrate their first home opener as defending World Series champion since 1919. But a couple of hours before the four would emerge from underneath the massive American Flag draped over the fabled Green Monster to throw out the ceremonial first pitch preceding another Red Sox-Yankees duel, they sat around a long wooden table eating cold cuts, sharing anecdotes, talking about golf and about winning, laughing and tossing a baseball around in somewhat nervous preparation for their on-field undertaking.

Actually, it was the smoothest and niftiest skater and stick handler of our time, Orr, who battled the butterflies in what was surprisingly his first trip to the Fenway mound to fire a baseball ceremoniously toward home plate. “My son said, ‘Dad don’t embarrass us and don’t throw it underhand,’” Orr relayed.

The clutch Orr did neither when his 3 p.m. curtain call came, firing a strike from the pristine infield grass in front of the mound. “I’m honored to have been invited to take part today as really a highlight of my career,” Orr said. “I’m thrilled, my children are thrilled and my friends are thrilled. They think it’s the greatest as I do.”

The sellout Fenway Park crowd was treated to a glorious experience, especially when the Sox went on to pound the Yankees, 8-1, but the magnitude of the pregame events couldn’t have been lost on anyone in attendance and certainly wasn’t on the two Patriots champions on hand.

“I feel like a little kid,” an upbeat, smiling Bruschi said from beneath the left field seats in what marked his first public words since suffering a mid-February stroke.

Speaking about neither his health nor football future, but rather his day at the ballpark, Bruschi put the experience in perspective. “Bobby Orr, Bill Russell and me and Richard? The Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox all together. We’re all champions now. What the Red Sox did last year was historic and it sort of solidified all the championships together and it seems like they’re coming in bunches. Hopefully there can be more.

“It’s different than the previous two times [we were here],” he added. "We had the whole team out there a couple times before and that was great, but this is Boston history here … especially with Bill Russell and Bobby Orr and the guys you’ve heard all the stories about and watched all the highlights of, and it’s an honor to be next to them.”

“It’s fun, being a younger player, to be around some of the guys that won championships and see what it took and the things that it takes to stay at that level and to see the mindset they have,” Seymour said. “It’s an honor to be a part of this city and everything the fans, the sportswriters and the players are going through at this point. Growing up, I never thought I’d be in this position. All I knew was that I was just putting in hard work.”

Seymour spent plenty of time with Russell throughout the day. As a slew of former Red Sox greats including Yaz, Dewey, Rice, Lynn, Gedman, Oil Can, Lomborg, Lee and so many more marched on to the field a few feet away, Seymour and Russell engaged in a lengthy one-on-one conversation off to the side while occasionally being interrupted for a picture by a stray fan or admiring United States Marines decked out in full dress blues.

“He’s a great guy,” Seymour said of Russell. “You can see why he’s a champion. He’s a guy with a lot of insight, a lot of wisdom, and I try to hang around guys like that. I told him I’m trying to get his record and then he said, ‘which one? Eight in a row or 11 in 13 years?’ I told him, “I’m three-for-four right now. That’s not bad.”

Bruschi, who grew up a Celtics fan in Northern California, also was a willing Russell listener. “[It was] spending time with him and picking his brain a little bit and now we sort of have something we can relate to. We have three [championships] and I think he had 11. I don’t know if we’ll get eight more but at least we were able to put a couple more on there so we could sort of be in his company a little bit.”

He was in that elite company Monday. It was championship company and a championship party for all of New England. But the champs representing the Pats, Celts and Bruins recognized that the day was about their latest championship brethren, the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

“What this team has done is incredible,” Orr said. “Going back to last year to the championship series, everyone said, ‘they’re gone,’ but they fought back and showed a lot of character and they’re true champions.”

And Monday they celebrated their amazing accomplishment one final time. It was truly a Championship Monday celebrated by and with legendary champions. Bruschi, Seymour, Russell, Orr, and now the ring bearing Red Sox from 2004.
Official Website of the New England Patriots


White House Visit:

(A/P)

About 30 players attended, including quarterback Tom Brady and linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who is recovering from a stroke suffered just after he played in the Pro Bowl in February. Bush saluted Bruschi, saying, "I congratulate you on showing such incredible courage on the field and off the field. There's a lot of people that were praying for you, I know."



Washington Post/Mark Maske, NFL Insider

No Decision Yet for Bruschi

It appears that linebacker Tedy Bruschi won't make a decision about whether he'll play next season for at least a few more weeks, and New England Patriots officials are doing their best to support him without pressuring him. They continue to refuse to discuss the matter publicly.

"Tedy has requested that any information about his situation come from him personally or through his family, and we respect that," Patriots front-office chief Scott Pioli said during an interview late last week. "Tedy's situation is for him to handle, really, just out of respect to him."

Bruschi reportedly is considering sitting out the season as he recovers from what the team called a mild stroke that he suffered in February, just after helping the Patriots to their third Super Bowl title in four seasons and participating in his first career Pro Bowl in Hawaii. He reportedly underwent surgery for a hole in his heart that might have caused his stroke. It's unclear if Bruschi would attempt to play in 2006 if he sits out next season.

He threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches for the Boston Red Sox' home opener on Monday, and received a warm ovation from the crowd at Fenway Park. He thanked fans for their support in a written statement released that day, but did not discuss his football future with reporters.

The Patriots signed a linebacker, Monty Beisel, as a free agent last week, bolstering the position in case Bruschi decides not to play next season. But Pioli declined to call linebacker a position of need for the club.

"Last year, with our linebackers, we had a very good group of guys, particularly on the outside," Pioli said. "We have some young guys, too."

It has been an offseason of significant roster retooling for the Patriots. They released cornerback Ty Law and linebacker Roman Phifer, and declined to exercise an option in the contract of wide receiver Troy Brown, making him a free agent. But Pioli said the team is taking the same offseason approach that it always takes.

"The priorities haven't changed," he said. "The priorities are to find ways to make our team better and younger. Some teams are built to go for the best player available. Some teams go strictly on needs. We try to combine the two. Any way that we can find to make our team better, we'll do it. We're looking two or three years down the road. We may be fine at a position right now, but you need to take into account where you have players that are going to be free agents, if you're getting old at certain positions."

NFL Opts for Only Two Games on Christmas (washingtonpost.com)

Feted by president, Pats stars laud troops
By Andrew Miga
Thursday, April 14, 2005 - Updated: 07:08 AM EST

WASHINGTON - The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots [stats, news] - including recovering Tedy Bruschi [news] - savored another White House victory ceremony yesterday, but said the real heroes of the day were wounded soldiers they met at local military hospitals.


``What a great story Tedy is,'' lineman Matt Light [news] said. ``To see Tedy in the hospital with these guys who had strokes, who had these things happen - he can relate to these things.''


Quarterback Tom Brady [news] said, ``He's the same old Tedy. Hopefully, we'll see him back out there on the field.



Bruschi, whose career is in doubt after a stroke earlier this year, joined Brady, Light and four other players who spent four hours visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md.


``It makes what we do seem so unimportant,'' said Brady, who led his team to three Super Bowl titles. ``You see people whose arms are blown off, legs. It puts everything in perspective. We try to go in there and express gratitude.''


``These guys are really our heroes,'' Light said. ``They should be everybody's heroes.''


After their hospital visits, the team was honored by President Bush in the sun-splashed Rose Garden for their third Super Bowl win in four seasons.


Pats owner Robert Kraft injected some humor in the ceremony, saying if his team returns to the White House to celebrate another championship, he planned ``to follow Senator Kennedy's advice and bring the cheerleaders.'' Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) reportedly had suggested the cheerleaders would be well-received by the hospitalized soldiers.
BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Feted by president, Pats stars laud troops

Bruschi preparing for uncertainty

Pats LB hires Brad Blank to represent and counsel him

Patriots Pulse

By Bryan Morry/Patriots Football Weekly

Tedy Bruschi is safe at home with his family, which all would acknowledge is most important after the Patriots star inside linebacker suffered what was classified as a “mild stroke” in mid-February. But with the draft fast approaching and the full-tilt, full-time fan favorite uncertain about his football playing future, the Patriots have to prepare to find a replacement.

Bruschi hired Boston-based agent Brad Blank last month to represent him moving forward in case some kind of settlement needs to be reached regarding Bruschi’s salary and his financial and/or playing future.

Blank told the Boston Globe that while no decision has been finalized, Bruschi is contemplating sitting out the 2005 season while he recovers from the stroke and the reported surgery to repair a hole in his heart that apparently may have contributed or even caused the stroke symptoms he felt a few days after returning from his first Pro Bowl.

Bruschi has represented himself in all contract negotiations since entering the league in 1996 and his decision to seek Blank’s counsel shows that he is putting his ducks in a row in the event he walks away from the game either temporarily or permanently.

It’s one thing to sit down and talk about money, but Bruschi’s financial situation could change significantly if he doesn’t play, and Blank is now in place because of his 25 years of experience as an agent and his knowledge of the collective bargaining agreement along with other legal issues, such as worker’s compensation. Bruschi, while negotiating his own contracts, did not need to have a detailed knowledge of the CBA, but now needs to be clear on what he is entitled to under the agreement.

If Bruschi decides to simply sit out the 2005 season because of his medical condition, the Patriots have a couple of options in terms of his roster status.

The first is that he could be placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp and then either left on PUP or moved to injured reserve (IR) at some point. Either way, he would be guaranteed to receive his scheduled $800,000 salary for 2005.

The second involves placing Bruschi on the non-football injury list (NFI) where the team would not be required to pay him all or any of his 2005 salary.

It seems unlikely, although that’s pure speculation, that the Patriots would withhold Bruschi’s pay given there was no known egregious behavior on the player’s part that caused this medical condition. But Bruschi clearly felt he needed legal representation to protect his rights and advise him about other options or any litigation issues that might arise possibly independent of the team.

This is no easy decision since replacing Bruschi would come at a cap cost and the team could use the relief to improve the roster. But electing not to pay Bruschi could be perceived as cold and callous in the court of public opinion given what he’s accomplished and the rare loyalty he has shown.

The more likely scenario is that the Patriots place him on NFI and continue to pay him despite the fact that the $800,000 would then count against the 2005 salary cap.

The Carolina Panthers did that in 2003 while linebacker Mark Fields was recovering from cancer, and the Patriots actually paid running back Robert Edwards bonus money it could have withheld back in 1999 after Edwards suffered a horrific knee injury playing in an NFL-sanctioned beach flag football game during Pro Bowl week in Hawaii. The team apparently took a sizable cap hit for doing so.

The Patriots could also hire Bruschi in some other capacity within the organization if his playing days are indeed over. But a front office job would almost certainly pay Bruschi far less than his playing salary calls for. That’s one of many issues for which Bruschi is likely to rely on Blank’s experience, legal background and negotiating skills.

In any event, this latest development should push the Patriots to aggressively pursue a replacement for their star middle linebacker, who may sit out 2005 before deciding on his long-term future.

Back in June, Bruschi signed a four-year contract extension that’s worth $8.1 million and included a $3.5 signing bonus. If Bruschi retires, the unamortized signing bonus money would accelerate and count against this year’s cap, leaving the Patriots with $2.63 million in dead money for the player. His cap charge for 2005, if healthy, would be in the $1.6 million to $2 million range.

He could wait until June 1 to make any decision regarding retirement, and that would allow any cap acceleration to be spread out over two years leaving the club with a $1.3 million hit in 2005 and again in 2006. PFW
 

New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi chairs the sixth annual VHPC

Tedy Bruschi will ride alongside 400 cyclists for the sixth annual Volvo Hyannis Port Challenge (VHPC) on May 21.

The VHPC is a world-class, cycling fundraiser that takes riders from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston to the Kennedy Compound on Cape Cod. Celebrities and professional athletes join the ride's true stars - Best Buddies participants and supporters from across the nation who work year round to further the organization's mission to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment.
"I am honored to be a part of Best Buddies' Volvo Hyannis Port Challenge," said Bruschi. "I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than to participate in a great sporting event that brings people together to support an organization so influential in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities."
Riding for Rosemary
This year's VHPC is dedicated to Rosemary Kennedy, whose life prompted a global movement advancing the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. The eldest sister of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Rosemary, who died in January, inspired the creation of many important firsts in the field of intellectual disabilities, including the President's Committee on Mental Retardation.
Buddy Pairs, consisting of one rider with intellectual disabilities and a non-disabled partner, will attend the VHPC representing everywhere from Maryland to Ireland. The pairs will ride 90 miles on tandem bicycles to complete what will be for many of them their first experience participating in an athletic event of this magnitude and difficulty. Riders can rest and refuel at manned stops in Hingham, Duxbury, Plymouth and Sandwich, Massachusetts. The event culminates at President Kennedy's Hyannis Port home where a celebrity tandem race is followed by a lobster clambake and private concert performed by best-selling musical artist Ashanti.
Best Buddies International
Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,000 middle school, high school and college campuses across the country and internationally. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States. Furthermore, the organization has accredited international programs on six continents; with additional country programs under active development. Our six formal programs - Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, Jobs and e-Buddies - will positively impact more than 250,000 individuals this year. Best Buddies also is systemically implementing its 2010 initiative that will witness the organization's continued growth, both domestically and overseas.

The Dolphin - News - 04/28/2005 - New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi chairs the sixth annual VHPC

The interview appeared in the newsletter of the NA Public Schools, TRUE NORTH
----------------------------------------------
NORTH’S #1 PATRIOT
TEDY BRUSCHI


Michael Cavallaro, a fifth grade student at the Martin School, recently had the opportunity of a lifetime when he was granted an interview with New England Patriots player, Tedy Bruschi. Mr. Bruschi, an 2004-2005 All-Pro middle linebacker and North Attleboro resident, graciously gave of his time to thank the community for their well wishes and answer some thoughtful questions of an eleven year old.

M.C.: What’s your favorite memory as a child growing up in San Francisco, CA?

BRUSCHI: The city life, the ease of getting around on the bus and traveling around as a city kid. I just liked experiencing the city and hanging out with my buddies for the time that I was there until I moved at fourteen. I really enjoyed fishing at Pier 39 and crabbing with my brother. We really liked to do that.

M.C.: I noticed that you have a unique middle name, Lacap. Does it have any special meaning?

BRUSCHI: It happens to be my mother’s maiden name. Her name was Juanita Lacap before she married my dad. My sister, my brother and I all have the same middle name. It’s sort of a way of showing respect to your mother’s family. That way the Lacap name can live on.

M .C.: What’s your favorite pre-game meal?

BRUSCHI: A little filet mignon, a baked potato, broccoli and a glass of water. That’s pretty much my pre-game meal. A lot of times we eat at the hotel, but I don’t like to get really stuffed before a game. Sometimes I’ll add a little pasta, but a home my wife Heidi makes our family meal of steak with potato or rice and broccoli. It’s always broccoli, I don’t know why? It’s good .

M.C.: How do you get fired up before a game?

BRUSCHI: Some people listen to music, some people sort of bang around, I just sit in front my locker. In my locker are pictures of my kids and my family and I sort of look at them and draw my inspiration from them and I think about what I have to do. Then I say to myself, “ O.K., Daddy has to go to work and then I go take care of business.”

M .C.: Have you considered any other careers after football?

BRUSCHI: I am going to want to stay in football because that’s what I have been involved with my entire life. I do football better than anything else that I would probably do, whether it’s coaching or going into the media. Having graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in communications, maybe I will do some type of football commentating. I would really like to stay with an organization that I can experience football.

M.C.: What do you hope your children learn from you and your wife?

BRUSCHI: In general, that the most important thing in life is your family. That no matter, thick and thin, you can draw strength from them and no matter what they do their parents are going to be behind them. We hope we do a good job raising them to the point that when they do go out on their own, they can draw from the love we’ve given them and realize that we will always be there for them.

M .C.: I know you’re moving. Why did you choose to build in NA again? Is there something about this community?

BRUSCHI: North Attleboro’s my town. It’s just my town. I’ve been here since 1996 and I’m a guy that doesn’t like change too much. If it’s somewhere I like and somewhere I feel comfortable, why move somewhere else. You can sometimes think there’s somewhere better but I am very happy where I am. The community is very friendly and nice!! With my recent experience with my health and the wonderful marquis at Martin School that said “We love you 54.” It made me feel so good. I see it when I’m coming home. Why would I want to leave a town like this? It’s just been great to my family and me.

M.C.: How are you feeling today? How did you explain what happened to you to your children?

BRUSCHI: I’m feeling really good today, thanks for asking. I’m getting better. As far as how I explained it to my children...T.J., my 4 year old, asked what happened and I explained to him the best I could that Daddy got an “owwie” in his head. That’s the best I could do to explain it to him right now.


Mr. Bruschi was quick to add that first and foremost he thanks everyone for the well wishes and all the support during this time of recovery. He has found the amount of concern by the citizens of North Attleboro to be incredible and it has truly helped boost his spirits. Mr. Bruschi ‘s passion for the game, his family and the community is a true testament to the man that sat down to talk with me!! Thank you, Mr. Bruschi.

Bruschi tells kid newsie he's sticking with pigskin
By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa
Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - Updated: 03:02 PM EST

New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi has finally broken his post-stroke silence. And who got the exclusive interview with the sidelined linebacker? If you guessed ESPN or Sports Illustrated, you would be wrong.

The winner is: Michael Cavallaro, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at North Attleboro's Martin School!

``Well, I pretty much just asked if I could interview him and he said, `Oh, sure, why not,' '' Michael told the Track.

Although Bruschi didn't answer the money question - Will he play this season or sit it out? - he did give the pint-sized sports scribe insights on how he's doing since suffering a mild stroke Feb. 16. (Bruschi also reportedly had surgery to repair a hole in his heart in March.)


``I'm feeling really good today, thanks for asking,'' Bruschi told Cavallaro. ``I'm getting better.''

The enterprising young scoop also asked if Bruschi has considered any post-football career options and apparently, the Pro Bowler has been mulling over the matter.


``I am going to want to stay in football because that's what I have been involved with my entire life,'' Tedy told Michael. ``I do football better than anything else. . . . whether it’s coaching or going into the media. Having graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in communications, maybe I will do some type of football commentating.''


Michael said he copped his big scoop for the True North school newsletter after running into Bruschi at his dad's kitchen design studio in Plainville. Michael Sr.'s M.C. Designs is redoing the linebacker's kitchen and while Bruchi's bride, Heidi, picked out cabinets, young Michael seized the opportunity to chat up No. 54.


``He was probably bored,'' Michael told us. ``But I had brainstormed some questions and he didn't seem like he was having too much trouble answering them.''


Bruschi has refused all requests to discuss his health since being rushed to Mass. General Hospital in February. (Although he did speak to patriots.com about throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day at Fenway Park.)



But he told Michael he was really touched by the outpouring of support from his hometown, especially a marquee outside the Martin School that read, ``We Love You 54.''


``It made me feel so good. I see it when I'm coming home,'' he said. ``Why would I want to leave a town like this? It's just been great to my family and me.''


Our spies at Gillette Stadium say Tedy has been coming in a couple of times a week to work out, but the team hasn't been given any indication whether he'll be cleared for training camp come July.




``Tedy will make the right decision for him and his family and we're just waiting for him to make that decision,'' said team spokesguy Stacey James.


File under: Tedy Bared.
 

Pats' moves add up: Shed light on Tedy's future
By Michael Felger
Wednesday, May 11, 2005



Tedy Bruschi may have kept his silence regarding his football future, but the maneuverings of the Patriots over the past month could be doing the talking for him.


If actions speak louder than words, then it's clear the Pats have prepared themselves for life without Bruschi in 2005.


Bill Belichick will tell you not to read anything into any one personnel decision, but when you string a series of moves together as the Pats have at inside linebacker recently, it's hard to come to any other conclusion.


The signings of free agents Monty Beisel and Chad Brown (whose deal has yet to be officially announced) were not scrap-heap pickups. Both players are big, versatile and experienced, prerequisites to playing inside in the 3-4. Second-tier free agent Wesley Mallard was added for depth and special teams. The Pats have also talked with free agent Anthony Simmons. And the drafting of Ryan Claridge not only brought more depth, it was a noticeable departure for Belichick, who avoided the inside linebacker position over his first five Patriots drafts.


The Pats are also factoring in the release of fellow inside linebacker Roman Phifer in February (even though Phifer's locker stall remains intact at Gillette Stadium). But in signing Beisel and Brown, the Pats added starting-quality linebackers, not rotational players.


Meanwhile, word is that Bruschi has been cleared by doctors to run, lift and break a sweat. He's been at Gillette Stadium regularly for workouts. The fact that Bruschi has received such clearance so soon after his mild stroke on Feb. 16 (not to mention a reported procedure to repair a hole in his heart in March) is an excellent sign for his overall well-being. Sources say a return to the NFL has not been categorically ruled out by Bruschi's doctors.


In other words, whether to attempt to play or not rests with Bruschi and his family, and Bruschi is said to be taking all the time he needs to get to a point (mentally and physically) where he can best make that decision. He hasn't tipped his hand to anyone.


``If you look at what he's accomplished over the last nine years, if you look at his career and what he's meant to this team, if he decided he didn't want to play I don't think anyone would have anything but support for him,'' quarterback Tom Brady said. ``And the support would be there the other way, too, because I know there are guys who would like to see him back.


``Tedy is the only person who knows what he's doing,'' Brady added. ``He and his wife and family. But the bottom line is that he's got 100 percent support from us whatever he does.''


Bruschi will have to reach a decision by the opening of training camp, July 27. That's when the Pats would include him on the 80-man roster or place him on a pre-camp PUP or a non-football injury list. In all likelihood, his decision will be reached before then. No one expects to see Bruschi on the field when the Pats hold their mandatory minicamp June 10-12.


The Pats have covered themselves in the meantime. Beisel said he is already in the process of putting on 5-10 pounds so he can get into the 245-pound range and better stand up to guards as a first-down linebacker. He's been studying the defense in the film rooms with veteran (and incumbent starter) Ted Johnson.


As for Brown, there's no doubt the three-time Pro Bowler is coming to New England to play, not ride the bench. He wouldn't have turned down offers in New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Denver otherwise. It's a fair bet assurances have been made. Steelers coach Bill Cowher said as much after Brown called to notify him of his intentions to sign with the Pats.


``I very much understand the opportunity (Brown) has in New England,'' said Cowher. ``With the uncertainty of Tedy Bruschi, I think they're looking at an opportunity for him to go there and step into the lineup.''
DailyNewsTranscript.com - Sports Coverage: Pats' moves add up: Shed light on Tedy's future

Peter King, Monday Morning QB, Tuesday Edition

5/10/05

Mailbag:

KING, YOU ARE A MANAGEMENT LACKEY. From Terry Brown of Chicago: "Nothing gets me crazier than your repeated endorsement of players taking less than they deserve 'for the sake of the team.' What a load of nonsense! In fact, the Tedy Bruschi story is exactly why they should fight for every dime. If that poor guy can never play again, are you telling me he couldn't use the couple of million more of signing bonus he could have received from a team willing to pay fair value? Let us know the next time you waive a raise from SI so they can use the money to retain other great writers and beat the pants off of ESPN. What a joke!!''

Fair enough, Terry. But there are two things you're forgetting. One: Bruschi wasn't a free agent last year. He would have been one this year. He did his contract with the Patriots last summer, before the final year of his old deal expired. So he actually earned a signing bonus before last season. Had he been a free agent this year, he wouldn't have earned a dime from anyone until the team verified he'd be healthy enough to play. So by signing the "undervalued'' contract last year, Bruschi actually made more money than if he'd gotten stiffed this spring. Two: In baseball, contracts for, say, Yankees players exist in a vacuum. What Gary Sheffield gets really has no bearing on Jaret Wright's salary, because George Steinbrenner can afford it if he can stomach the luxury tax. In football, what Tom Brady earns absolutely has a bearing on what his teammates make. By Brady taking less than he could have, the Patriots can build a better team. Do you not see that?

MORE PATRIOT FALLOUT. From Russell Levine of West Orange: "Peter, love your writing and usually agree with your opinions. While I concur that Tom Brady is in a perfect situation and may have been wise to sign the deal he did, I can't say the same about Bruschi. If he can never play again, do you think some small part of him might wish he'd taken the money that was out there in free agency? I'm sure he'd say no, but if the stroke leaves him unable to play, he'll be figuring out how to live the rest of his life on a contract that was half as big as it could be. We love team-first guys who show they aren't just about the money, but it doesn't mean it was necessarily the right decision.''

Russell, see my answer to the question above. And understand, too, that Bruschi is a normal guy. I talked to him at the Super Bowl about it and he knew that he was making a life choice by taking less to stay in an ideal situation. It was tough to leave money on the table, but he knows he's dependent on others to win.


SI.com - Writers - Peter King's MMQBTE: Browns' Winslow deserves pay cut after accident - Tuesday May 10, 2005 4:20PM

Brown on verge of return; Bruschi remains uncertain

12:41 PM EDT on Monday, May 23, 2005

BY TOM E. CURRAN
Journal Sports Writer

Troy Brown may be back with the Patriots as early as tomorrow. Tedy Bruschi still doesn't know what he's going to do.

Bill Belichick, a commencement speaker yesterday at his alma mater, Wesleyan University, indicated that Brown, the longtime wide receiver the Pats released in February, would be back with the team.

Tomorrow, a passing camp begins at Gillette Stadium and Brown will likely be there, according to team sources.

Meanwhile, Bruschi told WBZ-TV of Boston yesterday that he still doesn't know if he'll play again.

Asked how he was doing, Bruschi, who suffered a stroke 10 days after the Super Bowl, said, "How do I look? I'm doing fine, I'm doing great. That's the question people want answered, 'What am I gonna do?' That's a big decision I'm not going to rush to make. At this point, I'm trying to get my health back. I'm feeling great. In the season, we take it one day at a time, and this is how I'm taking this decision."

Bruschi confirmed that he's been at Gillette working out. When asked what his conversations with Belichick have consisted of, Bruschi said, "It's about football; it's about life."

"I'm going in (to the stadium), getting my health back in order, working out, and that's my step right now -- just testing myself physically, seeing where I am, seeing where I am tomorrow," he said.

Bruschi also said that sitting out this season and returning in 2006 was an option.

Bruschi's agent, Brad Blank, said in March there was a possibility that Bruschi would sit out the 2005 season and return in 2006. Bruschi, who had not had an agent since his rookie season and negotiated his own contracts, hired Blank after the stroke.

"That's one of the options. I have a lot of options," Bruschi said yesterday.

Bruschi is scheduled to earn $850,000 in 2005, $1.35 million in 2006 and $1.70 million in the final year of his contract. His deal would be voided if he retires, but he could earn his full salary if the team elects to place him on the physically unable to perform list.

The Patriots originally released Brown in a contract move. He renegotiated during last offseason and his 2005 salary cap hit was slated to be massive. Brown wasn't warm to the Patriots' contract offers for this season, so he entered the open market. As it turned out, there was almost no interest in Brown. Only the Saints and Panthers reportedly made efforts to speak with him.

Earlier this offseason, the chances of his return were deemed by sources to be "remote." With the team signing free-agent wide receivers David Terrell and Tim Dwight, it seemed that Brown's chances of coming back for a 14th year with New England were even more dim.

Seen at a Celtics-Pacers playoff game early this month, Brown gave no indication he would be back with the team, saying he was, "Just chillin'."

What prompted the Pats to bring him in from the cold is unclear. Perhaps it's the fact that Dwight has been injury-prone the past two years and Terrell is still a bit of a wild card after four somewhat tumultuous seasons in Chicago.

Brown saw his role with the offense diminish in 2004 as he caught just 17 balls. But the team put him to work in the secondary as a cornerback and he acquitted himself pretty well as the season wore on.

The Associated Press contributed to this report
Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal | Patriots

Inside the NFL: Coming Back?
As he makes one more run in '05, the Steelers' Jerome Bettis hopes to see the Pats' Tedy Bruschi across the line
By Peter King

It was the first play of the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field. The Patriots led the Steelers 31-17, but Pittsburgh had a first-and-goal at the New England four-yard line. On three occasions earlier in the game, Jerome Bettis, the fifth-leading rusher in NFL history, had met Patriots linebacker and leader extraordinaire Tedy Bruschi mano a mano, with Bruschi stopping Bettis after gains of just three, one and two yards.

Bettis, at 5'11" and 255 pounds, is the best jumbo back in NFL history; Bruschi, at 6'1" and 245, is smallish for an inside linebacker. This time Bettis, the centerpiece of the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack, tried to power behind Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca, and you-know-who was there to meet him. Bruschi stopped Bettis for a one-yard gain, and three plays later the Steelers settled for a field goal. New England went on to win 41-27.

"What I recall about that day is that Tedy made some pretty big plays throughout the game," Bettis said last Saturday from his Pittsburgh home. "He's incredible. As much as you might say he's this or that, or he's too small, he's the kind of guy who's always in the right place, who makes plays that help his team win every game. Selfishly, I hope I get another chance to compete against him this year."

Achy knees and all, Bettis, 33, will be back for a 13th and final NFL season. He decided recently that he felt good enough to play this fall, as long as he could split the rushing job with Duce Staley and not be relied on to carry the ball 300 times (including the playoffs he had 294 rushing attempts last season), and his decision was cemented when he didn't get a firm offer to work as a TV analyst. That's where the glib Bettis hopes his future lies. But now the question is, Will he get his wish and collide with Bruschi on Sept. 25 when the two teams meet in Pittsburgh for the third time in 11 months?

Bruschi suffered a mild stroke on Feb. 16, two days after a 13-hour flight home from the Pro Bowl. Though they can't be sure, doctors think that dehydration, brought on in part by the long flight, in addition to head trauma from his job, may have played a part in the stroke. In March he also underwent a procedure to close a hole in his heart. Bruschi, who turns 32 on June 9, has said he is undecided about his football future and noted in a public appearance on May 21 in Boston that he wasn't sure when he would make his decision whether to play.

But those who saw him at that appearance were encouraged about how good and football-fit he looked. "I'm feeling great," he told reporters. Bruschi's primary neurologist has reportedly cleared him to play. Now, after he appeared to be leaning toward retirement early in the off-season, Bruschi seems to be thinking hard about playing again.

Though the Patriots stocked their roster in the off-season with veteran free-agent linebackers Monty Beisel, Chad Brown and Wesly Mallard, they didn't do it to push Bruschi into retirement, but as an insurance policy. Expect the mystery to last until close to the start of New England's training camp, in late July. Bruschi, who, following his stroke, hired an agent after previously handling his own contract negotiations, is in no hurry to make his decision, and the Patriots aren't pushing. Bruschi probably could have a job in the team's front office if he decides to retire. And owner Bob Kraft has even brought up the case of Panthers linebacker Mark Fields when discussing Bruschi's situation. Fields was stricken with Hodgkin's disease in 2003, missed the season while recovering, then earned Pro Bowl honors last fall. So another possibility would have Bruschi recuperating this year with an eye toward playing in 2006.

 

Peter King's  Far From Finished

06/06/05

Now for the biggest question: linebacker Tedy Bruschi. If he doesn't return, the Patriots will sorely miss his leadership, though he likely will be working with the organization in some capacity this year. His replacement could well be Monty Beisel, the free-agent inside 'backer signed from Kansas City. Beisel's no franchise player. But the Giants had a Beisel type a generation ago named Gary Reasons. Not a famous guy, particularly when his peers were Harry Carson, Carl Banks and Lawrence Taylor. But he was in the middle of 20 plays a game, fighting and clawing and being a factor. You need Beisels to help you win in the NFL -- guys who might start some, guys who might be special-teamers. Guys who win. If the Patriots are right on Beisel, he'll be an asset with or without Bruschi on the team.

TEN THINGS I THINK I THINK

5. I think a little birdie called me a few days ago with some interesting thoughts. I wrote last week that I thought Tedy Bruschi would be back with the Patriots this year. Just a gut feeling. And the little birdie -- I stole that from Myron Cope -- told me he thought it was a wise thing to write. "Tedy's playing," the little birdie told me. "Mark it down." Well, OK. But in the immortal words of Bill Parcells, I reserve the right to change my mind. I think he's playing, but I'm not betting the mortgage on it.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=cnnsi-farfromfinished&prov=cnnsi&type=lgns

Bruschi sits this one out: LB has eye on future
By Michael Felger
Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - Updated: 02:00 AM EST

Tedy Bruschi may not be on the field this weekend when the Patriots [stats, news] hold their only mandatory on-field camp of the offseason, but that doesn't change the big picture.


The linebacker's status for 2005 remains very much up in the air.

Bruschi, who suffered a mild stroke Feb. 16 and reportedly underwent a procedure to repair a hole in his heart in March, is not expected to take part in the minicamp. While the veteran inside linebacker has been cleared by doctors to work out at Gillette Stadium, Bruschi was not actively involved in the recent full-squad passing camp, and that's not expected to change when practices resume tomorrow in Foxboro.

However, sources say Bruschi's level of participation this weekend should not be taken as a harbinger of his plans for this year. As Bruschi said two weeks ago, he is taking his time with his decision. Nothing has to be officially determined until training camp begins in late July, which is when the Pats will have to include Bruschi on the 80-man roster or put him on a non-football injury list or preseason physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Bruschi's condition is said to have steadily improved, and sources say that he continues to weigh all of his options, including playing this year. Most importantly, doctors have not categorically ruled out a return to football for Bruschi, who turns 32 tomorrow.

Bruschi's agent, Brad Black, declined comment.

One thing is for certain: The Pats have covered themselves while Bruschi contemplates his future. Whatever happens, they'll be well-stocked at inside linebacker in 2005 - and this weekend will provide the media (the practices are not open to the public) their first glimpse at the Pats' revamped lineup.

The marquee free agent signing came the second week of May, when the Pats inked Chad Brown. The Pats outmaneuvered at least three teams to land the three-time Pro Bowler, so Brown figures to play a prominent role in the defense this year regardless of Bruschi's status.

Brown's signing came three weeks after the Pats made their initial move by landing Monty Beisel. While Beisel was a situational player with Kansas City, he has the frame to play at 250 pounds and start next to Ted Johnson [news] in the 3-4. And at 26, Beisel projects as the future.

BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots: Bruschi sits this one out: LB has eye on future

Ask PFW: A little bit of this and that

By Bryan Morry, Patriots Football Weekly Editor

Hey guys, you really help cheer me up in the offseason. Keep up the good work!!! My first question is that I see we have 101 players listed on the team is that a high amount compared to other teams at this time of year? My second question is have you any new insight about Bruschi, especially since peter king says he heard from a little bird that Bruschi is going to play? Bruschi’s health is first but that aside I want to see him lead us to another championship! GO PATS!!!
Alty

The Pats have 91 players listed on the roster as of Tuesday, June 7 and will have to be down to 86 by training camp. The reason they can be over now is that the draft picks have yet to sign contracts. As they do, some players will have to be released. As far as Tedy, I don’t talk to any small birds, but I have believed since speaking with Tedy in mid-April that he would play this season. He said nothing that day at Fenway Park to indicate that he would or wouldn’t play, but I just came away from that conversation thinking that if you didn’t know he had a stroke, you wouldn’t have known. He seemed like the same energetic Bruschi to me and knowing him as I think I do as a football player, if he is cleared to play by doctors, then he will line up and strap ’em on.

Official Website of the New England Patriots

Thursday, June 09, 2005
Tedy Bruschi and New England's Defensive Woes.
The New England Patriots know that they have a problem and they know that it’s big.

On February 16th, LB Tedy Bruschi, the closest thing the Pats have to a superstar on the defensive side of the ball, had a mild stroke. About a month later he had surgery to repair a hole in his heart. He’s also 32 years old. Young for we non-NFL playing humans, but that’s Shady Acres for guys like Bruschi who make their living on the field.

So Tedy’s options seem limited at best. Attempt to come back this season and almost certainly be at less than optimum health -- guaranteeing a loss of his starting job and a drastic slip in performance -- or sit out of football for a year and try to come back in ‘06 at the age of 33.

In early May the Pats signed 34 year old LB Chad Brown away from the Seattle Seahawks, hoping he can step in and take over for Bruschi. So let’s do a little head to head and see how the two stack up.

Last season Bruschi played in and started 16 games, made 120 tackles (76 solo, and ranked 2nd on the team), had 2 forced fumbles and 3 INTs on a team that ranked 9th overall defensively.

Over the past 3 seasons Bruschi has missed 5 games. (all in ‘03).

In ‘05 Brown played in and started 7 games, had 37 tackles (26 solo, and ranked 15th on the team), 1 forced fumble and 0 INTs on a team that ranked 26th in overall defense.

Over the past 3 seasons Brown has missed 19 games (8 in ‘03, 2 in ‘04, 9 in ‘05).

If Brown could have stayed healthy and on the field all season last year, he’d still only have made about 84 tackles, which would have put him at 3rd on his team.

Brown is older than Bruschi. Brown is less talented than Bruschi. Brown is far less durable than Bruschi has been.

Brown is not going to step in and replace Bruschi.

If Brown can’t get the job done and gets pulled for a younger guy, who steps in to pick up the slack? Will it be Monty Beisel who wasn’t even good enough to stick around in KC where they finished last season ranked 31st overall defensively and are in desperate need of quality players at every defensive position?

The Pats desperation has led them to snatch every scrap LB they can find. They currently have 15 bodies in the LB stock room and one of them is Bruschi. You can bet that even head coach Bill Belichick isn’t quite sure where help is coming from. He’s just signing the guys who will play cheap and crossing his fingers.

Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is gone, moved on to a well deserved head coaching job of his own in Cleveland. Will his replacement, former DB coach Eric Mangini, match Crennel’s ability to teach and motivate?

 

I’m betting that things have worn a little too thin and the Pats are in for a serious drop off in defensive production. Don’t expect another title in ‘06. New England will be lucky to just make the playoffs.

The Post Game:The Best Damn Sports Blog ... Period


Brown ready to step in

BY MARK FARINELLA / SUN CHRONICLE STAFF

FOXBORO -- You'd figure that no matter what the future holds for Tedy Bruschi, Chad Brown is going to get his share of playing time in the New England Patriots' linebacking corps.

But Brown, one of the Patriots' newest additions, said he's learned from personal observation that it's not yet time to count Bruschi out.
``You don't come to meetings and you don't lift weights if you're not going to try to keep playing,'' Brown said Thursday at the start of the Patriots' three-day minicamp. ``That's the most boring part of football. It's fun to come out to practice and play and run around with the guys, but he's doing the most difficult part, sitting in meetings, which is boring, and lifting weights by himself, which is also tough. It's got to require some internal motivation.''

Bruschi was one of three veteran Patriots not present for the start of minicamp, the others being defensive tackle Richard Seymour (``unexcused,'' according to Patriots' coach Bill Belichick) and wide receiver Bethel Johnson (undisclosed). Although Bruschi has received medical clearance to work out at the stadium in the wake of the stroke he suffered in February, he still has not received clearance to practice or play.

Brown, a 12-year veteran who signed a two-year, $4 million contract early last month, said that just by listening to Bruschi in meetings, his own adaptation to the Patriots' defensive system has gotten a big boost.


The Sun Chronicle NewspaperThe Sun Chronicle Newspaper


Bruschi also absent
By JIMMY GOLEN, Associated Press writer

FOXBORO -- Richard Seymour wasn't the only recognizable face missing from Patriots mini-camp yesterday. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who had a stroke last winter after New England won its third NFL title in four years, was also not present as the season opened.
Linebacker Monte Beisel said, however, that Bruschi has been active behind the scenes.
"He's been a part of all of our meetings and he's definitely been there as part of the core," Beisel said. "He's one of the guys. He's there to help people out if they have a question."
Bruschi has not said whether he will try to play this year. Belichick would not elaborate.
"I don't think it's my place or anybody else's place to comment or speak for him, so I wouldn't attempt to do that," the coach said. "When he has something to add, if he has something to add, then I'm sure he'll do it."

Bruschi also absent: 6/ 10/ 2005



A friend indeed

Chad Brown called his first day of practice complex, but the former Seattle Seahawks linebacker said teammate Tedy Bruschi has helped ease the learning curve.

''The defensive coordinator starts each meeting with about 20 minutes of questions. Not us asking him questions, him asking us questions," Brown said. ''Tedy's been able to whisper in my ear and help me answer some of those questions."

Brown, who signed as a free agent in May, also said Bruschi is ''totally mentally into it" during meetings and credited his commitment to lifting weights on his own and attending meetings.

Quiet approach is being taken - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Patriots - Sports



Gimino: Decision time near for Bruschi
ANTHONY GIMINO
Tucson Citizen


The Pats' linebacker, a no-go to their minicamp this week, has to decide whether stroke will keep him from playing.Ex-Arizona Wildcat Tedy Bruschi will not participate in the New England Patriots' minicamp this week, but his mind is still in the game.

Bruschi, who suffered a mild stroke in February, is "totally mentally into it," new teammate Chad Brown told the Boston Globe. Brown, signed in May from Seattle, could end up replacing Bruschi at middle linebacker.

"The defensive coordinator starts each meeting with about 20 minutes of questions. Not us asking him questions, him asking us questions," Brown told the Globe. "Tedy's been able to whisper in my ear and help me answer some of those questions."

Bruschi, who has been cleared to work out but not practice, likely won't make a decision about playing this season until training camp in July, when the team would need to make a roster move.

Bruschi is not a halfway kind of guy, so if he does decide to play, he'll be all in, as shown by his dedication in the weight room and to offseason meetings.

"For him to come back would be pretty remarkable," quarterback Tom Brady told reporters. "But for anyone to be able to do it, it would be Tedy."

Gimino: Decision time near for Bruschi



N.E. PATRIOTS MINICAMP: THIS IS NO HANGING CHAD - Incoming linebacker aggressive, big-play guy

By ERIC McHUGH
The Patriot Ledger

FOXBORO - Apply intense pressure to some objects - a quart of ice cream, a tube of toothpaste - and you're soon reaching for the mop and paper towels. Apply pressure (OK, figuratively, not literally) to Tedy Bruschi, and you're in for confetti and parades.

A game-turning interception taken to the house? A momentum-altering forced fumble? A big stop when you absolutely, positively have to have one?

Done, done and done.

Big plays in big spots have become Bruschi's career signature. Ever wonder how he does it? Chad Brown knows.

‘‘You're able to push the moment out of your head and focus on what (the opponent is) trying to do and what you're trying to do to them,'' Brown said. ‘‘Typically, offenses and defenses - particularly offenses - in those types of situations have a call they go to. If you watch enough film, if you've prepared yourself, you can remember what they're going to go to and make that play.''

Brown, the latest addition to the New England Patriots' staggeringly deep linebacking corps (he signed as a free agent on May 10), made one such play in the 1990 Orange Bowl by forcing a fumble that led to the winning touchdown. Presto! Colorado beats Notre Dame to become national champions.

Some 16 years later, Brown admits that play still stands as his best individual moment.

Considering that Brown, 34, might have to fill Bruschi's shoes if Bruschi can't return from the stroke he suffered in February, Patriots fans might feel a little uneasy. As in: You mean the new guy hasn't made a big play since college?

Of course, that's not true. You don't go to three Pro Bowls and rack up 78 career sacks - the most among active NFL linebackers - without having some flair for the dramatic. But remember that Brown played on mostly drab Seahawks teams since winning an AFC crown with the Steelers in 1995. And without a grand stage and high stakes, important plays don't get blown up into truly memorable Big Plays.

Another point to keep in mind: Anybody's big-play resume would pale in comparison to Bruschi's. Nothing to be ashamed of there.

‘‘Watching from afar, it's definitely impressive,'' Brown said of Bruschi's impeccable timing. ‘‘When they needed a play, he always came up with it. You wonder how does that continue to happen. It's not just luck. It (says) something about the guy who makes those plays.''

What it says, Brown figured, was that Bruschi was diligent in his preparation. Now that they're on the same side, Brown has confirmed his suspicions. ‘‘Sitting next to him in the meetings, I can see why (he's successful). He's a smart guy. He knows exactly what's expected of him. He knows what the offense is trying to do to him. They'll bring up a call and he'll say, ‘That's what we ran against the Rams two years ago.' What enables him to make those plays is his understanding of the defense. I'm trying to get some of that.''

The good new for Bruschi rooters is that Brown thinks your man is still focused on playing, even though Bruschi isn't suiting up for this minicamp. Brown's reasoning: ‘‘You don't come to meetings and lift weights if you're not going to try to keep playing. That's the most boring part of football.''

ESPN reported last night that, according to sources who have reviewed Bruschi's latest medical records, he has been cleared to work out but not to practice or play football.

Should Bruschi return, the Patriots would have an embarrassment of riches at linebacker with as many as seven players eminently capable (deserving, even) of starting. Brown, an articulate, decorated veteran, would be one of them. In fact, he has started all 147 games in which he has appeared since his second season in the NFL.

He isn't lacking in confidence, but right now he's lying low until he gets up to speed. Since the Patriots' defense is more quantum physics than Introduction to Playground Supervision, it's been a slow process. Brown calls the new system ‘‘complex'' and laments that there was no carryover in terminology from his Seattle defense. But you can tell he's more excited than intimidated by his new assignment.

‘‘(They) attempt to have a defensive answer for everything the offense does,'' he marveled. ‘‘In the past, (in Seattle) we'd say, ‘Well, hopefully they don't run that' or ‘That's just going to be a tough play for us.' They don't say that here. They have an answer for everything. It's my job to learn that answer.''

It's the Patriots' job, in turn, to figure out how best to utilize Brown's talents. If he and fellow free agent Monty Beisel are to replace Bruschi, that will mean Brown will be pitching his tent at inside linebacker. That might mean less pass-rushing than he's done previously - this is a guy who had 13 sacks for the 1996 Steelers - but Brown says he's OK with that.

He'd probably be OK with anything at this point. The mediocrity in Seattle (66-62 overall in eight seasons) combined with a rash of injuries the last three years might have dulled his football senses. He thinks he can sharpen them again.

‘‘Awkward at first,'' he said of uprooting himself at a ripe old age. ‘‘Where do I park? Then invigorating. I kind of feel like a rookie. After being in Seattle for eight years ... there's a sense of comfort. To step out of yourself and your comfort level and try a whole new challenge is invigorating.''

Copyright 2005 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Friday, June 10, 2005


Bruschi speaks at ring ceremony
By Bryan Morry, Patriots Football Weekly editor

Tedy Bruschi was in good spirits after receiving his third championship ring and he addressed the media. Here is the Q&A.

Tedy Bruschi spoke about his newest ring and about his health at the Patriots Super Bowl championship ring celebration Sunday night.

Question: You approved the ring, I hear?
Bruschi: I’m the one player who got a sneak peak. I had seen the 2001 ring early and last year’s ring so I had to keep the tradition. Mr. Kraft let me see it early again.

Question: What do you think?
Bruschi: It’s my favorite of the three. And believe me, I’m a sentimental type of guy and the first one will always have a special place in my heart, but this one is my new favorite. You look at the second one and it’s enormous, but this one … it’s big, but it’s done right and it’s always the one I’ll wear.

Question: What’s life like for you right now?
Bruschi: I’m just taking my time and making sure things are right and just living one day at a time.

Question: Have you set a timetable?
Bruschi: That’s the thing. The organization has been so supportive of me. I’m not pressured with any timetable. My family and I are worried about my health and we’re just making sure I’m getting better and that’s the only thing we’re focusing on right now.

Question: Does three rings make it easier to take your time?
Bruschi: Absolutely not because football is football to me. It’s something I love and is something I’ll always want to do. But I have to think about my wife and my sons and make sure things are right.

Question: Can you talk about what you’ve been cleared to do?
Bruschi: I’d rather not talk about that.

Question: The new linebackers have talked about how helpful you’ve been in meetings.
Bruschi: Yes I was in meetings. It’s a defense I’ve been a part of for years. I know the ins and outs like the back of my hand. I know what Bill’s going to call before he calls it. I know Eric and I know how he’s going to handle things so if I can give them a couple of tips while I’m just in meetings right now, I’ll do that.

Question: Did it feel odd to miss mini-camp?
Bruschi: Absolutely. It is odd not participating in the mini-camp, but like I said, there are more important things and I have to worry about those right now.

Question: Is there a fourth ring in your future?
Bruschi: A lot of things have to happen. Even before I talk about that, I’d talk about the next practice or the next meeting or the next game. That’s how I’d handle that.

Question: What are these nights like? Are you an emotional guy?
Bruschi: I’m very emotional and, shoot, I’ve been emotional for the last six month, and tonight I was also emotional. This is special to me to be around the guys and the families and see the kids running around. It’s a lot of fun.

Question: Is the ring special for the symbolism rather than just all the diamonds?
Bruschi: This symbolizes fighting to stay awake in meetings, pushing yourself in the weight room, sucking it up for those three hour practices and going out and giving it everything you have on game day. I see all of that. I experience all of that. I hear the fans when I look at this. I smell the grass. All of that. It’s all encapsulated into this ring.

Question: With all you’ve been through, does the ring have special meaning?
Bruschi: Yes. It’s been a tough year so far. It’s been a roller coaster. My son being born, winning the Super Bowl, going through what I’ve gone through having the stroke. So it’s an emotional roller coaster. Coming here and celebrating the accomplishments of last year makes me feel special. … But I feel great and I’m doing well.

Official Website of the New England Patriots



Pats ring in 3rd title: Bruschi, mates get latest bling

By Rich Thompson
Monday, June 13, 2005 - Updated: 04:16 AM EST

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi left owner Robert Kraft's Brookline estate last night with a heavy right hand.

Bruschi has been an integral part of the team's three Super Bowl titles in the past four seasons, and is one of 20 players have been present for all three celebrations. He also was a rookie when the team lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI in 1997.

Last night, he and his mates received their latest reward, the championship rings from their 24-21 win against the Philadelphia Eagles.

``This is my favorite of the three, and believe me, I'm a sentimental type of guy, and the first one will always have a special place in my heart,'' Bruschi said.

The third-edition rings are adorned with 124 diamonds and weigh 4.06 ounces. They are the largest NFL championship rings ever issued. A total of 21 diamonds surround the Patriot logo, a symbol of the team's NFL-record 21-game winning streak which ended last season. Replicas of the Pats' three Lombardi Trophies from 2001, '03 and '04 crown the Flying Elvis along with the final score of this year's Super Bowl.

``This one is my new favorite,'' Bruschi said. ``You look at the second one, and it is so enormous, but this one is bigger and done right, and it's probably the one I'll wear.''

Bruschi attended but did not participate in last weekend's minicamp at Gillette Stadium. After playing in the first Pro Bowl of his career, Bruschi suffered a mild stroke Feb. 16 that has put his playing career in jeopardy.

Bruschi said he is under no pressure from the organization to make a decision until training camp opens July 24.

``Life for me is just taking my time and making sure things are right one day at a time,'' Bruschi said. ``The organization has been so supportive, and I'm not pressured with any timetable.

``My family and I are worried about my health, and we are just making sure I'm getting better. Football is something I love and I want to do, but I have to think about my wife and my sons to make sure everything is right.'

Patriots tailback Corey Dillon played only one part in the team's three-ring circus, but that made last night even more special for him.

After seven fruitless seasons with the Bengals, a championship was a welcome sight. Dillon loved his new jewelry, and everything it represents.

``There have been a lot of things in my life that haven't been bright, but tonight, this is a bright spot in my life. I want to thank the Kraft family and my teammates just for taking me in and making me one of the guys. I put this up there with the birth of my child and my wedding to my wonderful wife.''

BostonHerald.com - New England Patriots & NFL: Pats ring in 3rd title: Bruschi, mates get latest bling


Tedy Bruschi suffered a mild stroke last February.
John Biever/SI

Pats' Bruschi patient about future

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) -- Tedy Bruschi flashed his three Super Bowl rings, an honor achieved by few NFL players.

That doesn't help him accept that his health may keep him from trying for a fourth.

"Football to me, it's something I love and it's something I'll always want to do," the Patriots linebacker said Sunday night, "but I've got to think about my wife and my sons and just make sure things are right."

Bruschi suffered a mild stroke last February, 10 days after New England beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 for its third NFL championship in four years. He has attended team meetings and worked out in the Patriots' weight room but didn't practice during the three-day minicamp that ended Saturday.

On May 21, he said that one of his options was sitting out the 2005 season and returning in 2006. He shed no more light on that Sunday, as he stood in the huge backyard of team owner Robert Kraft's home after a private dinner and ceremony during which players received their Super Bowl rings.

"It's been a tough year so far," Bruschi said three days after his 32nd birthday. "It's been a roller coaster (with) my son being born, winning the Super Bowl, going through what I've gone through, having this stroke and so its been an emotional roller coaster.

"Coming here and then celebrating this tonight and celebrating the accomplishments of last year really makes me feel special."

Defensive end Richard Seymour also attended the event after sitting out the mandatory minicamp. He had previously complained about his contract, but declined to talk about that or whether he would attend training camp that starts July 24.

Bruschi spoke publicly for the second time about the stroke and his uncertain future. Coach Bill Belichick has declined to discuss that, referring all questions to Bruschi.

The linebacker played a major role in the team's success and is grateful for its patience with him.

"The organization has been so supportive for me," he said. "I'm not pressured with any timetable. My family and I are worried about my health and we're just making sure I'm getting better and that's the only thing we're focusing on right now."

He declined to say what he's been cleared to do and said it was "odd" not to practice in minicamp. Chad Brown, a linebacker signed as a free agent, has said Bruschi has helped him learn the complex defensive system.

"I know the ins and outs like the back of my hand, I know what Bill's going to call before he calls it," Bruschi said.

His salary for 2005 is $850,000 and he's scheduled to make $1.35 million in 2006 and $1.7 million in the final year of his contract. That deal would be voided if he retires, but he could earn his full salary if the team puts him on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Bruschi has more important things to worry about.

"I'm just taking my time, making sure things are right and just living one day at a time," he said.

On Sunday, at least, things were right for Bruschi as a band played, spouses danced and teammates sang karaoke.

"I'm very emotional," he said. "Shoot, I've been emotional for the last six months."

Seymour, chosen for three Pro Bowls in his four seasons, also focused on the celebration and not his contract, a six-year, $14.3 million deal with two years left.

"I'm not discussing anything like that," he said about reporting to training camp. "It's a night of champions and I'm here to celebrate as a champion and, hopefully, we can celebrate again."

He said he loves the Patriots organization and planned to stay in shape, although he didn't say where he would work out.

Despite Belichick's statement that his absence from minicamp was "unexcused," Seymour said it was "very important" to be at the ring ceremony.

"I know how to separate things," he said. "I wanted to be here with my teammates."

SI.com - NFL - Patriots' Bruschi is patient about future - Monday June 13, 2005 10:47AM



Inside Slant 6/18

Tedy Bruschi wore three Super Bowl rings across his hand and a big smile across his face.
"It's my favorite of the three and believe me, I'm a sentimental type of guy and the first one will always have a special place in my heart." Bruschi said, "but this one is my new favorite. It's the one I'll wear.
"This symbolizes fighting to stay awake in meetings, pushing yourself in the weight room, sucking it up for those three-hour practices and going out and giving it all you have on game day. I see all of that. I experience all of that. I hear the fans when I look at the ring. I smell the grass."
But Bruschi still doesn't know if he will be tackling ball carriers on that grass this fall, his future still uncertain after a mid-February stroke left his career in limbo.
"I'm just taking my time and making sure things are right and just living one day at a time," Bruschi explained. "The organization has been so supportive of me. I'm not pressured with any timetable. My family and I are worried about my health and we're just making sure I'm getting better and that's the only thing we're focusing on right now."
From an appearance standpoint, Bruschi looks, acts and speaks the same way he did before suffering the stroke. He is reportedly working out regularly at Gillette Stadium, although the details of those workouts are unknown. Asked what he has been cleared to do, Bruschi said, "I'd rather not talk about that."
But the Patriots emotional defensive leader and playmaker is in the meetings helping newcomers like Monty Beisel and Chad Brown learn the complex defensive system.
"It's a defense I've been a part of for years," Bruschi said. "I know the ins and outs like the back of my hand. I know what Bill (Belichick) is going to call before he calls it. I know Eric (Mangini) and I know how he's going to handle things. So if I can give them a couple of tips while I'm just in meetings right now, I'll do that."


AFC EAST: Key questions heading into camp
Adrian Hasenmayer / FOXSports.com

Is this the year the Patriots' dynasty ends?


That's a risky bet, to say the least. This is Team Perfect, with Captain America Tom Brady at quarterback making all the right moves and mastermind head coach Bill Belichick pulling the strings.

Bill Belichick will wear yet another hat as gameday play-caller on offense. (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

But this season may pose the Pats their stiffest challenge yet as New England will likely be missing three key ingredients to their winning ways of the past few years.

Offensive coordinator: So long, Charlie Weis. Hello, umm, Bill Belichick?

For the start of the season, yes, it will be head coach and defensive guru Bill Belichick calling the plays from the sideline as the Patriots have still not yet named an offensive coordinator to replace Weis and don't intend to do so until Belichick deems one of his assistants worthy of the job during the season.

Weis, now head honcho at Notre Dame, was known for his amoeba-like offense, completely catering his game plans to each opponent's unique style. Can defensive Belichick go on the offensive, and as creatively as Weis?

To adjust for the loss of Weis, Belichick will rely on his assistants plus hand Tom Brady more leniency and responsibility with check-offs and audibles.

Defensive coordinator: Despite Romeo Crennel leaving to coach in Cleveland, don't expect a radically different defensive style, as first-year coordinator Eric Mangini has been personally groomed by Belichick to be "the next Belichick." Mangini began his NFL coaching career under Belichick in 1995, then joined his apprentice for three seasons in New York with the Jets (1997-99) before Belichick brought Mangini to New England in 2000. Mangini has worked under Belichick in nine of his ten seasons in the NFL.

Middle linebacker: Will Tedy Bruschi come back from his shocking off-season stroke?

At this point, the Pats are planning on life after Bruschi — at least for this season. Therefore, New England hit the free-agent market and brought in linebackers Chad Brown (Seahawks) and Monty Beisel (Chiefs), in addition to re-signing veteran Don Davis. While neither Brown nor Beisel will be expected to replace Bruschi in the middle, they will provide superior depth at a key position on the Patriots.

The bulk of Bruschi's responsibility falls to Mike Vrabel, who is another of the Patriots' versatile defenders who can play almost any position well.

Certainly, the Pats will not collapse by any means. But there is a minute window of opportunity in the AFC if New England struggles in making adjustments.

FOXSports.com - NFL- AFC EAST: Key questions heading into camp



Will Patriots be chosen ones?
By Jerome Solomon, Globe Staff | July 10, 2005

The Patriots are all about winning.

So, though there is no real game on tap for a couple of months, rest assured the group of players that will represent the team at the ESPY Awards this week isn't going to Los Angeles just to rub shoulders with Hollywood celebrities. There are awards to be won at Wednesday night's show, which will air a week from tonight.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, awards such as Best Team, Best NFL Player, and Best Coach/Manager are voted on by fans. Popularity is often based on volume, and the Patriots are rather quiet, except on the scoreboard.

Plus, the voting, which ended Friday, began June 24, nearly five months after the football season concluded. Perhaps that's why Bill Belichick has come up short twice in the coaching category to Phil Jackson and Larry Brown, both fresh off NBA Finals victories. (Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden took the honor two years ago, but he is the only NFL coach to be so honored in the last nine years.)

Worse even than bad timing is that this year the Patriots find themselves going head to head against the Red Sox for more than space in the sports section.

The World Series champions are up for Best Team, as are the Patriots. The San Antonio Spurs, Southern Cal Trojans (college football), and NCAA champion Baylor women's basketball squad are also finalists in the category.

Sox manager Terry Francona joins Belichick, the Spurs' Gregg Popovich, North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams, and USC's Pete Carroll, Belichick's predecessor at New England, in the Best Coach/Manager category.

Deion Branch's record-tying 11 catches against the Eagles may have earned him Super Bowl MVP honors, but Curt Schilling has to be considered a favorite for Best Championship Performance thanks to his bloody-ankle postseason play for the Sox.

''I wish they could have introduced another category for Best Sports City, where we could share in the honor, because it has been a remarkable year in New England sports," said Patriots spokesman Stacey James.

The Patriots, whose only team ESPY win was for being in the Best Game -- the Super Bowl win over Carolina in 2004 -- also are nominated for the Best Record Breaking Performance, thanks to a 21-game winning streak that ended last season.

Tom Brady, the 2002 ESPY winner for Breakthrough Athlete, is a nominee for Best NFL Player.

All of New England's captains -- Brady, Troy Brown, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, and Larry Izzo -- are expected to be at the award show in Hollywood.

Will Patriots be chosen ones? - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Patriots - Sports
 

Improper Bostionian

 

Boston's Best

 

 

 

 

Preparing for life without Bruschi
Posted: July 14, 2005

By Michael Felger
For Sporting News


When Chad Brown signed with the Patriots as a free agent from Seattle this offseason, he assumed it was as a replacement for Tedy Bruschi. So imagine Brown's surprise when he started working out at Gillette Stadium in May, only to find Bruschi next to him in the weight room and at film sessions.

"You don't come to meetings and lift weights if you're not going to try to keep playing," Brown says. "That's the worst part of football."

In actuality, Bruschi's status remains very much up in the air after his February stroke. He could play. He could take the year off. Not even Bruschi really knows.

Either way, though, it's clear the Patriots have planned for life without their heart-and-soul captain. That will be obvious at training camp, where a reconfigured group of linebackers will be on full display.

Brown is the jewel of the group, a three-time Pro Bowl player with the instincts, versatility and experience in the 3-4 (from his days in Pittsburgh) that coach Bill Belichick covets. Health and age (35) are issues, but if Brown can stay on the field, Belichick surely will put him in position to make plays.

New England also added Monty Beisel, a part-time starter with the Chiefs whom Belichick sees as an every-down player. Beisel worked hard this spring to get his weight up near the 245-pound mark so he can stand up against the run inside.

Other contingency plans include rookie Ryan Claridge (a fifth-round pick) and a potential return by ageless veteran Roman Phifer. In a pinch, the Patriots could turn to outside linebackers Mike Vrabel and Matt Chatham, both of whom worked inside during minicamp. Run stuffer Ted Johnson also remains very much in the mix.

The Patriots have the bodies to replicate Bruschi's statistical production (120 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, 3 interceptions in 2004). They also can survive without his heart and passion because they have ample amounts of that. But can they replace his instinctive flair?

Some of the Patriots' fiercest competitors are hoping they can't.

"Now with Bruschi perhaps out, with some other guys getting a little older, maybe the worm turns a little bit," says Colts president Bill Polian. "I hope so."



Michael Felger covers the Patriots for the Boston Herald and Sporting News.

SportingNews.com


Stroke Puts Pats' Bruschi At Crossroads

A Tribune wire report
Published: Jul 17, 2005

The head and heart of Tedy Bruschi have distinguished him as an NFL player.

Now, they could hasten a premature end to his career.

Bruschi, 32, among the NFL's best linebackers and a defensive leader of the New England Patriots, has been mulling his future after suffering a minor stroke - possibly related to a congenital heart problem - 10 days after the Super Bowl.

Early retirement is an option, but so is returning to the game he loves. He has spent the past several months working with trainers at team headquarters and going through the same paces he would during a typical offseason. Although he didn't participate in a recent minicamp, he hasn't ruled out a return to the Patriots, who open training camp July 29.

Normally at ease in the spotlight, Bruschi has made few public appearances since the stroke and has spoken publicly about it only twice, most recently during a Super Bowl ring ceremony in June at the home of Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

``My family and I are worried about my health, and we're just making sure I'm getting better,'' Bruschi told reporters. ``Football is something I love and want to do, but I have to think about my wife and my sons to make sure everything is right.''

Brian Mullen can relate. He's a former NHL player, who, like Bruschi, had a small hole in his heart and suffered a minor stroke. Mullen's doctors speculated that he developed a blood clot in his leg, possibly after he was struck by a puck, and that clot passed through the opening in his heart and traveled to his brain. He eventually underwent heart surgery, and within two months was back on the ice attempting a comeback. That ended when he had a seizure.

Doctors told Mullen he could resume his career, but his family urged him to retire.

``Your whole life is turned upside down,'' he said. ``One day you're on top of the world. Next day, you don't know if you're going to be able to play with your kids or survive. I put my family through a lot during that period.''

Stroke Puts Pats' Bruschi At Crossroads - from TBO.com

Reiss: What's next for Bruschi?
By Mike Reiss / Patriots Beat
Sunday, July 17, 2005

With Patriots rookies set to report to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, and the team's veterans not far behind, one of the most pressing questions facing the team could soon be answered:


Will Tedy Bruschi play for the Patriots in 2005?

By July 29, when the team officially begins training camp, Bruschi's situation should become more clear because that's when the team needs to put an official designation on every player. The sparkplug middle linebacker has yet to make a public statement regarding his intentions, and is believed to still be seeking opinions from doctors on whether a comeback might be a possibility.

As for what the Patriots will do, it's likely a choice between one of the following options:

Injured Reserve -- Player is ineligible to play or practice with the team for the remainder of the season and playoffs, and is limited to rehab work under the direction of the club. Player may attend team meetings and observe practice.


Non-Football Injury List -- Category for a player reporting to a club for training camp who fails a physical due to an illness or injury incurred off the field and not under the direction of the club. A player can't practice while on the non-football injury list, but may attend team meetings and observe practice. The player could return during the regular season in a window between Week 6 and 9.

Reserve Retired -- Player isn't eligible to practice or play, or participate in any offseason conditioning or training program or mini-camp, until a written request for reinstatement to the active roster is approved by the NFL.


The 32-year-old Bruschi hired Boston-based agent Brad Blank in March to help sort through these possibilities, and perhaps others. Naturally, financial considerations are a concern, but it's likely the Patriots will compensate Bruschi fairly regardless of the decision.

Our guess?

Assuming doctors would be reluctant to clear him to play at this time, the non-football injury list appears to be the best option for Bruschi. That would allow the Patriots to pay him his base $850,000 salary -- although they wouldn't be obligated to do so -- while also keeping him in team meetings and around practice. In addition, it leaves the door open for a possible return later in the season.

Essentially, it buys more time and allows the situation to evolve further.

That's exactly how the Panthers approached their situation with linebacker Mark Fields, who missed the 2003 season while undergoing cancer treatments.

MetroWest Daily News - Sports Columnists


Around town
Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi returned to Massachusetts General Hospital late last week to thank the staff who cared for him after a stroke.



Knowing When to Quit

Patriots' Bruschi is the latest athlete to be forced to weigh the risks of making a return from a serious health issue
By Sam Farmer, Times Staff Writer

The head and heart of Tedy Bruschi have distinguished him as an NFL player.

Now, they could hasten a premature end to his career.

Bruschi, 32, among the NFL's best linebackers and a defensive leader of the New England Patriots, has been mulling his future after suffering a minor stroke — possibly related to a congenital heart problem — 10 days after the Super Bowl.

Early retirement is an option, but so is returning to the game he loves. He has spent the last several months working with trainers at team headquarters and going through the same paces he would during a typical off-season. Although he didn't participate in a recent mini-camp, he hasn't ruled out a return to the Patriots, who open training camp July 29.

Normally at ease in the spotlight, Bruschi has made few public appearances since the stroke and has spoken publicly about it only twice, most recently last month during a Super Bowl ring ceremony at the home of Patriot owner Robert Kraft.

"My family and I are worried about my health, and we're just making sure I'm getting better," Bruschi told reporters. "Football is something I love and want to do, but I have to think about my wife and my sons to make sure everything is right."

Brian Mullen can relate. He's a former NHL player, who, like Bruschi, had a small hole in his heart and suffered a minor stroke in 1993 at age 31. Mullen's doctors speculated that he developed a blood clot in his leg, possibly after he was struck by a puck, and that clot passed through the opening in his heart and traveled to his brain. He eventually underwent heart surgery, and within two months was back on the ice attempting a comeback. That ended when he had a seizure four days after his 32nd birthday.

"I had some of the top doctors in New York City telling me it was fine and there would be no problem for me to go back to play," said Mullen, a former New York Islander. "Then I had the seizure, and that was that. When I had the seizure it scared everybody out of their wits. They thought I was having a heart attack."

Moments before the seizure, Mullen finished a workout and was told he'd be sent down to the minors for a few games before returning to the Islanders. He skated to the opposite end of the ice for a pick-up game with teammates who also didn't expect to play that night. That's when his body began to betray him.

"All of a sudden my left arm started going up in the air," he said. "I'm trying to get it down and I couldn't. I went into convulsions and passed out. When I came to, they had flown a helicopter in and landed it in the parking lot to take me to the hospital."

Even after that, doctors told Mullen he could resume his career. His family urged him to retire, though, and he decided to do so.

"Your whole life is turned upside down," he said. "One day you're on top of the world. Next day, you don't know if you're going to be able to play with your kids or survive. I put my family through a lot during that period."

Mullen, who lives in New Jersey and coaches his son's hockey team, has had two seizures since retiring, both of which he attributes to tinkering with his medication. He still fights the urge to resume playing. Asked when he finally came to grips with the way things ended, he said: "I'll call you when I do."

Walking away from your sport on your own terms is difficult enough, said boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, let alone when your body forces you to quit. Leonard announced his retirement on four separate occasions after suffering a partially detached retina in his left eye, but couldn't stay away, paying little heed to warnings that he risked going blind in that eye.

"As top-level athletes, we assume the risk," said Leonard, host of the boxing television show "The Contender."

"We don't even think about the risk factor. To do what we do takes an enormous amount of mental stability. But when I look back at the risks I took, it really makes me think. I was just in that zone."

Not every athlete feels so invulnerable. Before his rookie season with the Buffalo Bills, guard Joe DeLamielleure was diagnosed as having an irregular heartbeat. For a while, the first-round pick thought his career was over.

"I actually remember laying on the floor and saying, 'How'd I ever play in the first place,' " he said. "My chest was killing me. Any little thing, a burp, and I was like, 'What's that?' "

DeLamielleure had been misdiagnosed. His heart was fine. He went on to anchor Buffalo's "Electric Company" offensive line and two years ago was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He said he understands the pressures weighing on Bruschi.

"Football's an addiction," DeLamielleure said. "It's very hard to kick. You go through withdrawal when you're not playing. This time of year it's like the birds going back to Capistrano."

Bruschi's stroke came three days after he played in his first Pro Bowl. He arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital complaining of headaches, blurred vision and numbness on his right side. He checked out two days later, walking out wobbly but on his own power with his wife, Heidi, at his side.

He's among Boston's most popular athletes, especially since the Patriots have won three of four Super Bowls, and that has boosted the amount of attention he has received in the last several months. Hanging on adjacent buildings and visible from his hospital window were large, hand-painted banners wishing him a speedy recovery. Two news helicopters followed Bruschi's limousine home. (The Patriots, caught off guard by the helicopters, requested the TV stations not tape the trip home; one of the stations complied.) Days later, a local TV station caught Bruschi on camera walking in his back yard.

About a month after his stroke, Bruschi reportedly underwent a procedure to repair a hole in his heart. Doctors say those holes — oval-shaped openings between the heart's upper chambers — are fairly common, and many people can live out their lives without knowing they have an opening, which often is no larger than a grain of rice. Studies have linked the defect to strokes, however.

"Anyone who has had a stroke and has one of these openings should have it closed," said Dr. James McPherson, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Tommy Lasorda Heart Institute at Centinela Hospital Medical Center.

But McPherson said such a procedure should not necessarily preclude a patient from resuming a career as a professional football player. The bigger concern is the stroke, he said.

"The injury to the brain as a result of the stroke is a more unpredictable situation," he said. "The recovery time is unpredictable, but also the result of further head trauma to a stroke patient has not really been studied."

Losing Bruschi would be a severe blow to the Patriots. He was selected as the AFC's defensive player of the week three times last season, including after a first-round playoff victory over Indianapolis. He ranked second on the team with 128 tackles and tied for second with three interceptions. Also, two of the Patriots' four defensive touchdowns resulted from his fumble recoveries.

New England is preparing other options. The Patriots have signed free-agent linebackers Chad Brown and Monty Beisel, and used a fifth-round draft pick on linebacker Ryan Claridge from Nevada Las Vegas.

Like most elite linebackers, Bruschi survives by his instincts. He studies like crazy during the week so he can go by feel on Sunday. During a game, he doesn't have time for deep thinking.

This is different, though. This isn't a read-and-react situation.

"I'm not pressured with any timetable," he said at the ring ceremony. "My family and I are worried about my health and we're just making sure I'm getting better and that's the only thing we're focusing on right now."

Knowing When to Quit



By Adam Schefter
Special to NFL.com


Adam Schefter's "Around the League" reports and commentaries can be seen regularly on NFL Total Access.

TEDY's TIME COMING
We have a rare Tedy Bruschi sighting. He has been spotted in California, where he is visiting with at least his third doctor, seeking yet another doctor's opinion on whether a comeback this season is possible.

Bruschi has vowed that he will not make a decision about whether he can play this season until he has to. But that time is coming up real quick. The Patriots are scheduled to report to training camp on July 29, and by that time, New England and Bruschi will decide whether he belongs on the field, injured reserve, the non-football injury list or the reserved/retired list.

NFL.com - NFL News



Bruschi still up in air
By Michael Felger
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - Updated: 08:34 AM EST

Second in a series of position-by-position looks at the Patriots heading into training camp.

Tedy Bruschi  said from the beginning he would take his time. He wasn't lying.

The official reporting date for Patriots veterans is now eight days away, and Bruschi, who is five months removed from suffering a mild stroke, has yet to declare his intentions for the upcoming season.

There are several options available to the Patriots and their heart-and-soul inside linebacker. But as training camp draws near, observers close to the situation see Bruschi's inclusion on the 80-man active roster on July 28 as one of the most unlikely.

For what it's worth, Bruschi has acted like a man who wants to play, spending much of his spring working out and attending film sessions at Gillette Stadium. And a report on New England Cable News last night, citing a team source, said the chances of Bruschi playing were 90 percent. What his family and coaches have to say is another matter.

One scenario under consideration involves placing Bruschi on the physically unable to perform list or the non-football injury list, both of which would allow he and the Pats to put off the decision until well into the season.

Players on the PUP after training camp must sit out the first six weeks of the regular season. They can then return to the practice field any time from Weeks 7-9, and once they begin practicing, the team has 21 days before it must activate the player or place him on injured reserve. Bruschi would be allowed to come off the PUP any time during training camp, as Rosevelt Colvin did last year, but that would preclude Bruschi from returning to the list for the regular season.

Bottom line, if Bruschi and the Pats wanted to put off the decision until late November, they could.

In the meantime, Bruschi continues to consult specialists and travel (he was at the ESPY awards in Los Angeles last week). His doctors have not categorically ruled out a return to live action, and receiving clearance for contact, which Bruschi didn't have at minicamp in June, is also on the table.

The Patriot are prepared in either event, with free agents Chad Brown and Monty Beisel ready to join the inside rotation next to Ted Johnson [news] with Roman Phifer still a possibility to return for a 15th season. Dan Klecko is out of the inside linebacker mix and has been returned to his defensive line spot.

On the outside, everyone will be watching to see if Colvin (hip) continues the progress he made at the end of last year and shows some of his old explosiveness. Regardless of his condition, the Pats' outside rotation remains solid with Mike Vrabel [news] and Willie McGinest [news] back for more.

BostonHerald.com - New England Patriots & NFL: Bruschi still up in air



Report: Bruschi to play in '05
Veteran's return set at 90 percent
By Jerome Solomon, Globe Staff | July 20, 2005

According to a report on New England Cable News last night, Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a stroke in February, plans to play this season.

The cable network cited a source who said it would be surprising if Bruschi didn't play this season, placing the likelihood of his return at 90 percent.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasn't available for comment, but team spokesman Stacey James said Bruschi hasn't told the team whether he plans to play or sit out this season.

''Tedy Bruschi will make his intention known when he is ready," James said. ''As far as I know, he hasn't discussed it with the staff as yet."

Doctors cleared Bruschi for limited workout activities some time ago. He participated in team meetings at a June mini-camp, but did not take it to the practice field.

Bruschi's agent, Brad Blank, said yesterday he had spoken with Bruschi in the last couple of days but the linebacker hadn't indicated he had made any decision about playing in 2005.

The Patriots open training camp July 29 and will have to decide whether to put Bruschi on the active roster at that time.

In mid-June at the team's ring ceremony, Bruschi said he was in no rush to make a decision.

''I'm just taking my time making sure things are right," Bruschi said at the Patriots' Super Bowl ring ceremony in June. ''Just living one day at a time right now.

''The organization has been so supportive of me, I'm not pressured with any timetable. My family and I are worried about my health, and we're just making sure I'm getting better and that's the only thing we're focusing on right now."

Report: Bruschi to play in '05 - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Patriots - Sports



Bruschi to sit out 2005

By Paul Perillo, Patriots Football Weekly

Tedy Bruschi has decided to sit out the 2005 season while he continues to recover from a mild stroke suffered in mid-February. The Patriots issued a statement through media relations director Stacey James Wednesday afternoon.

Tedy Bruschi has decided to sit out the 2005 season while he continues to recover from a mild stroke suffered in mid-February.

The Patriots issued a statement through executive director of media relations Stacey James Wednesday afternoon.

“Since suffering a mild stroke on Feb. 16, 2005, Tedy Bruschi has focused on the short-term goal of getting better every day. His health has improved steadily during the past five months and Tedy continues to make daily improvements with his on-going rehabilitation. It has been an offseason of many emotional highs and lows for Tedy and his family. With the Patriots’ training camp reporting date now just over a week away, Tedy has reached a decision on his playing status for the upcoming season and has declared his intentions to forgo the 2005 campaign.

“The Bruschi family wanted to express their heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous outpouring of support they have received from fans throughout New England and others around the country. They also expressed their gratitude for the support and assistance provided by the entire Patriots organization. Tedy pledges to focus on his health and his family while continuing to offer on-going support to his teammates throughout the upcoming season.”

The Patriots maintained throughout the process that they would wait for Bruschi to make a decision and all information regarding the situation would come from him. While Bruschi has now said he will not play in 2005, there was no word as to his plans beyond this season. The announcement also included a statement from Head Coach Bill Belichick.

“All offseason, we have seen and felt Tedy’s strong and upbeat presence. As usual, we will keep the focus on the short term and address the future in due course. We are pleased Tedy continues to be part of the team and he has our complete support.”

Bruschi has been regularly attending workouts for much of the offseason and there was speculation that he was planning to return. He was present at last month’s mini-camp and was an active participant in the meeting rooms, but did not take part in any on-field work.

The Patriots were obviously planning for this possibility during the offseason when Belichick and Scott Pioli made several moves at the linebacker position to prepare for life without Bruschi. The team signed unrestricted free agents Chad Brown and Monty Beisel, and drafted Ryan Claridge in the fifth round in April. Even without the captain, the Patriots still have 16 linebackers currently on the roster.

Official Website of the New England Patriots



This loss could be too much to overcome

Jonathan Comey is a columnist for The Standard-Times. E-mail him at jonathancomey@hotmail.com

Nobody's irreplaceable.


Nobody's indispensable.


Nobody's bigger than the team.


The Patriots have earned these well-worn tags winning three Super Bowls in four years, answering every variation of "Can they win without …" along the way.


Drew Bledsoe out? Enter Tom Brady.


No Terry Glenn? Replaced by David Patten.


Lawyer Milloy cut? Eugene Wilson filled in.


Ty Law injured? Asante Samuel. Randall Gay. Heck, Troy Brown got the job done.


But even as prepared as the organization was for losing another key player, you have to wonder if the Patriots can really be the same team without Tedy Bruschi. Is yesterday's announcement he'll sit out the 2005 season after suffering a mild stroke in February a dip in the pavement, or one of those huge potholes that send a team careening to the breakdown lane?


On paper, the Patriots are ready for life after Bruschi. The timing of Bruschi's stroke gave the best organization in football plenty of time to come up with a Plan B, and it is a good one.


With Ted Johnson set to start at one inside linebacker spot, and the outside positions well stocked, the Pats first acquired Monty Beisel -- a big, physical player with potential still there to be fulfilled. Then, they signed former Pro Bowler Chad Brown, a guy who was one of the 10 best in the league five years ago. Between Brown, Beisel and roster holdovers, there is more than enough talent to replace No. 54.


So on paper, yes, they're fine.


Then again, if paper mattered, the Colts and Eagles would be admiring their Lombardi trophies and getting their rings stolen by foreign premiers. The Patriots aren't exactly a paper team. They win with depth, and with great coaching, and with more than a little talent -- but a lot of teams have that.


The Pats have something extra, some intangible that allows them to do what they probably shouldn't, and Bruschi seems to be the epitome of that intangible. Think of Bruschi, barking out audibles before the play, making an interception at the goal line, making a fourth-down stop, holding trophies high above his head. If Tom Brady is the heart, Bruschi is the soul.


This probably isn't the end of it for Bruschi. As quiet as he's kept about the situation, you know this wasn't a cut-and-dry decision. If it was, it would have been made long ago. Obviously, Bruschi weighed the risks and erred on the side of caution. But a year away from sporting life does strange things to the most washed up of athletes, and Bruschi definitely has football left in him. Don't be surprised to see him back in 2006.


Still, that does nothing for 2005. Even if the Patriots do absorb this shock like they've absorbed others -- with a blinding focus that yields championships -- it won't be quite the same without Bruschi. When he walked out on the Fenway Park field this spring for the Red Sox' first-pitch ceremony, you had to smile seeing him healthy and happy. He deserved that.


It was a little odd, though, to see him alongside Bobby Orr and Bill Russell that day -- is Tedy Bruschi really a New England icon of that stature? The undersized sack champion who ended up an inside linebacker? The guy who fought for a starting job early in his career? The guy who negotiates his own contract, the guy who drives a Honda, the guy that lives in a nice regular neighborhood with a wife and three kids?


Tedy Bruschi?


And then you thought, yeah, maybe he is.


Whether this is the end of his career or just a break, Bruschi will be a part of that fraternity someday, a beloved player and champion who had that special something.


And guys like that aren't easy to replace.


Even for the Patriots.


This loss could be too much to overcome: 7/ 21/ 2005


Bruschi's sudden impact
Thursday, July 21, 2005 - Updated: 12:10 PM EST

In less than two weeks, Patriots [stats, news] linebacker and team leader Tedy Bruschi [news] went from Super Bowl hero to hospital patient. The saga culminated yesterday in the announcement that Bruschi will forego the 2005 season. Here’s a brief look at what led to that statement:


Feb. 6: Records seven tackles with an interception and a sack in the Patriots’ 24-21 victory over Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville.


Feb. 13: Records one tackle for the AFC in his first Pro Bowl appearance in Honolulu.


Feb. 16: Suffers numbness, blurred vision and headaches during a seizure at his North Attleboro home and is rushed via ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital.


Feb. 17: Team announces that Bruschi suffered a mild stroke.


Feb. 18: Released from Mass. General to his home.


Mid-March: Various reports surface that Bruschi has had a procedure to repair a hole in his heart at Mass. General.


April 6: Appears at White House with Pats in first public appearance.


April 11: Throws out first pitch at Red Sox home opener.


April-May: Begins working out and attending film sessions at Gillette Stadium.


June 12: After sitting out the Pats’ three day minicamp, attends the team’s Super Bowl ring ceremony at the home of owner Robert Kraft. When asked about a return, he says: “I’ve got to think about my wife and my sons and just make sure things are right.”


July 20: Patriots announce that Bruschi will sit out the season.

BostonHerald.com - New England Patriots & NFL: Bruschi's sudden impact


Tedy Bruschi highlight reel
Thursday, July 21, 2005 - Updated: 12:10 PM EST

Since being drafted in the third round of the 1996 NFL draft, Tedy Bruschi has earned three Super Bowl titles and turned himself into one of the best linebackers in the league. He had his finest season in 2004. Here are some of his career highlights:

Earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2004.

Has averaged more than 100 tackles over the last four seasons. His total of 403 in that span is the most on the team.

Has been voted a defensive captain by his teammates in each of the last three seasons.

Only player in NFL history to return four consecutive interceptions for touchdowns (between Nov. 2002 and Dec. 2003).

Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week three times in 2004 and twice in 2003.

His 11 career interceptions ranks fourth all-time among Patriots  linebackers.

Has 25 career sacks. The Pats are 21-2 in the 23 regular season games in which Bruschi has recorded at least one sack.

BostonHerald.com - New England Patriots & NFL: Tedy Bruschi highlight reel

Teammates look on bright side
By Michael Felger
Thursday, July 21, 2005 - Updated: 07:51 AM EST

Most Patriots  fans treated yesterday's announcement that Tedy Bruschi will sit out the 2005 season recovering from his February stroke as bad news.


But some of Bruschi's close friends and teammates said it was just the opposite.


``He's a good friend, and I'm happy for him,'' fellow linebacker Ted Johnson said last night. ``I think there are a lot of things in life a lot more important than football, so I do think this is good news. I don't think there's any reason to rush it. He's still a Patriot.


``My guess is there are still a lot of questions to be answered from a medical standpoint,'' added Johnson. ``It's not like there is a lot of precedent for this kind of injury. It's not like our trainer can call up another team's trainer and say, `So how did your player come from his stroke?' It's not like you can play with half the contact. In a week (when training camp starts) it's about taking that helmet up under your facemask. You've got to be totally, totally ready for that.''


Johnson has been Bruschi's teammate since the latter entered the league in 1996, and he knows full well the Pats will be hard-pressed to replace the intangible quality that Bruschi brought to the field and the locker room.


``I think, initially, we'll definitely feel the effects of Tedy not being there,'' he said. ``He just had such a demeanor in the room and in meetings. He's just such a positive guy to have around there. And out (on the field), he's not the kind of guy who makes a play and then quietly goes back to the huddle. As a team, you need that kind of guy - especially at training camp.


``We'll miss that, because his leadership was so dominant,'' Johnson added. ``Yeah, we have guys to replace him. But you're telling me that someone is going to step in and do what Tedy did? I don't know about that.''


For months, the Pats have been planning for life without their stalwart inside linebacker, signing veterans Chad Brown and Monty Beisel in free agency and selecting rookie Ryan Claridge in the fifth round of the April draft. They also worked outside linebackers Mike Vrabel [news] and Matt Chatham at the inside positions during minicamp in June.


Also, the locker stall of veteran Roman Phifer, who was released in February, remains intact at Gillette Stadium.


But the Pats know that Bruschi's knack for making the big play at just the right time will be nearly impossible to duplicate.


``There are few players around the league that impact the game or a team in such a way that you have to take notice,'' said linebacker Don Davis. ``To me, that's what Tedy Bruschi is. He has that presence and sheer determination. It's a will to win. You look at him and he's not your biggest linebacker or your fastest guy, but he's in the right place at the right time.''


BostonHerald.com - New England Patriots & NFL: Teammates look on bright side

Bruschi decides to sit out season
Health is improved, but he's not ready
By Jerome Solomon, Globe Staff | July 21, 2005

Tedy Bruschi, often described by teammates as the heart and soul of the Patriots' championship defenses, announced yesterday he would sit out the 2005 season.

Bruschi, 32, suffered a stroke Feb. 16 -- 10 days after helping the Patriots top the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, and three days after his first Pro Bowl appearance. A month later he underwent a procedure to repair a hole in his heart that was believed to be the cause of the stroke.

He had been weighing his options since, hoping to return to the field for his 10th season when the team reports to training camp next week. He participated in some of the team's offseason programs and attended meetings during a June minicamp, but was not cleared by doctors for all football activities.

After a New England Cable Network report Tuesday indicated that he was almost certain to return this season, Bruschi asked the team to release a statement announcing his decision.

''His health has improved steadily during the past five months and Tedy continues to make daily improvements with his ongoing rehabilitation," team spokesman Stacey James said in the statement. ''It has been an offseason of many emotional highs and lows for Tedy and his family.

''Tedy pledges to focus on his health and his family while continuing to offer ongoing support to his teammates throughout the upcoming season."

The Globe reported in March that Bruschi was considering sitting out the 2005 season. That month the linebacker also hired agent Brad Blank, the first time he's had an agent since his rookie season.

Yesterday, Blank said the decision does not mean Bruschi's career is over.

''It's not a retirement," Blank said. ''That much I know."

Bruschi has three years remaining on a contract he signed in 2004, and is scheduled to earn $850,000 this season, $1.35 million in 2006, and $1.7 million in 2007. A retirement would have voided that deal, but he could earn his full salary this season should the Patriots put him on the physically unable to perform list. If he is placed on the non-football-related injury list, the team isn't required to pay his salary, but would likely do so.

Coach Bill Belichick said in a statement yesterday that Bruschi's status has not been determined. It won't be long, though: The team has to inform the NFL of Bruschi's designation by July 29.

''All offseason, we have seen and felt Tedy's strong and upbeat presence," Belichick said. ''As usual, we will keep the focus on the short term and address the future in due course. We are pleased Tedy continues to be part of the team and he has our complete support."

Bruschi finished second on the team in tackles (122) to Rodney Harrison and second in interceptions (3) to Eugene Wilson in 2004. He has been a team captain the past three seasons.

''Everyone just wants him to be healthy and everyone wants him to live a healthy life from here on out," quarterback Tom Brady said during the team's minicamp. ''So many guys finish this game and probably have left a lot of years on the field. That's a big part of it for players. You have to decide the risk of playing every year.

''He had a stroke. For him to come back would be pretty remarkable. If there's anybody who could do it, it's Tedy Bruschi."

The Patriots have been preparing for the possibility that Bruschi would not play this season. Chad Brown, entering his 13th season in the league, signed with New England as a free agent in May and is likely to replace Bruschi in the starting lineup. Fellow free agent Monty Beisel turned down an offer to remain with Kansas City after the Patriots told him a starting position could become open.

The Patriots signed two rookie draft picks yesterday, offensive tackle Nick Kaczur and safety James Sanders, leaving only the team's top two picks unsigned.

Terms of the contracts were not released.

Rookies began conditioning workouts yesterday and officially report for the start of training camp Sunday. A team source said negotiations with first-round choice Logan Mankins (No. 32 overall) and the first of two third-round choices, Ellis Hobbs, a cornerback from Iowa State, are progressing.

Kaczur, a third-round choice from Toledo, enters camp as a second-team tackle. Sanders, taken in the fourth round from Fresno State, is expected to compete for a backup spot.

Bruschi decides to sit out season - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Patriots - Sports



Bruschi out for '05: Pats LB ends speculation; future return still unclear
By Michael Felger
Thursday, July 21, 2005 - Updated: 11:53 AM EST

After months of speculation, Tedy Bruschi  and the Patriots decided yesterday to finally put an end to all the ``will he or won't he?'' rumors.


In a carefully crafted statement made in conjunction with the team, the Pats' heart-and-soul inside linebacker announced that he will sit out the 2005 season as he continues to recover from a mild stroke suffered Feb. 16.


``It has been an offseason of many emotional highs and lows for Tedy and his family,'' said team spokesman Stacey James. ``With the training camp reporting date now just over a week away (July 28), Tedy has reached a decision and has declared his intentions to forgo the 2005 campaign.''


Bruschi, 32, was not quoted in the release, and he could not be reached for comment last night. However, during the Pats' Super Bowl ring ceremony last month, Bruschi hinted that family considerations would take precedent over his desire to return to the field for what would be his 10th season.


``Football is something that I love and it's something that I'll always want to do,'' Bruschi said. ``But I've got to think about my wife and (three) sons and just make sure things are right.''


Some key related items:


Retirement. Bruschi has not decided that yet, as he and the team left the door open for a return in 2006. The statement said there was ``no word on his plans beyond this season.''


The timing. While the announcement was not a direct response to a New England Cable News report Wednesday that said there was a 90 percent chance Bruschi would play this year, sources said Bruschi was not interested in remaining the focus with the Pats set to begin their quest for a third straight title. With the statement, the rumor mill should grind to a halt.


``He wanted to put his stamp on it,'' said a team source.


There was an ESPN report that said that Bruschi received the results of a third medical opinion yesterday, and that the news might not have been good. But sources with direct knowledge of Bruschi's situation shot it down.


Overall health. In terms of resuming a normal life, Bruschi has received uniformly good news. He reportedly underwent a procedure to repair a hole in his heart in March, and within a month he was taking part in regular workouts at Gillette Stadium. Bruschi has met with many specialists, and sources said that his doctors have not categorically ruled out a return to playing. Whether Bruschi would have received a clean bill of health for 2005 is not known.


``His health has improved steadily during the past five months and Tedy continues to make daily improvements,'' James said.


Many of Bruschi's teammates were so impressed with his progress that they felt he would give it a shot this year. Newly signed linebacker Chad Brown noticed Bruschi at film sessions and in the weight room in June and remarked that players don't typically do those things unless they are planning to play. Bruschi even told people at the Red Sox' home opener, when he threw out the first pitch, that he would return this year.




This season. Bruschi will be placed on an inactive list next week. Interestingly, sources indicated yesterday it would likely be on either the non-football injury list or the physically unable to perform list, both of which would leave the door open for Bruschi to return late in the season. If Bruschi were placed on injured reserve, that would officially end his season, which is what yesterday's announcement said would be the case in any event.


Whatever the classification, Bruschi will be allowed to train at Gillette, attend meetings, observe practices and be on the sideline for games this season.


``All offseason, we have seen and felt Tedy's strong and upbeat presence,'' coach Bill Belichick [news] said. ``As usual, we will keep the focus on the short term and address the future in due course. We are pleased Tedy continues to be part of the team and he has our complete support.''


The cap and Bruschi's compensation. Unless the Pats get a special dispensation from the league, Bruschi's 2005 cap number ($1.7 million) will remain on the books.


Bruschi still has three years to go on the four-year, $8.1 million deal he signed last year. Bruschi is due $3.9 million on the deal (including $850,000 in base pay this season), and according to sources, an agreement has been reached in which the team will pay him most of that money regardless of his status.


The fans. Bruschi is well aware of his popularity in New England. The feeling is mutual.


``The Bruschi family wanted to express their heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous outpouring of support they have received from fans throughout New England and others around the country,'' James said. ``Tedy pledges to focus on his health and his family while continue to offer ongoing support to his teammates throughout the upcoming season.''

BostonHerald.com - New England Patriots & NFL: Bruschi out for '05: Pats LB ends speculation; future return still unclear


Steady without Tedy

By Cris Carter, Yahoo! Sports

More Patriots: Bruschi to sit out 2005 season

I didn't think the New England Patriots ever really expected linebacker Tedy Bruschi to play this season.

They knew his status was doubtful after he suffered a mild stroke three days after the Patriots' Super Bowl victory over Philadelphia. Coach Bill Belichick and general manager Scott Pioli had the entire offseason to prepare for this. That's why Bruschi's absence won't affect the team at all.

Now, it'll be hard to replace the intangibles that Bruschi brings – things like his knack for clutch interceptions and his ability to read the quarterback. The Patriots don't have a player on the roster to replace those qualities.

But you have to realize that New England's scheme put Bruschi in spots where he could make plays. And the Patriots still have Ted Johnson and Chad Brown, who was signed as a free agent. Brown will be the linebacker who puts pressure on the quarterback. The run-stopping responsibility will fall on Johnson.

Bruschi's leadership has helped New England win three of the last four Super Bowls, but I think the Patriots have enough leaders – guys who are used to winning – to fill that hole. They still have Rodney Harrison and Willie McGinest on defense. You don't need any more leaders than that.

Winning a third straight Super Bowl was going to be difficult with Bruschi. No team in the NFL has ever accomplished that feat. If the Patriots don't succeed in their threepeat, it won't be because they didn't have Bruschi on the field. It'll be because the AFC got stronger in the offseason. Kansas City improved defensively, Indianapolis' defense will be better and San Diego, with last season's experience as a winner, should be better.

I don't know if Bruschi will return next season or ever play again. But I knew he wouldn't play this season. Not after having a stroke. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't play again, too. His health and his family are more important than football.

If Bruschi doesn't come back, the Patriots will move on without him. They replaced an injured Ty Law in the playoffs last season, and they replaced Tyrone Poole. The Patriots always seem to find replacements for key players.

This time, they had all offseason to figure out how to replace Bruschi. That's why his announcement Wednesday was not news. I think the Patriots knew it all along.



Patriots' Bruschi to Sit Out 2005 Season
By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports WriterThu Jul 21, 8:05 AM ET

Tedy Bruschi didn't decide whether to end his career. He just put the decision off for a year. The Patriots linebacker said Wednesday he will sit out this season because of a stroke he suffered 10 days after helping New England win its third Super Bowl in four years.

"Tedy ... has declared his intentions to forgo the 2005 campaign," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said in a statement. "Tedy pledges to focus on his health and his family while continuing to offer ongoing support to his teammates throughout the upcoming season."

Bruschi, 32, suffered a mild stroke on Feb. 16, three days after playing in the Pro Bowl and 10 days after helping New England beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in the Super Bowl. James said Bruschi has made daily progress in his rehabilitation.

He has attended team meetings, helped new players learn the defense and worked out in the Patriots' weight room. But he didn't practice during the team's June minicamp.

Training camp begins July 28.

"All offseason, we have seen and felt Tedy's strong and upbeat presence," coach Bill Belichick said. "As usual, we will keep the focus on the short term and address the future in due course. We are pleased Tedy continues to be part of the team and he has our complete support."

Bruschi had said it was possible he could sit out the 2005 season and return in 2006.

"Football to me, it's something I love and it's something I'll always want to do," he said last month at a party to pass out the latest Super Bowl rings. "But I've got to think about my wife and my sons and just make sure things are right."

Bruschi was an inspirational leader, a smart player who seemed to excel beyond his physical talent. A defensive lineman at Arizona, he was converted to linebacker as a rookie in 1996 and developed a knack for making big plays.

Bruschi was second on the team in total tackles last season with 122. In 136 career games, he has 753 total tackles, 25 sacks, 11 interceptions and 17 forced fumbles.

Since the stroke, he's been largely silent about his status and had not indicated whether he would return. But with training camp approaching, he was forced to make a decision.

"The organization has been so supportive for me," Bruschi said at the ring ceremony. "I'm not pressured with any timetable. My family and I are worried about my health and we're just making sure I'm getting better and that's the only thing we're focusing on right now."

Bruschi was scheduled to earn $850,000 this season, $1.35 million in 2006 and $1.7 million in the final year of his contract. That deal would be voided if he retires, but he could earn his full salary if the team puts him on the physically unable to perform list.

It's rare for someone of Bruschi's age to have a stroke, but not unheard of, said Dr. Robert Adams of the American Stroke Association. It's even more unusual for someone in peak physical condition, such as a professional athlete, to suffer a stroke.

"Physical fitness and being physically active is certainly helpful to prevent heart disease and stroke," he said. "Unfortunately, it's not complete prevention."

In other NFL news on a busy Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced that "the Triplets," Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, will go into the team's Ring of Honor together on Sept. 19 during a Monday night game against archrival Washington.

"The Redskins are going to hate it. They better hate it because I don't care much for them," Smith said, smiling widely. "Jerry is going to showboat in front of them."

Agent Drew Rosenhaus declared that one of his high-profile clients, wide receiver Terrell Owens, probably won't decide whether to report to Eagles camp until it opens. The All-Pro is seeking a new contract, even though he got a seven-year, $49 million deal a year ago when he was traded to Philadelphia.

"Where we stand is there's no change in their position," Rosenhaus said. "In my discussions with them, they've maintained their stance. We're weighing our options."

He was more emphatic about Packers wideout Javon Walker, who'll be a no-show at training camp next week unless the Packers agree to a big pay raise or trade him.

"I haven't had very many holdouts in my career, but I've been unable to get the Packers to commit to any discussion of a new deal," Rosenhaus said.

Another Rosenhaus client, Colts running back Edgerrin James, signed a one-year deal worth slightly more than $8 million in March. But James and Rosenhaus want a long-term deal and a holdout could be coming.

James missed 21 days of training camp in 1999 before signing a $49 million deal, then delivered by becoming the 13th rookie to win the NFL rushing title. James also skipped mandatory minicamps in 2002 and this spring.

The Vikings scrapped plans to charge fans admission to attend training camp practices in Mankato, Minn.

Greater Mankato Training Camp, LLC, the company that manages the camp, announced an agreement with the team to eliminate the planned $5 to $10 admission charge to watch practices.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf will pick up the tab for the cost of tickets to regular practices, but will still charge for special events — including two planned passing scrimmages.

Patriots' Bruschi to Sit Out 2005 Season on Yahoo! News



Smart play
Bruschi makes the right decision in sitting out season


Don Banks Inside the NFL SI.com

Yet another good call, Tedy Bruschi. The man known as the heart and soul of the New England Patriots defense thankfully followed his head this time, and came to the conclusion that playing football in 2005 just didn't make sense.

Not with three Super Bowl rings already on his fingers. Not with two little boys at home. Not at age 32, when the possible reward didn't remotely measure up to the risk, whatever size the health risk was that he faced in light of the stroke he suffered in mid-February, three days after playing in the Pro Bowl.

We don't know yet whether Bruschi's decision was in essence made for him, or if he failed to receive medical clearance to play this year. But in some ways, the news, announced Wednesday, was still surprising. If for no other reason than Bruschi himself, with his fierce sense of competitiveness and his love for the NFL game that he has played so splendidly for nine seasons in New England.

As the offseason wore on, and Bruschi's saga developed, there were indications from those within the Patriots organization that the expectation was he would at least try to play this season. That kind of optimistic outlook just seemed to fit Bruschi's hell-bent style of linebacking. He would go all out, and do whatever it took to get back on the field. Until it became clear that he could not, or should not.

But Massachusetts' second most famous "Teddy'' owed nothing to the Patriots, the NFL or his many fans. His only responsibility in this real-life medical drama was to himself, his family and his health. His decision to stand down deprives New England fans of one of their most beloved players this season, but he has already given them more than they could ever ask or expect. He has been a part of all four Patriots Super Bowl teams in the past nine seasons, and No. 54 has been quite literally in the middle of nearly every huge New England victory these past glory-drenched four years.

The Patriots front office and coaches might have held out hope that Bruschi would be available in 2005, but they certainly didn't count on it. That's why they went out and signed veteran free-agent linebackers Chad Brown and Monte Beisel, giving themselves options if the worst-case scenario played out and Bruschi missed the season. The Patriots know they can't really replace Bruschi this year, but they can fill his spot with a quality player and try to keep the train moving toward a record fourth Super Bowl title in five years. After all, that's the New England way.

Perhaps in the most important sense, Bruschi staved off the potential of a worst-case scenario with his announcement on Wednesday. Why take chances with a stroke? Why even entertain the possibility that playing football again so soon would make you more susceptible to another, even more-damaging medical setback? What more did Bruschi have to prove? What was left to accomplish on the football field?

The Patriots will now go on without Bruschi and open the defense of their championship on July 29, their first full day of training camp workouts. Bruschi will be around, still working on his recovery, still providing whatever inspiration he can from the sideline as a teammate and team leader.

And at this point, as sad as it is to contemplate, we have to at least entertain the notion that he has played his final NFL game. If so, the former 1996 third-round pick will have both given and gotten far more than his money's worth. On the field, Bruschi always seem to be in the right place at the right time, making exactly the right play.

On Wednesday, in electing this time to stay off the field in 2005, he did it once again.

SI.com - Writers - Banks: Bruschi made the right decision - Wednesday July 20, 2005 6:55PM



Patriots' Bruschi will sit out '05 season

The status of the star defensive player has been in doubt since he suffered a stroke in February.

09:58 AM EDT on Thursday, July 21, 2005

BY TOM E. CURRAN
Journal Sports Writer

He tried.

But yesterday afternoon, five months after suffering a mild stroke days after playing in his first Pro Bowl, New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi announced that he won't play in 2005.

The news comes fast on the heels of a Tuesday night report on The New England Cable News Channel that said Bruschi was "90 percent likely" to play this year.

Speculation about Bruschi's plans has been rampant since he suffered the stroke at his North Attleboro home on Feb. 16. While much of it was optimistic that he would return this year, Bruschi -- irked by what he felt was media intrusiveness in the days following his stroke -- never commented on his ultimate plans.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James issued the announcement, saying in part, "With the Patriots' training camp reporting date now just over a week away, Tedy has reached a decision on his playing status for the upcoming season and has declared his intentions to forgo the 2005 campaign."

"All off-season, we have seen and felt Tedy's strong and upbeat presence," coach Bill Belichick said. "As usual, we will keep the focus on the short term and address the future in due course. We are pleased Tedy continues to be part of the team and he has our complete support."

Bruschi, 32, has been a fixture in the middle of the Patriots defense since midway through the 2001 season when he moved to middle linebacker after a November loss to the St. Louis Rams. The Patriots have gone 52-11 since then, winning three out of the past four Super Bowls, and Bruschi became the most recognizable member of a somewhat faceless but brilliantly efficient crew.

After hearing the news yesterday, Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said, "We're going to be missing a valuable and talented guy, an incredible leader and a great, great football player. You can't replace Tedy and what he's done. I'm extremely disappointed but happy he's doing better and that he'll be able to be with his family and kids and live a good, everyday normal life. That's what it's about, not risking his life and family."

Extra

Survey: How will Bruschi's loss affect the Patriots this season?

Slideshow: View photos of Bruschi's 2004-2005 season
Bruschi is married and the father of three young sons.

When stricken, Bruschi suffered partial paralysis and slurred speech and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital. Two days later, he was released and walked with assistance to a waiting limousine.

He reportedly underwent surgey in March to repair a small hole in his heart, which was discovered during medical exams subsequent to his stroke. Sources close to the player have said that there was no connection between the heart defect and the stroke.

The secrecy surrounding Bruschi's decision whether to play or not this season was apparently driven in part by his ire over having his home besieged by Boston TV stations after his stroke.

He was further angered when it was reported by an Arizona TV station that he was undergoing heart surgery and when a Boston TV station captured him playing in his backyard with one of his sons.

Since late spring, Bruschi has been rehabilitating at Gillette Stadium. It's not known how vigorous his workouts have been but he appeared physically fit when he appeared at the Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park in April and when he received his Super Bowl XXXIX ring at the home of team owner Robert Kraft last month.

He participated in team meetings and helped instruct the cadre of linebackers the team imported during the off-season. Even though he didn't participate in last month's minicamp, the most likely scenario seemed to have Bruschi beginning the season on the "non-football injury" list. That would have made him eligible to join the team after the sixth week of the season.

In his brief comments since the stroke, Bruschi emphasized that he was working on improving his health and working through his decision with his family on whether to play this season.

"He made his decision and he did what's best," said Harrison. "As long as he's comfortable, that's what matters."

From a football standpoint, it's clear the team has prepared somewhat to take the field without him. They obtained veterans Chad Brown and Monty Beisel and are working them as inside linebackers. The Patriots have also worked linebacker Mike Vrabel inside during mini-camp. And they drafted a 3-4 inside linebacker named Ryan Claridge.

How will Bruschi's absence this season affect the team's performance?

"We'll deal with it," said Harrison. "We have no choice. I think we'll work even harder and focus even more understanding that we're missing the key guy in the middle. But anytime someone is injured or hurt, you have to go on.

Even if Bruschi had wanted to return this season, there were several legal and medical issues to consider. Would any doctor give a player who suffered a stroke that caused temporary paralysis just five months ago clearance to play?

And, even if cleared to play by a physician, would the Patriots have allowed him to play or ask him to sign a waiver?

Finally, if Bruschi had gone on the "non-football injury" list, he would have been declaring his stroke was not caused by playing football. It's unknown whether that has been established.

The Patriots have gone through some drastic change since Super Bowl XXXIX. The team's offensive and defensive coordinators have taken jobs elsewhere. Longtime corner Ty Law is gone. Now Bruschi won't be playing. His absence on the field and as the team's heart and conscience will have an impact.

"I'll miss him and I'm disappointed he won't be in front of me," said Harrison, "but he'll be there in spirit."

projo.com | Providence, R.I. | Patriots



No doubt a difficult call to make
By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff | July 21, 2005

Many of you will be jumping to conclusions today.

You'll read the statement put out by the Patriots yesterday indicating that Tedy Bruschi will sit out the 2005 season, and you'll make the leap that he's retired from football. Don't do it. There's enough evidence he believes he can resurrect his career.

''It's a very personal decision," said longtime Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest. ''I've never pried into Tedy's business about it. I know how much he wanted to play, and whatever he decided he had to decide for his family."

Nobody would deny that Bruschi, 32, didn't make the right decision. He suffered a stroke 10 days after the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years.

He has three Super Bowl rings, made his first Pro Bowl appearance after last season, and has made a good amount of money. He's had more than a fulfilling career. When he calls it quits, he'll probably have a future as a coach or in television. With his family to think of, Bruschi probably leaned on them first and foremost for advice.

Now Bruschi has more time to gather information from health professionals about his condition. He'll have time to rest his body, which has been beaten and battered over 10 NFL seasons.

The Patriots haven't designated Bruschi's status, but what they decide could be telling. If he's on injured reserve, he's out for the season. If he's on the non-football-related injury list, that buys the team time to make a decision on him later in the season. He could even be placed on the physically unable to perform list, which gives Bruschi and the Patriots time to change their minds.

Team sources have told us that Bruschi will be paid his $850,000 salary.

Don't think Bruschi didn't agonize until the bitter end on this one. Think about how long this took. Think how many times he was asked what he was going to do and he genuinely had no answer.

Think about the number of doctors, the plethora of information Bruschi was given about his condition -- not only the stroke he incurred after flying back from the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, but the surgical procedure he had, according to a source close to Bruschi, to repair a hole in his heart.

Don't think for a minute that Bruschi didn't long to be suiting up in his No. 54 more now than in any season he's played football. Not only because he wanted to put aside what happened to him, but to defy the odds and prove you can be a professional football player even after having a stroke.

Who better than to defy such odds than a guy who was drafted as an undersized lineman (6 feet 1 inch, 247 pounds) out of the University of Arizona and used as a multifaceted role player under Bill Parcells in 1996 before he emerged as a heady, adrenaline-filled, gutsy, and instinctive player by the time coach Pete Carroll had taken over in '97?

Believe, too, that more than ever he wanted to bond with teammates again. Why do you think he spent so much time with them after the stroke? He worked out with them, acted like a guy who wanted back in. Newcomer Chad Brown, the linebacker who will essentially replace him, said as much during minicamp, indicating that he thought Bruschi was doing all of his work to play football again.

It's too bad we couldn't hear it from Bruschi rather than a statement from the team spokesman or an ambiguous quote from the head coach.

It's such a big story, such big news concerning a beloved player.

It was a story that needed a far more personal touch. The same touch that Bruschi gave to millions of Patriots fans, whose e-mails have flowed to this reporter since Feb. 16, the night Bruschi was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a stroke.

Bruschi was in California yesterday, but he signed off on the press release. The Patriots reacted quickly to a New England Cable News report quoting a source saying it was 90 percent certain Bruschi would play this season.

The buzz from teammates and others around the game indicated Bruschi was leaning strongly toward giving it a go this season.

The only quote distributed yesterday came from Bill Belichick, who said, ''All offseason, we have seen and felt Tedy's strong and upbeat presence. As usual, we will keep the focus on the short term and address the future in due course. We are pleased Tedy continues to be part of the team and he has our complete support."

What we believe is that this story and Tedy Bruschi's career may not be over

No doubt a difficult call to make - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Patriots - Sports



Players react to Bruschi

Mike Reiss' Blog

Two fellow Patriots linebackers -- Don Davis and Ted Johnson -- reacted to news that Tedy Bruschi intends to sit out the 2005 season. The comments, to appear in Thursday's editions of the MetroWest Daily News, are below.

* Johnson on what the Patriots miss with Bruschi:

"A confident signal-caller. I think what Tedy does best is make big plays at critical times, and that's arguably the most valuable thing he can bring to our defense. He also has a level of intensity and excitement, and loves to share in the joy of other guys' successes. He's always there to encourage a guy or jump on a guy after a great play, and let him know how big it was. It's stuff you don't see as much anymore. ... So much of (defense) is run on emotion, and Tedy doesn't lack emotion."

* Davis on what the Patriots miss with Bruschi:

"There are a few players around the league that impact the game or a team in such a way that you have to take notice -- whether you are a fan, a reporter, or on a team. To me, that's what Tedy Bruschi is. He has that presence of sheer determination. It's a will to win. You look at him and he's not your biggest linebacker or your fastest guy, but he's in the right place at the right time. Having played with him on defense, you get that sense, you're waiting for him to do something big. He's a rock. A solid player. And you know he'll be where he's supposed to be. That trust factor, the respect factor, that makes him such a good leader on this football team."

* Davis on if this is the greatest obstacle the team has faced in his time with the club (2003-present):

"It's hard to say, because when I first came here, with Lawyer Milloy (being waived), I thought that was just huge. Being a veteran player, seeing a guy like that, you say `Oh man, what are we going to do, what is the team going to do here?' To be able to bounce back and ultimately win the Super Bowl is huge. It says a lot about the coaching staff and a lot about the players. Is this one with Tedy any more or less dramatic than that? I don't know if you can say that. Only time can tell. I do believe this team is resilient, and it isn't like Tedy is in another locker room. He's in ours, still among us, and I still think his presence will be felt."

* Johnson on his impressions of two free-agent linebackers acquired by the Patriots -- Chad Brown and Monty Beisel:

"I think Chad is very eager; that's one thing that stood out for me. For a guy who has been in the league for 13 years, this is something he really wanted to take on -- there's no question he does. He said something to me like `The thing about football is you can never play football when you're gone. If you retire from baseball, you can still pick up a baseball game, if you retire from basketball or hockey, you can still pick up a game. But football, when you're done, you're done.' He thinks like that and trusts he's in a place that gives him every chance to win the big one. He seems extremely happy that he's here. Monty is younger and my guess is that he's trying to make a name for himself in this league. So why not come here where you have a great linebacker coach (Dean Pees) and a great defensive coordinator (Eric Mangini) to learn from? The entire linebacker corps, we do it the right way. I'm sure the new guys will follow suit.''

The following is a statement released by Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Tedy Bruschi:

"All offseason, we have seen and felt Tedy's strong and upbeat presence. As usual, we will keep the focus on the short term and address the future in due course. We are pleased Tedy continues to be part of the team and he has our complete support."

BostonHerald.com - BLOG: Reiss' Pieces



A picture is worth a thousand words ...

COACH'S BOX
Rick Bentley


There was a picture I had on the desktop of my old computer. It was a beautiful shot that brought one thought to mind every time I saw it: Love.

It was a photo of a smiling father, stooped over, arms outstretched. It was a photo of a young boy, wearing a replica of Dad's jersey, running toward those arms.

Dad was the picture of health. And while only the child's back was visible in the shot, the beaming smile on his face was understood. It was the personification of joy. And each time I saw it, several times a day, the same word came to me.

Love.


You've probably seen it, too. It was taken Super Bowl Sunday as Dad relaxed with Son on the field where only hours later, his team would win its third world championship in four seasons.

It was also only days before Dad, the magnificent Tedi Bruschi, went from Superman to mortal man. Bruschi, the picture of health, in the prime of life, suffered a stroke.

Maybe it was because of that picture. Maybe it was because I'd just seen Bruschi cap the best season of a career that seemed to be in the midst of its prime. Maybe it was the million-watt smile.

But for whatever reason, that has bothered me since February. All spring long and throughout this incredibly hot summer, I've followed this as closely as one can in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky when dealing with a football player in Boston.

Tedi Bruschi. From Superman to mortal, in the span of seconds.

On Wednesday, the New England Patriots announced that against his own desire, Bruschi will sit out the 2005 season in an effort to reach a full recovery from the stroke that has limited him since his Super Sunday.

I will continue to follow his progress, and do the only things I can for him: Cheer and pray.

Someday I hope to see Dad run back out onto that field, see the ferociousness that I enjoyed all last fall as he chased down every quarterback and running back and receiver who stood between him and three titles in four seasons.

For one season, Tedi Bruschi was maybe the best defensive player in the entire sport. And I hope to see him return to that level someday.

And I believe I will.

In the meantime, Bruschi will help teammates learn the intricacies of Patriots Coach Bill Belichick's complex defensive scheme. He'll teach the technicalities of the philosophy to players such as Chad Brown and Monty Beisel, the two players the Pats have brought in to replace him.

Much has been made of New England losing both Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis and defensive boss Romeo Crennel after last season and for good reason, I believe. But don't downplay the role Bruschi could play in making the transition a little easier on his side of the ball.

While I'm sure Belichick would rather have No. 54 on the field, he'll take his help anyplace he can get it at this point.

The good news about this situation is that the advice Bruschi has been given, both from family and friends and the Patriot organization, has been in his best interest. Too often those in power positions, be they front-office personnel, coaches or agents, don't have the well-being of the player in mind. Too often, it's a me-centered society that dominates.

Thankfully, that hasn't been the case this time.

"The organization has been so supportive for me," Bruschi said when the team held its ring ceremony. "I'm not pressured with any timetable. My family and I are worried about my health and we're just making sure I'm getting better and that's the only thing we're focusing on right now."

And others wonder why the Pats are the best organization in all of sports.

Wednesday's announcement has been coming since word spread of Bruschi's day last Feb. 16. I doubt anyone, with the possible exception of Bruschi himself, was surprised that today finally rolled around.

But I doubt many will be surprised if sometime during the 2006 season, Bruschi leads the defense out onto the field. The glare of a man passionate about his profession will return, we hope, and Bruschi can help his team find its way through another NFL postseason.

That would bring the smile back to everyone's faces.

Rick Bentley is the sports information director at Pikeville College.

Appalachian News Express



Bruschi's decision based on the right priorities

By Phillip Ramati

Telegraph Staff Writer

It isn't often when you seen an athlete do the right thing for the right reason.

So let's give Tedy Bruschi a round of applause for doing just that.

Bruschi announced Wednesday he would sit out this season due to a stroke he suffered after helping New England win the Super Bowl this year.

It's tough to see an athlete of Bruschi's caliber and character be forced to hang up the cleats, possibly forever.

But the alternative is so much worse.

It's hard to think of Bruschi's medical situation, believed to be caused by a small hole in his heart, and not think of Hank Gathers laying on the floor of a basketball court several years ago.

Gathers knew about his heart condition, but tried to play through it and died.

Bruschi is 32 and has a wife and three sons. At his age, his career was winding down anyway. His sons are all toddlers who will be better off being able to grow up with their father around.

What makes the whole situation bad is that Bruschi is really the heart and soul of the Patriots. As much as any player, he's been a key guy in getting those three Super Bowl rings.

He and the team have been working to see what the best option is.

"The organization has been so supportive for me," Bruschi said at the Patriots' ring ceremony. "I'm not pressured with any timetable. My family and I are worried about my health and we're just making sure I'm getting better and that's the only thing we're focusing on right now."

It provides an interesting contrast to the likes of Terrell Owens, who played in that same Super Bowl game this year and is also sitting out right now, for an entirely different reason.

Owens signed a seven-year, $49 million deal last year with the Eagles after he was traded to the team. After one admittedly great season, he is seeking to renegotiate that deal.

This is the same Owens who is hardly beloved around the league, in great part due to his ripping of teammates in the media.

Some have defended Owens' stance, saying that the shelf-life of an NFL player is so short that he should get whatever money he can while he can.

But one wonders how much money Bruschi would trade to be physically able to play another year.

How many Sundays is Owens willing to give away for a few extra million? Is the $7 million per year not enough? Is the money he makes in endorsements not enough?

Owens could decide to sit out this season and force a new contract.

Only he can decide down the line if sacrificing part of his career for money is worth it.

Bruschi might be able to tell him there are more important things than money and fame.

Macon Telegraph | 07/22/2005 | Bruschi's decision based on the right priorities



It's not an easy fix: Tedy more than tackles, sacks
By Michael Felger
Friday, July 22, 2005


Well before Tedy Bruschi announced on Wednesday that he would forgo the 2005 season, the Patriots had replaced his stat-sheet production with a series of moves at inside linebacker. Tackle totals and sack numbers shouldn't be an issue.


It's the other part of Bruschi's game - the intangible, instinctive part that consistently produced huge plays in huge games - that is virtually irreplaceable.


And the Patriots know it.


Will Bruschi's loss be the one injury the Pats won't be able to overcome? Rival Colts general manager Bill Polian certainly hopes so, saying during a golf event in June that maybe the ``worm will turn'' on the Pats this season.


And maybe it won't, because the Pats still have more than enough firepower and brainpower to worm their way to another title in 2005. Remember, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady aren't forgoing anything. And if the Pats claimed a championship in 2004 without Ty Law and Richard Seymour (for two playoff contests), and if they won it all in 2003 after losing 103 man-games to injury, then they can certainly three-peat without Bruschi.


Bruschi's production spoke for itself, as he averaged 100 tackles, 2.8 sacks, and 2.5 interceptions a season since 2001. But between Chad Brown, Monty Beisel, Ted Johnson, Roman Phifer (if he returns) and others, the Pats should be able to collectively match that output.


And what about Bruschi's emotional leadership? There's no doubt it will be missed. But the reality is that the Pats have a roster full of tone-setters. Rodney Harrison's playing style is nearly as infectious as Bruschi's. Willie McGinest has a firmer hold on the locker room than anyone on the team, especially among the younger players. The offense will never be hurting for emotion as long as No. 12 is behind center. On the Pats, character is just not an issue.


So what will the Pats miss the most? It's simple. Bruschi had a penchant for making spectacular, game-changing plays when the situation was ripe for it. That's not something that can be coached or signed in free agency.


Like Bruschi, Brown is versatile and experienced, but would the three-time Pro Bowler have the wherewithal to wrestle the ball away from Colts running back Dominic Rhodes for a key turnover as Bruschi did in last year's divisional playoffs? We'll see.


Like Bruschi, Brown can cover downfield, but could he intercept Jay Fielder from 5 yards away and return it for a score as Bruschi did against Miami late in 2003? Could he make a diving, touchdown-saving pick as Bruschi did against Peyton Manning on opening night in 2004? Hard to imagine.


In 15 career playoff games, Bruschi has 76 tackles, six sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. But the play that sent Belichick over the edge wasn't included in those numbers. It came on special teams in last year's divisional playoffs, when Bruschi nabbed a Mike Vanderjagt bouncer on a kickoff and returned the ball to midfield.


Two days later, Belichick was still gushing over Bruschi's ability to make an intelligent, instinctive play without an ounce of practice on it.


``There are certain players that sometimes you can't find the right word (for), but you just know they are playmakers,'' said Belichick.


The seminal moment in Bruschi's late-career surge came midway through the 2001 season, when Johnson and Bryan Cox were hurt and the youngster was the last middle linebacker standing in a revamped 4-3 scheme. His first start in that role came Nov. 25 against New Orleans. From that day through Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Bruschi played in 59 games (including playoffs).


The Pats' record in those contests was 50-9.


Is the worm about to turn?


Don't bet on it.


But without Bruschi, just don't expect the Pats to duplicate those numbers.

MetroWestDailyNews.com -



Doc: Odds of return daunting
By Jessica Heslam
Friday, July 22, 2005 - Updated: 03:48 AM EST

Football fans wanting to see Patriots [stats, news] star Tedy Bruschi [news] back on the field probably shouldn't hold their breath.


``I think the odds are against it,'' Dr. Joseph Carrozza, chief of interventional cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said yesterday.


The 32-year-old linebacker announced this week that he will sit out the 2005 season five months after he suffered a mild stroke.


While Bruschi reportedly underwent a procedure to repair a hole in his heart in March, little has been made public about the type of procedure he underwent, how severely the stroke affected him and how much he has recovered.


Before he could return to the field, Bruschi would have to completely recover from any neurological problems resulting from his stroke. His return also depends on what type of surgery he had to close the hole in his heart.


``If he doesn't recover neurologically, it's hard to imagine that he could play professional football,'' Carrozza said.


When a person suffers a stroke, they often lose strength in an arm or leg. ``If that were the case, you could do a lot of things, but to play football at the level he does would require above average strength,'' Carrozza said.


It's also unknown what kind of procedure Bruschi had to correct the hole in his heart.


If he had a surgical closure, Carrozza said, it's possible Bruschi could play football again if he heals well.


But if Bruschi had a metallic device implanted to close the hole in his heart, he might not be able to play, said Carrozza, who has performed surgeries to repair holes in patients' hearts.


Carrozza said he wouldn't feel comfortable having a patient get hit in the chest - a common occurrence in football - with a device in his heart.


``If he were one of my patients and I closed it with a device, I would not allow him to play football,'' Carrozza said.


Given that football requires a high level of athletic prowess, strength and trauma to the chest, Carrozza said the ``likelihood that he could safely and effectively play is not great.''

BostonHerald.com - New England Patriots & NFL: Doc: Odds of return daunting



Pats owner wants to pay Bruschi, but it's not that easy
TIMES WIRE SERVICES
Tedy Bruschi has made his decision. Now the New England Patriots have to make theirs.

There are at least four options for the team now that Bruschi has decided to sit out the 2005 season to recover from a stroke. The most likely is that he will be put on the physically unable to perform list, a designation that would allow him to collect his salary and even come back after Week 6 if he changes his mind.

Owner Robert Kraft has expressed a willingness to pay Bruschi, one of the team's captains, the $850,000 he is due in salary regardless of what happens. But under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, it's not as simple as that.

If the Patriots put Bruschi on the non-football injury or illness list, his contract stops running. They can't pay him -- even if they want to -- until he returns.

Same with the reserve-retired list, though it has the advantage of allowing him to return merely by getting permission from the league. On reserve-retired, though, Bruschi couldn't practice or train with the team.

Bruschi would be paid if he goes on injured reserve, but he would have to sit out the entire season with no option to return if his condition improves. He could attend meetings and train under the club's supervision.

For Bruschi to go on the physically unable to perform list, the move has to be made before the season. Players who go on P.U.P during the season have to have a football-related injury.

-- Associated Press

ContraCostaTimes.com | 07/22/2005 | Pats owner wants to pay Bruschi, but it's not that easy



PRO FOOTBALL: Don't write off Pats' Bruschi for 2006

By ERIC McHUGH
The Patriot Ledger

‘‘I'm not as fully committed to the Patriots as I was to my team at Arizona or Roseville (Calif.) High. (The Patriots) took a franchise player and kicked him to the curb five days before the season. I wish - I wish - it was the old days in this game, and I could put my heart on the line for something.'' - Tedy Bruschi in September, 2003

People say crazy stuff when they're upset, huh?

The above quote was Bruschi unloading his feelings to Sports Illustrated's Peter King in the wake of the New England Patriots' stunning release of Lawyer Milloy only days before the 2003 opener.

Seeing one of his best friends get whacked in such a cold-blooded manner sent shivers down Bruschi's spine. It also made him do the unthinkable - question his own passion for the game.

In hindsight, we can see the rant for what it was - an emotional response from an emotional player. At that particular moment, Bruschi honestly might have felt that his zest for football had disappeared, that he was ready to become bottom-line Tedy and look at the NFL as a source of income and nothing more.

The following two seasons proved him wrong.

Tedy Bruschi never did lose that passion.

That's why his decision - announced late yesterday afternoon - to sit out the 2005 season in order to recover from the mild stroke he suffered in February was not made lightly. (Unless the doctors made it for him, which is a distinct possibility.)

And it's why no one should write him off for 2006, either.

Conspicuous by its absence in yesterday's seven-sentence statement from the Patriots was any talk of retirement, any finality.

Heck, for a while it looked like 2005 would be a go. Count free-agent linebacker Chad Brown among those who thought Bruschi would be out there - or at least would try to be out there - when training camp opened next week.

Having watched Bruschi sit in on meetings and hit the weights this offseason, Brown observed that since those are the least enjoyable parts of the job, only someone who was still committed to the game would endure them.

That was an encouraging sign, but along with the optimism was the understanding that Bruschi was entering uncharted waters and that a return to the safety of the shore for a year might not be a bad idea. An iron will comes in mighty handy, but there are some hurdles that even the power of positive thinking can't help you scale.

That's especially true when you have a wife and three young sons, all of whom are counting on you even more than the Patriots are.

Hiring an agent - Boston-based Brad Blank - for the first time since his rookie season was an early indication that Bruschi was looking to cover all his bases. It's still unclear what Bruschi's official status will be when the Pats kick off camp, although the reserve/non-football injury list would seem to be the most logical solution. With Blank in his corner, he'll likely get the money that was promised to him when he signed his below-market contract extension (four years, $8.1 million carrying through 2007) last offseason.

After the stroke, which came 10 days after the Patriots' third Super Bowl crown had been won and three days after Bruschi's first appearance in the Pro Bowl, Bruschi lay low, not saying anything about his condition.

He made a grand - but brief - return to the public stage at the Red Sox's home opener as he, teammate Richard Seymour, Bruins legend Bobby Orr and Celtics great Bill Russell delivered the ceremonial first pitches at Fenway Park. The next time we saw him was at owner Bob Kraft's Brookline mansion for the Super Bowl XXXIX ring ceremony. Looking fit and smiling broadly, he told the media that the latest piece of jewelry was ‘‘my favorite of the three.''

He admitted that he might have teared up - ‘‘Shoot, I've been emotional for the last six months.'' And he said that life for him now was about ‘‘just taking my time.''

We - and he - knew that time slips away quickly, though, and that when you approach things day by day, eventually the day will come when hard decisions have to be made. Winning three Super Bowls in four years and finally being acknowledged with a long overdue Pro Bowl berth could be interpreted as a run of good fortune that would cushion the blow.

Not for Bruschi. Going out on top sounds romantic, but it assumes you're OK with the going part, and Bruschi wasn't - and likely still isn't - even close to OK with that.

‘‘Football is football to me,'' he said at the ring party. ‘‘It's something I love and something that I'll always want to do. But I gotta think about my wife and my sons and make sure things are right.''

Things aren't right right now. Maybe down the road. If he can stay sane for a year without football - may we suggest coaching, or more alto sax gigs at Symphony Hall to pass the time? - then chances are he'll take aim at 2006 and attack it as ferociously as he did any ball carrier.

Let other guys play for the paychecks. Bruschi will come back - or at least make a gallant effort - because his heart tells him to.

SI just caught him on a bad day.

The Patriot Ledger at SouthofBoston.com



Many options there to fill his void

By ERIC McHUGH
The Patriot Ledger

So, more ammunition for those emotionally invested in shooting down the New England Patriots' hopes of winning Super Bowl XL.

No Charlie Weis. No Romeo Crennel. No Ty Law. No Joe Andruzzi. And now, officially, no Tedy Bruschi, at least for a year.

No chance for a three-peat?

Not so fast.

Bruschi's decision to sit out the 2005 season wasn't unexpected. Quite the opposite - the Patriots spent much of the offseason crafting a contingency plan. They're pretty good at those, too. After all, this is an organization that has found adequate (sometimes better) replacements for the likes of Lawyer Milloy, Tebucky Jones, Ted Washington, Drew Bledsoe, Terry Glenn, Antowain Smith and Damien Woody.

Bruschi is a better player than any of the above, though, and filling the void will be a challenge. Luckily, the Patriots had the maximum amount of time to mull their options - the only vaguely silver lining in Bruschi's minor stroke was its timing, coming as it did in mid-February and not, say, right now.

With 16 linebackers (not counting Bruschi) under contract, new defensive coordinator Eric Mangini will have a smorgasbord of options. His first two choices figure to be free-agent imports Chad Brown (Seattle) and Monty Beisel (Kansas City).

Beisel is a Mike Vrabel wannabe in the sense that he was a part-timer with the Chiefs (as Vrabel was with the Steelers) who could flourish with more responsibility. He was jerked around in K.C., starting off as a defensive end and eventually playing all three linebacker spots in the Chiefs' 4-3 alignment.

Beisel, who turns 27 next month, said he has had to make only ‘‘subtle changes'' in switching to the Patriots' 3-4 system. His big offseason project has been eating - the 6-foot-3 Beisel played outside linebacker at around 238 pounds last season and at the Patriots' June minicamp he said he had been trying to bulk up in order to withstand the inevitable pounding inside.

Back then he said he was up to 245 pounds. Bruschi was listed at 247 on this year's roster.

‘‘It was kind of an unsaid thing,'' Beisel said of the weight gain. ‘‘In a 3-4 scheme, where you play against the bigger linemen and stuff, it's just (necessary) to gain some more strength and the ability to play off blocks.''

While Beisel is looking to make a name for himself, Brown, 35, is looking to restore his good name. A three-time Pro Bowler, he spent his first four NFL seasons in Pittsburgh, helping the 1995 Steelers win the AFC. He signed a fat free agent deal with Seattle in 1997 and while he justified the money, the Seahawks' so-so records (66-62 overall in eight seasons) and Brown's declining health conspired to put him in the ‘‘Gee, whatever happened to ...?'' category.

Cut loose by Seattle in the offseason, Brown (6-2, 245) signed with the Pats on May 10 and made a good early impression at the June minicamp, picking up the complex defensive system very quickly.

Coach Bill Belichick called him ‘‘one of the most versatile linebackers I've been around,'' and Brown agreed, noting that he has played every linebacker spot except the ‘‘very traditional'' middle linebacker in a 4-3.

‘‘We actually played some 3-4 occasionally in Seattle,'' he said. ‘‘I've played outside, I've played inside, I've put my hand down and rushed the quarterback and I've been a nickel linebacker. It's all just, ‘Tackle the guy with the football.' That's what linebackers do.''

Bruschi did that as well as anyone, logging 265 tackles in the last two regular seasons. But as anyone who has watched the Patriots closely knows, it is Bruschi's impeccable timing - as much as his sheer numbers - that makes him special. Pick a big game and chances are Bruschi made a big play in a big spot.

Can Brown, who battled neck, foot and leg injuries in Seattle, replicate Bruschi's knack for being in the right place at the right time?

‘‘If he's healthy, I don't see why there's any reason why he shouldn't make those kind of plays,'' said Steve Raible, who has spent 23 years announcing Seahawks games on KIRO radio (710-AM) in Seattle.

Speaking before Bruschi announced his 2005 hiatus, Raible said he thought Brown would benefit from moving to a 3-4 system, especially if he moved inside, thereby giving him ‘‘a little less ground to cover.''

‘‘My guess is that Belichick has 97 different ways to disguise coverage, to get him freed up either to blitz or drop back into coverage, both of which he can do very well.''

Including the playoffs, Bruschi picked off seven passes in the past two seasons. He's also the only player in NFL history to return four consecutive INTs for touchdowns. In contrast, Brown recorded only three INTs in eight years in Seattle, although Raible said Brown is capable of much more.

‘‘Shoot, he's always had great hands,'' said Raible, an original Seahawk who played receiver from 1976 to 1981. ‘‘You watch him out there in pregame warmups or you watch him after practice with the Jugs machine, he's got hands as good as most of our running backs and receivers.''

Given the Seahawks' penchant for drops, that might not be the highest compliment, yet Raible is confident that the Patriots will like what they're getting in Brown, the NFL's active leader in sacks among linebackers with 78.

‘‘For Chad, this is a great opportunity,'' Raible said. ‘‘They've got other pieces to the puzzle, so he doesn't have to do it all.''

All he's got to do is help replace Bruschi.

That's still a tall order.

The Patriot Ledger at SouthofBoston.com



Not our place

Try as the media have to make a call on Bruschi's future, the call was not ours — and it's in good hands

By Eric Edholm (eedholm@pfwmedia.com)
July 21, 2005

As writers we play doctor, we play agent and we play Monday-morning quarterback every week like clockwork. We love playing coach and we just eat up every minute of playing GM.

Worse yet, we play prophets, trying to predict what might or might not be going on in the minds of complex men and what might happen as a result.

And in most cases, if sportswriters had batting averages, terms such as “Mendoza line” might fade from existence.

The guessing game/prognosis/God-playing that began following the stroke Tedy Bruschi suffered in February came to an end with the Patriots’ announcement Wednesday that Bruschi will “forgo the 2005 season.”

Start up the reactions.

But in terms of my profession, before the announcement came Wednesday afternoon via e-mail, I was prepared to commit a cardinal sin: I was going to take myself out of the game on this one.

Who was I to say whether Bruschi should play next season or not? Who was I to make a call on whether the man is healthy or not to continue his NFL career and live a normal life thereafter?

I now have a consolation: I am fairly confident Bruschi is equipped to have made the right choice.

This man is about as levelheaded as football players come. He broke in and learned his trade under Bill Parcells and became a veritable star under Bill Belichick, two of the most respected men in the biz. Belichick, Scott Pioli, Robert Kraft, Jonathan Kraft all the way down to the folks who clean the cleats and serve the meals in Foxborough … do you think any of them wanted to see their favorite son hurt himself further?

Bruschi broke the pro-athlete stereotype by negotiating his own way-below-market-value deal last year to stay with a team of winners. And by doing so, by making far less money than he could — but more than a guy like Bruschi probably ever dreamed as a youngster that he’d make in a lifetime — he allows the Patriots to remain winners.

He is a doting husband and a devoted father. Who can forget the sight of the 245-pound linebacker chasing his kids around the sun-splashed field in Jacksonville before the Super Bowl? As far as those kids were concerned, at that moment, heaven was not a baseball field in Iowa but rather the green grass of Alltel Stadium. Dad is pretty cool.

Less than three days after the Pro Bowl, where he was smiling as usual, Bruschi suffered a mild stroke. At 31 years old. This isn’t supposed to happen — football player, rugged profession or not. Not to a guy like Bruschi.

It’s the kind of thing that rattles a man. It makes you think about your father and your father’s father and how lucky you have been and how many things have gone right in your life. It’s the kind of thing that makes you look at your children differently, the kind of look that might make them ask, “What’s wrong, Daddy?”

It’s the kind of life-changing event that scares the wits out of your wife and family and brings everyone closer. Everything you do is scrutinized; every day comes the following question from everyone: How are you feeling?

I can’t imagine the choice he faced: continue his career at risk or walk away — for now or forever — on top of the mountain.

But I trust this man. It was his call, with plenty of advice, no doubt, and I am fairly certain things will work out.

As the speculation about what he might do began to heat up the past few days (occupational hazard, remember), you heard again about how Bruschi has nothing else to gain or prove. He has won three Super Bowls in four years, gone to the Pro Bowl, become a legend to countless fans. What else is there? You heard that he just turned 32 last month and has the rest of his life in front of him. Why risk it?

I can certainly see all of that.

But I also can see why a man, a very proud man like Bruschi, might want to play again. There is more to prove. There’s always more to do. He’s one of those guys. The Patriots are going for their third straight Super Bowl title, something that’s never been done.

The last NFL team to win three straight championships was the Green Bay Packers, who won the final NFL title before the merger and took the first two Super Bowls. Before that, the only team to do it was the Packers in 1929-31. Even with Belichick as his coach, one who starts his team every year “at the bottom of the mountain” with everyone else, you think Bruschi isn’t aware of what his team is on the verge of accomplishing? They’re loaded again — who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

History aside, the man clearly loves the game. You can see it in the way Bruschi makes a tackle in an August preseason game or the way he struts into the endzone following an interception, like he did against Miami two years ago, snow pouring down on his head, loving every minute of it. And anyone who has heard a Bruschi post-victory (pardon me: vic-toh-REEE!) chant knows exactly what I am talking about.

In Boston, they have invoked the names of Celtics players Len Bias and Reggie Lewis — circumstances or coincidences be damned — and said their silent prayers for two athletes who died young, hoping Bruschi would not be the next to suffer. They might have even, to a lesser extent, thought about Red Sox slugger Tony Conigliaro, another of Boston’s favorite sons, whose situation bears only emotional parallels to Bruschi’s and whose career spiraled down following a gruesome and life-changing beaning.

And yet those fans wanted to see Bruschi play again if at all possible. It’s only natural once you have watched him out there.

They love their athletes in New England. If you play for one of their teams and show a fraction of the effort Bruschi has given every week, you become sacred. That’s why this issue — to play or not to play — has become so sensitive and important to so many people.

But I am not about to give my blessing or commend the man for making what we all-knowers and all-seers might deem as “the right move” or the “smart thing to do.” Phooey. None of us knows what’s happening in his head until he tells us, and even then we’ll never get the private, behind-closed-doors talks he had with doctors, family, friends and teammates.

None of us could make the decision for him. In fact, I don’t even feel comfortable saying whether he made the right decision or not. I just know if there’s a player in this league right now capable of handling it all, it’s certainly Tedy Bruschi.

So the player’s role has changed a bit. Bruschi has gone from the guy who slams ballcarriers to the one who shows rookie Ryan Claridge how to play linebacker in the NFL. There will be plenty of barking out from the sideline — from next Thursday’s first training-camp practice with the vets all the way to a January playoff game when it likely will be snowing in Foxborough. Think of Bruschi as M.L. Carr in gray sweats. If the Patriots win it all again this season, you can bet Bruschi will have earned every carat of the next gaudy ring they get.

And fear not: Tom Brady and Co. will make sure the postgame chants will stay.

Patriots fans are already thinking about 2006 and expecting Bruschi to play. That decision, foregone conclusion as it may seem, has yet to be made, and again, who am I to suggest what should happen for a man who has so many things going well in his life?

I can’t and I won’t. I get the feeling things will work out just fine. They have so far.

New England - Pro Football Weekly
 


Patriots Beat by Tom E. Curran:

Bruschi decision eases minds, leaves void

01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, July 24, 2005

Would it have been scary to play next to Tedy Bruschi this season knowing he'd recently suffered a stroke?

"Yes. I'd be scared for Tedy," Patriots middle linebacker Ted Johnson acknowledged last week.

Johnson has played all but one of his 11 NFL seasons on the same defense as Bruschi. They are teammates and friends.

But as co-workers in their particular profession, a deeper link also exists. Every NFL player risks his health every time he shows up for work. They accept it for themselves. And they also accept that a few guys are going to get hurt on the job every week. But seeing a friend and co-worker in pain each week doesn't lessen the empathy and concern players feel for each other. It deepens it.

And Johnson's concern for Bruschi would have been great this year if he had chosen to play.

"All I know is, I care about this guy and I don't want him to do something to put his life in jeopardy," said Johnson. "It would have scared me. I worry that he might push it too far. I know Tedy and how much he loves this game. And what he gets from the game, aside from the financial reward Tedy enjoys receiving."

The joy of competition. Of being part of something bigger than yourself. Of self-sacrifice and sacrifice for teammates. The feeling that you don't want to let down those who depend upon you.

Bruschi has always worn those emotions plainly. There's little doubt that, in the cauldron of competition, he would have taxed himself greatly. To what result? Who really knows?

"There really hasn't been a lot of precedent set [to compare to Bruschi's situation]," Johnson said. "I don't know of too many cases where a guy had a stroke off the field and came back to play football. There are so many injuries [in football] and you can pretty much reference them all with teammates or other trainers, but I don't think there's a lot of cases where you can call another team and say, 'How did you handle this?' It's sort of uncharted territory and that unknown is just scary as hell."

Johnson said he never asked Bruschi about his plans or recovery, allowing him the space and the opportunity to broach it himself if he wanted to. He felt that Bruschi's choice to keep the media at bay during the past few months was a good one.

"I thought, 'Good for him,' " said Johnson. "Who's to say that the fans or media are entitled to that kind of information? I struggle with that, because who's to say that? Unless you're in it, you can't appreciate . . . [when] it's your family and they're scared for the guy's life and people you don't even know are demanding an answer. Cut the guy some slack."

So how, exactly, will the Patriots soldier on without Bruschi in the middle?

"We just will," said Johnson. "We have no choice. There's no time for self-pity. Not in this business. [Coach Bill Belichick] doesn't allow that. And whoever plays [Bruschi's position] will have a lot demanded of him. He'll know there's pressure to do it right and get it right. The reason he's here -- whoever he is -- is that management thought highly enough of him to bring him in. He better know his stuff and play hard and play smart.

"We never want to have a compromised effort from our buddies. Whatever the role, whoever fills it is going to feel the pressure of his teammates. He'll have big shoes to fill."

And for Bruschi?

"He'll figure it out and life goes on," said Johnson. "His legacy is as strong as any athlete in Boston can be. He'll be revered for a long, long time."


projo.com | Providence, R.I. | Patriots


Pats aim to give Bruschi his due
By Michael Felger
Sunday, July 24, 2005

Give credit to the Patriots. The remaining $3.9 million due to Tedy Bruschi on his contract is not guaranteed, yet the Pats have worked out a deal whereby most of that money will be paid to the veteran linebacker whether or not he ever plays again. Of course, the public backlash against the Pats would be astronomical if fans found out they were being tight with Bruschi's money, but the Pats should still be lauded for taking care of a player who so richly deserves the show of loyalty.


Meanwhile, pay close attention to which inactive list Bruschi lands on. If he's on the physically unable to perform list, which, according to sources, is the choice, then he still has the option to return some time after Week 6 of the 2005 regular season. It begs the question: If Bruschi has said he plans to sit out the year, why wouldn't the Pats just put him on injured reserve and officially shut him down for the season?


It's a Belichickian way of ``keeping all their options open,'' said one source.


One player who would love to see more playing time this year is inside linebacker Ted Johnson, although he's not holding his breath. Despite playing only 40 percent of the defensive snaps last year, Johnson ranked third on the team with 112 tackles.


``I have a clear-cut, defined role,'' said Johnson of his first-down-only duty. ``Would I love to expand that? Without a doubt. But it's out of my hands. I think we have, like, 35 linebackers in camp. Is that even legal?''


BostonHerald.com - N.E. Patriots- Pats aim to give Bruschi his due


From Willie McGinest:

Tedy Bruschi -- ''A big part of what we've been able to accomplish. I think Tedy is going to be able to help our team just being around and being able to point some things out to the linebackers. We always knew Tedy would make a decision that was best for he and his family and I know he's been working hard on his rehabilitation."

Donahoe: Bruschi a league apart
Bills president and general manager Tom Donahoe thinks Tedy Bruschi's loss is not only a blow to the Patriots, but one for the NFL as well.

''I think he's one of the players who makes this league the great league that it is," Donahoe said. ''He's a high-effort player who you can see loves and respects the game every time he steps onto the field. He's the heart and soul of that great Patriots defense, and I'm sure he'll be missed in New England, but he'll be missed throughout football. I think he means that much to the game."

From one who should know

Browns coach/former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, commenting on Sirius radio about Bruschi's decision to sit out the year: ''The leadership that [Bruschi] provided to our defense when I was at New England was unbelievable. He's an unselfish guy and he's a playmaker because he always came up with the big plays when we needed him. He's also a leader in the locker room and the meeting room. They will miss that leadership."


McGinest tackles some topics - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Patriots - Sports


Pats have viable options to replace Bruschi
Michael Parente, Journal Register News Service 07/26/2005

The veteran Pro Bowl veteran linebacker announced last week that he will not play in 2005 after suffering a mild stroke in February. Bruschi is a hard-nosed, instinctive player with the knack for coming up huge during crunch time, but he also served as a calming influence in the locker room.

What the Patriots do now remains to be seen. They must find a way to replace their best run-stopping linebacker and the heart and soul of their defense. They’ve won without Milloy and Law, and they even won a pair of playoff games last year without Richard Seymour, but Bruschi is a different player. What he does off the field is as important as what he does between the lines.

Since the news of his condition surfaced, the Patriots have been preparing for the inevitable. They signed Monty Beisel from Kansas City -- a four-year veteran who got his first opportunity to start last season when the Chiefs suffered numerous injuries. They also drafted Ryan Claridge from UNLV. Claridge has actually been compared to a young Bruschi because of his versatility and ability to play multiple positions.

The big move, however, came in May when the Patriots signed three-time Pro Bowl veteran Chad Brown, who helped anchor the Pittsburgh Steelers defense throughout the mid-’90s. Brown will likely be Bruschi’s replacement in the starting lineup, which is fitting because the two share many similarities.

Brown has been in the league for 13 years and he’s played everywhere on the field, so he should be able to adapt to Belichick’s complex schemes -- as long as he stays healthy. He’s had injury problems in the past, so that remains a question heading into training camp, but when he’s healthy, he’s a solid pass-rusher and an adequate run-stopper.

The returning veterans will also have more responsibility in 2005. Someone has to step up and fill the void in terms of leadership. That could be anyone from Ted Johnson, Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel and Rosevelt Colvin. Johnson flourished in his role as an interior run-stuffer alongside Bruschi last year and still has enough left in the tank at the age of 32.

Vrabel, Colvin and McGinest will do the bulk of the work at outside linebacker. The Patriots cut Roman Phifer during the offseason, which puts a lot of pressure on Colvin. He’s entering his second full season since returning from a broken hip in 2003 and this could be his breakout year in New England. Vrabel, who’s still only 29, could have an explosive year if Colvin becomes more of a threat and begins drawing more double-teams at the line of scrimmage.

McGinest will continue to serve his role as a jack-of-all-trades linebacker, switching from inside to outside, or playing close to the line with one hand on the ground. Over the past two years, he’s grown wiser and more mature as a player and has become a valuable asset on a team that preaches position flexibility. Don Davis, Matt Chatham and Larry Izzo play primarily on special teams, but Davis and Chatham have proved in the past they can chip in on defense.

This could also be a big year for Dan Klecko and Tully Banta-Cain. Both were defensive linemen in college, but they’re too short to play up front in the NFL, so Belichick is turning them into linebackers.

Klecko’s progress stalled last year when he suffered a leg injury and wound up on injured reserve, but Banta-Cain got some playing time toward the end of the season and did a solid job. They should be further along in their development by the time camp breaks, which will be important because the Patriots need more depth with Bruschi out for the season.

Claridge will be another player to watch this summer. Like most rookies, he’ll have to earn his playing time on special teams, but don’t be surprised if he’s playing a key role on defense by the end of the year. He appears to be a fast learner and an enthusiastic player who’s willing to line up anywhere on the field.

Even without Bruschi, this is still a talented group of linebackers. They’ve gotten younger with the addition of Claridge and Beisel, yet they still have trustworthy veterans with McGinest, Vrabel and Johnson in the fold.

Asking one player to replace Bruschi is a bit too much. This will be a team effort where everyone chips in. Brown will need to stay healthy and shut down the run, and the young players will need to grow up faster than expected. The Patriots have replaced people in past with tremendous success, and until they fail, there’s no reason to believe they won’t find a way to do it again.

The Herald News - Sports



A handful of issues at Pats camp

By DAVID PEVEAR, Sun Staff

....YES, TEDY BRUSCHI CAN TEACH CHAD BROWN AND MONTY BEISEL THE INTRICACIES OF BELICHICK'S DEFENSE.

But that is not really the problem, is it? Can Bruschi teach his replacements to be like Tedy? When the wind and snow swirl in Foxboro in December and January, will Brown or Beisel step up to make the game-altering play like Bruschi always seemed to do? Will Bruschi's merely being around the Patriots this season give the defense its heart and soul?

We may not find that out in training camp. But we will at least get an idea of how Brown and Beisel measure up. As for Bruschi, I miss him already.

 

Lowell Sun Online - Sports


 

2006

Back where it all began
Patriots' Bruschi returns to Roseville healthy, happy
By Joe Davidson -- Bee Staff Writer
Saturday, March 25, 2006


Tedy Bruschi knew something was wrong - really wrong - when he couldn't see his son.
Even with Tedy Jr., a perpetual bundle of boom at 5 years old who captivates a room like his pop, crouched in front of him, as if in a three-point stance, the New England Patriots linebacker with Roseville High School roots was in something of a daze. It wasn't until Junior was directly in front of him that he noticed him, and then it hurt just to lean forward to touch him.

This was just over a year ago, when Bruschi found out how fragile life could be. Bruschi was suffering the effects of a stroke. He had numbness on the right side of his body and blurred vision. He tried to convince himself as he used a bedroom wall to steady himself that he was experiencing the pains of his craft. An NFL game has been compared to enduring 60 traffic accidents in a three-hour blur session.

And Bruschi was certain strokes or heart attacks strike the elderly, not athletes of his caliber. Not an athlete fresh off of his third Super Bowl victory parade and days removed from his first Pro Bowl appearance.

Healthy again, Bruschi, 32, returned to Roseville on Friday to help with a fundraiser for a weight room at his old school. He'll sign autographs today at Roseville Hyundai for two hours starting at 11 a.m. It's part of his fundraising drive, and he'll also talk football and discuss being a stroke survivor who made a stunning and triumphant return to the NFL last season. And he'll offer a stern message to the naďve: Don't ignore stroke symptoms.

"I learned that we're all human and we're all vulnerable and that strokes can happen to anyone," Bruschi said. "It's been an amazing ride, very emotional. I have received letters from 15-year-old girls who suffered strokes, 25-year old men. They tell me their stories. Or people who run into me. Strokes are the No. 3 killer in America and the No. 1 disabler. I can just say, If you think something is wrong - numbness, headaches, blurred vision - get to a hospital right away. It could save your life."

Bruschi is proof. He tried to "sleep off" his symptoms before his wife, Heidi, called 911. Physicians discovered a small hole in Bruschi's heart and theorize that was the origin to the stroke. Bruschi had surgery to repair the hole.

It took several weeks for him to regain any of his old form. Just standing straight and walking was a chore. Through rigorous rehabilitation, he started to look like the Tedy of old. His gait returned. His full vision returned. Then he thought about an NFL return, which initially seemed impossible if not foolish.

"The first thing I was worried about when I had the stroke was just trying to get my life back, being able to do normal things," Bruschi said. "There's a stigma about stroke victims, that you're never the same. That's not always true. I felt I needed to get back out there and play again. People were against it. There was genuine concern, and I could understand what they were saying. But I had to do this for me. I wasn't going to let a stroke change me, or let a stroke take football away from me. "

Bruschi consulted a number of neurologists and cardiologists. He was cleared every time. He became the first NFL player to return to the field after a stroke. In other sports, Brian Mullen of the NHL's New York Islanders tried a comeback two years after suffering a mild stroke in 1993. He never played in the NHL again. In 1980, Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richard had his career halted partly because of a stroke. He never played major-league ball again.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft was so confident in the diagnosis that he did not have Bruschi sign a medical-liability waiver. Bruschi went on to share the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award with Carolina's Steve Smith.

"I wanted unanimous clearance," Bruschi said. "If one doctor, one, said that he had some doubts, I wouldn't have come back. But I was told I could live my life any way I wanted."

That included becoming a spokesman for the American Stroke Association, visiting rehabilitation centers and becoming an inspiration well beyond being the frenetic linebacker from Roseville who willed his way to stardom.

"We were all pretty scared there for a while," said Larry Cunha, the longtime Roseville coach who is helping spearhead the fundraiser. "The kid's special. He's golden as a human being, a great role model. You dream that it works out, that he regains his health, that he could make a comeback.

"And knowing Tedy, it didn't surprise me that he made it back."

Bruschi said he felt "at home" in Roseville on Friday. This is where it started for him. Where in 1988, as a freshman who had just moved from San Francisco, a kid more into music was prodded by classmates on orientation day to give football a try.

He did. As a senior, with a long mane jetting out from the back of his helmet, Bruschi refused to be blocked and ransacked opposing teams, making sacks and blocking kicks.

Only Arizona expressed serious interest, and after four seasons there, he wound up tied for the most sacks in an NCAA Division I-A career (52).

Now he's preparing for his 11th NFL season, moved that he can even move at all.

"It's been special," said Bruschi, named in 2000 by The Bee as the Sacramento region's greatest prep football player, "really amazing."
 

Sports - Back where it all began - sacbee.com

 

March 30, 2006
Bruschi's take
Taking a break from the team's offseason program today, Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi commented on the free-agent depatures of kicker Adam Vinatieri and outside linebacker Willie McGinest at Gillette Stadium.

“This year was a little different, seeing Willie go, and Adam go. I was a rookie with Adam here. And Willie, I’ve won a lot of football games with him … It’s especially hard this year, seeing them leave. Those are my guys that you’ve won Super Bowls with.

"You get discouraged about it but you realize once they held up those jerseys with different colors, that’s it. They can’t help us win football games any more. So I have to help lead the guys that are here now to help us win football games next year.”

Bruschi also touched on his decision to return for an 11th NFL season.

"When the season ended and we lost in Denver, it was 'how do I feel?' I saw my doctors and talked to my wife [Heidi] about it, took inventory a little for a few weeks, and I still feel good. Now that I'm in my 11th year, you have to see how you are at the end of the season. Not at the end of the season, but take a little while to recover and see how you feel about it. Are you still fired up about it, about football.

"I discovered I'm still fired up about football. I'm ready to play a lot more."

Reiss' Pieces - Bruschi's take - Boston.com

 


Tough going: Bruschi tries to look ahead as friends move on
By Michael Felger
Boston Herald Patriots Beat Columnist


Friday, March 31, 2006 - Updated: 07:47 AM EST

FOXBORO -- Tedy Bruschi can be honest and diplomatic at the same time. It’s one of his gifts. Ask him about the Patriots’ offseason so far -- with the loss of friends Willie McGinest, Adam Vinatieri and David Givens -- and the veteran linebacker will give you both sides in one statement.

“It’s been discouraging at times, to tell you the truth,” Bruschi said yesterday after a morning workout at Gillette Stadium. “To see Willie go, especially, and to see Adam go, too. I’ve been with Willie and Adam for a long time. I spoke with both and wished them well. But the bottom line is this: Move on. We’re going to miss them, but they’re not going to help us win any football games so I can’t focus on who’s not here.”

Expect that to be the theme all offseason as Pats players are asked to put the departures in perspective. Any disappointment will be lessened in the knowledge that the Pats always do business their way.

“Bill (Belichick) has said it since he got here: He’s going to do what’s best for the team,” said Bruschi. “And what’s best for the team sometimes hurts your feelings because you see guys leave. Sometimes what you think is best for the team is keeping all your buddies around. That’s what you want. They have to look at it without emotion -- and I think they do a good job of that.”

Defensive end Ty Warren and guard Stephen Neal also met with the media, with Warren saying that McGinest dropped hints about leaving soon after the playoff loss in Denver and Neal acknowledging that the Pats’ offer (four years, $10 million, $3.5 million bonus) was competitive with the others he received on the open market. It’s all about the business of free agency, something Bruschi still fights.

“I see and I know the business aspect, but I still don’t want to look at that because I don’t think this is a real job, to tell you the truth,” he said. “All we’re doing is playing football. There are a lot of financial implications, but come on, I haven’t had a real job since I stacked Budweiser back in college. My neighbor teaches Kindergarten. That’s a real job. This is just having fun if you ask me.”

Bruschi is among a group of Patriots players (including Tom Brady, Mike Vrabel, Jarvis Green and Matt Light) who decided to re-sign with the team well before hitting the open market, thereby leaving some money on the table. Bruschi said he has absolutely no regrets, especially given the mild stroke he suffered last February.

“My free agent year would have been last year. My wife and I always get together and look back at decisions and we realize that was a good one. Because, come on, being a free agent after a stroke? I don’t know how much I would have got,” he said. “So I think it worked out best of us.”

As for Bruschi’s health now, he said he feels great and that he’s back doing everything he’s done previously at this time of year. Bruschi said he “took inventory” of his health after the Denver loss and determined, along with his family, that he wanted to play “a lot more football.”

He’ll just have to do it without some of his former teammates.
 


BostonHerald.com - Patriots & NFL: Tough going: Bruschi tries to look ahead as friends move on

Bruschi Talks About Changes

Bruschi and Vrabel, the keys to the LB corps By: NFL Scout
Special to Patriots Insider
Date: Apr 1, 2006

The Patriots have had their fair share of controversy this offseason. Faced with the loss of three key players who were instrumental in their Super Bowl success, the team has been quiet about rebuilding the roster. Factor in the departure of five more contributors, and the moves by the front office have many wondering if New England is in trouble of not returning to the playoffs. Veteran LB Tedy Bruschi offers his take on the changes surrounding the team.


As the month of March came to a close, ending what is generally the most active free agent period of the NFL offseason, Patriots fans were left wondering what the three-time Super Bowl champions were doing to restock a dwindling roster. While teams like the Browns, Redskins and a whole slew of others were wheeling and dealing their way through the veteran retooling process, New England signed just one unrestricted free agent, wide receiver Reche Caldwell.

Worse yet the fans also watched as key veteran contributors and long time Patriots Adam Vinatieri and Willie McGinest donned new uniforms in Indianapolis and Cleveland respectively. And young playmaking wide receiver, a key contributor to New England's offense in his four seasons in the league, followed the free agent dollars to Tennessee.

Add the free-agent losses of middle-of-the-roster types like Tom Ashworth, Tim Dwight, Christian Fauria, Matt Chatham and Andre' Davis and it's clear to see fans will be watching a very different Patriots teams take the field when the 2006 regular season rolls around.

But fans aren't the only ones having to rationalize their way through the departure of key players. Former teammates have the unenviable job of moving on without guys they've played with for a long time, some a decade or more. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who played alongside McGinest and Vinatieri for all four of the Patriots most recent Super Bowl appearances dating back to 1996, addressed that issue last week as he kicked off the team's offseason program with the understanding that there are going to be some key faces missing from the Gillette Stadium locker room next season.

"This year was a little bit different, seeing Willie go and Adam go," Bruschi said of the business side of the game. "I mean I was a rookie with Adam here. And Willie, I've won a lot of football games and lost a lot of football games with him. So it was especially hard this year seeing them leave because those are my guys that you won Super Bowls with and you get discouraged about it but you realize that once they held up those jerseys with different colors that's it and they can't help us win football games anymore. So I've got to help lead the guys that are here now to help us win football games next year."

Not surprisingly, the loss that most closely relates to Bruschi is McGinest. He played with the veteran throughout his entire career and understands there's now a serious hole on the outside of New England's 3-4 front. So who does he think could fill the void?

"Initially you think Matt Chatham, but Matt Chatham went to New York. So he's gone too," Bruschi said with a laugh. "You just think of the linebackers you have and at outside linebacker I think Tully [Banta-Cain, a fourth year player] has had some reps in the past. So is Tully ready to do something? I don't know. Is he ready to show that he can do what we want? I don't know. It's up to him."

Bruschi also acknowledged that with Mike Vrabel having successfully made the transition to inside linebacker out of need last season, New England has some flexibility. With Vrabel's newfound ability to play inside or out, the Patriots could fill the linebacker holes in a variety of ways, either through free agency or the draft.

"It can be either. I believe it can be either because of the flexibility Mike Vrabel showed last year," Bruschi said in awe of Vrabel's swift transition. "He was able to come back and play inside linebacker. Come on. It took me three years to play inside linebacker coming from the defensive line out of college. So what he did in three weeks really impressed me. I mean he's the MVP of the defense last year by far if you ask me. [If] you bring in an inside linebacker, move Vrabel to outside. You bring in an outside linebacker, move Vrabel to inside. That's the flexibility he gives us. I'd rather have him next to me, to tell you the truth, because he's a good friend of mine, he's a playmaker and I like playing next to him. But if he needs to play outside he can do that too. So we have a lot of flexibility when it comes to picking a linebacker."

Regardless, Bruschi and Patriot fans will have to move on and focus on the new season. Because the games will soon come, and as Rick Pitino once said of former Celtics legends like Larry Bird and Robert Parrish -- Willie McGinest and Adam Vinatieri are not walking through that door. But someone who'll fill their roles is going to have to.

Scout.com: Bruschi Talks About Changes

Tedy’s Team goes the distance for charity
By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa
Tuesday, April 18, 2006


New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who is usually on the receiving end of cheering crowds, was his Boston Marathon team’s lead rah-rah man yesterday at a party at the Lenox Hotel.

Bruschi, a stroke survivor, was on the roof and hanging out the windows of his hospitality suite at the Boylston Street hotel, encouraging “Tedy’s Team” - 15 runners who hoofed it from Hopkinton to the Hub to raise money and awareness for the American Stroke Association.

“Initially the (fundraising) number we came up with was $54,000 - because of my number on the football field,” the 32-year-old pigskin hero told the Track. “But after learning at our little pasta dinner at Maggiano’s (the other night) that we doubled that amount, we’re very proud.”

Tedy divided his partying time yesterday between the Saunders family’s annual rooftop viewing bash for 300 people and a suite down below that he reserved for his team and their families.

Bruschi, as per usual, was more than generous with the time he spent chatting up party-goers and signing a slew of autographs and sports memorabilia.

Also on hand to cheer on the 26.2-milers and say hey to Tedy and his wife, Heidi, were: WCVB-TV’s Dick Albert and wife, Marianne; Fox 25’s Butch Stearns; hotelier Robin Brown and son, Alex; State Room sweeties Jim and Alina Apteker and baby Aniela; Bob the Chef’s Darryl Settles and the entire crew from Boston maggie who passed on hosting their own marathon party this year.

Tedy told us that this year - a far cry from last year’s off-season when a stroke left his health and football career in jeopardy - he’s been kicking back and enjoying life.

“This off-season, we thought we’d just sit back and relax really,” Bruschi said in between autograph signings and mugging for the cameras. “We took the kids to Disney and took some time to ourselves.”

But it sounds like No. 54’s rushing for the new season to start!

“I’m very excited about this coming season because what a difference a year makes really,” he smiled, remembering the days of standing on the sidelines and watching his teammates play.

“Around this time last year I didn’t think I was going to play again, and here I come!”

Now, that was some finish line!
 

BostonHerald.com - Inside Track: Tedy’s Team goes the distance for charity

Football: Patriots star Bruschi helps Tucson chorus raise funds
Citizen Staff Report
Published: 06.02.2006


Tedy Bruschi made an appearance in town last night on behalf of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus Musicale Regalia, which is the group's major fundraiser.


Bruschi and his wife, Heidi Bomberger Bruschi, were at the Mountain Oyster Club to help the Tucson Boys Chorus during its 67th season.


Bruschi, a consensus All-American at the University of Arizona, three-time Super Bowl champion and NFL All-Pro linebacker, returned to play last season after having a stroke in the offseason.

 
In nine games after his return, he was a part of 62 tackles with two sacks and three pass deflections.

Football: Patriots star Bruschi helps Tucson chorus raise funds | www.tucsoncitizen.com ®

 

Bruschi appears to be playing at full strength
Pats linebacker, who suffered stroke in early 2005, enjoying minicamp
The Associated Press


Updated: 6:10 p.m. ET June 14, 2006
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Tedy Bruschi charged at Tom Brady as the quarterback threw a pass Wednesday.

Later, Bruschi chased running back Laurence Maroney when the Patriots’ first-round draft pick ran a short pass route. The throw to the right side was long, but Bruschi gave the rookie a light shove in the back, anyway.

Just like old times, the signal-caller of New England’s defense was back in the middle of the action, one year after missing the 2005 minicamp while recovering from a stroke he had four months earlier and wondering about his return to football.

“He’s a great player,” Maroney said at the team’s minicamp. “Going against great linebackers like him in practice is just setting me up just in case I do get in a game situation.”

Bruschi missed the first six regular-season games of 2005 before being cleared by doctors but was “dissatisfied” at the end of the season “because I think toward the end I really started to play good football again and I just wanted to win another Super Bowl,” he said.

He missed the last regular-season game and first playoff game with a calf injury and was back for the 27-13 AFC divisional loss in Denver in which he recorded five tackles.

Since then, he’s been working out regularly and participated fully in the first two days of the three-day minicamp that ends Thursday.

“The offseason workouts have gone great for me so far,” said Bruschi, who is entering his 11th NFL season. “I participated in virtually every one and I look forward to completing the program and being ready for training camp” starting the second half of July.

Last September, though, he said he wouldn’t play the 2005 season because of the mild stroke he suffered on Feb. 16, just 10 days after the Patriots’ third championship in four years and three days after he played in his first Pro Bowl. He later had surgery to repair a hole in his heart.

Bruschi knew he had to be patient throughout his recovery and it worked. He shared The Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year award with wide receiver Steve Smith of Carolina.

“I believe in the process — offseason workouts, minicamps, training camps, preseason,” he said. “To truly get ready for the opener you need all this stuff. You need steps like this and it’s nice to see that everybody’s got a good attitude out here and is excited about getting back to work.”

Bruschi’s presence is critical, especially after the Patriots lost team leader and linebacker Willie McGinest as a free agent to the Cleveland Browns.

But Bruschi already had seen plenty of change since he joined the Patriots in 1996 as a third-round pick from Arizona, where he played defensive end. He was primarily a special teams player and pass rushing specialist as a rookie, when he played all 16 games but never started.

By his fourth season, he was a full-time starter at outside linebacker. A few years later, he switched to inside linebacker, his current position.

There have been changes “every year for a while now,” Bruschi said. “Last year at this time I wasn’t out there.”

The Patriots were 3-3 by the time he returned and went 7-2 with him before he missed the last regular season game, an improvement that impressed starting cornerback Ellis Hobbs, a rookie last season.

“When he wasn’t out there we had a lot of mix-ups, just not a lot of order,” Hobbs said, “but when he comes he kind of ceases all the chaos. He knows how to get everybody in line and he just has a controlling voice out there. You know when you’re hearing his voice; it’s very demanding, but calm and in control.”

That voice is back, as strong as ever, 16 months after he was hospitalized for blurry vision and numbness in his left arm and left leg.

“I always judge myself by how I’m doing in the offseason workouts, and I’m doing great,” Bruschi said. “I just turned 33 (last Friday), and I’m keeping an eye on myself to see if I’m getting old or not. I’m still feeling good.”
 

Bruschi appears to be playing at full strength - NFL - MSNBC.com

Patriots' Bruschi returns to routine
By Glen Farley, Enterprise staff writer
FOXBORO — Tedy Bruschi firmly believes in what he calls "the process."


"As I've said before, I believe in the process — offseason workouts, minicamp, training camp, preseason," the New England Patriots' veteran linebacker said. "To truly get ready for the opener, you need all these steps."

The mere fact that he is participating in the three-day minicamp the Patriots will conclude at Gillette Stadium today is yet another sign that Bruschi has made dramatic progress from where he stood less than a year-and-a-half ago.

"I feel like I usually do," Bruschi said between the camp's daily double session. "The offseason workouts have gone great for me so far. I've participated in virtually every one. I look forward to completing the program and being ready for training camp."

Recall that just last year, Bruschi was so unsteady on his feet he was unsure of his next step.

"He's certainly way ahead of where he was last year at this time," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "It's good to see him out there in camp. We didn't see that last year."

At this time last year, it seemed the Patriots might never see Bruschi in uniform again.

The stroke he suffered on Feb. 16, 2005, just 10 days after contributing seven tackles, a sack and an interception to the Patriots' 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX and just three days after he'd participated in his first Pro Bowl, put Bruschi's nine-year pro career in serious jeopardy.

Endless hours of rehabilitation followed.

Placed on the physically unable to perform list at the outset of training camp on July 28, Bruschi began practicing with the Patriots last Oct. 19, little more than eight months after his wife Heidi placed the call to 9-1-1 that led him to Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital.

Activated from the PUP list on Oct. 29, Bruschi staged one of the more dramatic comebacks in NFL history the following night, gaining AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors by collecting 10 tackles in a 21-16 win over the Buffalo Bills in Foxboro.

Bruschi went on to register 72 tackles — a far cry from the 100-plus tackles he'd registered four times previously — but remember this was done in nine games.

According to one member of the team's defense, he also helped restore some order in a unit that, at times, appeared to be chaotic as newcomers Monty Beisel and Chad Brown struggled to fill the voids created by Bruschi's absence and Ted Johnson's retirement on the eve of training camp.

"When Bruschi came back, that's when I kind of came into the mix so I really don't know what it feels like not to be with him. I've seen it, (though)," cornerback Ellis Hobbs said Wednesday. "When he wasn't out there, we had a lot of mixups, just not a lot of order. But when he comes, he kind of ceases all the chaos.

"He knows how to get everybody in line and he just has a controlling voice out there. You know when you're hearing his voice it's very demanding, but calm and in control."

Bruschi missed the first six games of the season, plus the Patriots' regular-season finale with Miami after suffering a calf injury on special teams in the first quarter of a 31-21 victory over the New York Jets at Giants Stadium on Dec. 26.

That injury kept also Bruschi on the sidelines for New England's 28-3 AFC Wild Card win over Jacksonville at Gillette.

Suiting up at Invesco Field at Mile High on Jan. 14 of this year, Bruschi returned for the 27-13 postseason loss to Denver that denied the Patriots' bid for a third straight Super Bowl championship and their fourth in five years.

Thus, Bruschi's dramatic comeback season came to an end.

"I felt dissatisfied," he said, "because, toward the end, I really felt I started playing good football and I just wanted to win another Super Bowl.

"My main motivation last year was trying to win another Super Bowl," said Bruschi. "That's always my main motivation. To come up short last year was disappointing."

Now, the second season in Bruschi's comeback draws nearer.

When minicamp kicked off on Tuesday, there was Bruschi, working with Monty Beisel on the inside, with Mike Vrabel moving back to his more customary position outside with Rosevelt Colvin in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme.

"I always judge myself by how I'm doing in the offseason workouts, and I'm doing great," said Bruschi. "The numbers that I've been doing … I just turned 33 (last Friday), and I'm keeping an eye on myself to see if I'm getting old or not. I'm still feeling good."

Patriots' Bruschi returns to routine

Rhode Island Italian-American Hall of Fame Awards Banquet
Presented By: Rhode Island Italian-American Hall of Fame

Rhode Island Italian-American Hall of Fame Awards Banquet will be held on June 29, 2006 at the Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, RI.
Honoring:

Tedy Bruschi
New England Patriots

Mike Tranghese
Big East Commissioner

Lt. General Reginald A. Centracchio (Ret.)
Rhode Island National Guard

& Ten Outstanding Rhode Island Students

All net proceeds go to the RI Italian-American Hall of Fame scholarship fund.

NOTE:VENUE CHANGE TO KIRKBRAE COUNTRY CLUB

Details: It will begin with a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m., spectacular four course dinner at 7:30 p.m. Awards and induction ceremony hosted by former channel 10 sportscaster Joe Rocco will include video tributes on all honorees.

Visit www.kirkbrae.org for directions.

Be sure to select General Admission or VIP tickets.

Tickets: $100
VIP Tickets: $200

All seating is reserved. A limited number of VIP tickets are available. They include prime seating and invitations to a private pre-event cocktail party to meet the evening's honorees and other celebrity guests.

Please bring your E-Receipt to the event and exchange it for actual tickets. You will be able to do this anytime after 5 p.m. outside the Kirkbrae Country Club.
Ticket Prices: $100 Regular, $200 VIP

ArtTixRI.com

 

Bruschi chimes in
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi said the Patriots have some kinks to work out in training camp because there was too much spotty play in the recent full-squad minicamp. ``We weren't as clean as we wanted to be in minicamps," Bruschi said after yesterday's Spaulding Rehabilitation Golf Tournament at TPC Boston in Norton. ``It's understandable. We're getting the system down again and just getting used to playing football again. I think once training camp starts, everyone will have done their physical work with the offseason program. In training camp, you have to work on becoming a good football team." Bruschi, who turned 33 June 9, feels he's in top shape. ``I've had a great offseason," he said. ``I just feel like I've put in a lot of work this offseason that I wasn't able to put in last season. I believe in the process -- minicamps and offseason programs and training camps. I think participating in all that will make me a better player this year." . . . The Patriots' offseason program continues through July 7 . . . Training camp is scheduled to begin July 28 at Gillette.

Samuel is staying step ahead - The Boston Globe

June 26, 2006
Time with Tedy

NORTON -- Listening to Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi as he came off the 18th green at the Spaulding Golf Tournament Monday at the TPC Boston, one thing became clear. He has a great appreciation for the role the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital has played in his life.

“My relationship with Spaulding is a little bit ironic,” he said. “I was a spokesman for them before I had my stroke. Then after I had my stroke, I became a patient.

“I had a definite history with them and I know the rehabilitation therapists very well and I know the people there very well. They do great work and get people back on their feet, to give them another opportunity in their lives, to resume living their lives. It’s something I’m proud to be associated with.”

Proceeds from Monday’s golf tournament went towards the “Tedy Bruschi Therapeutic Gymnasium” in the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital being built in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

“It’s going to be a first-class facility,” said Bruschi, who also continues to be an active spokesman for the American Stroke Association. “All the patients who come into Spaulding have a different type of adversity to overcome. Knowing they will be rehabilitating themselves in a gym with my name on it is an extreme honor for me.”

Bruschi turned 33 on June 9. Entering his 11th NFL season, he’s feeling in tip-top shape.

“I’ve had a great offseason,” he said. “I just feel like I’ve put in a lot of work this offseason that I wasn’t able to put in last season. I know during the season last year, I got back to playing good football, but I believe in the process -- minicamps and offseason programs and training camps. I think participating in all that will make me a better player this year.”

Assessing the Patriots at this point, Bruschi believes there is plenty of work to be done.

“We weren’t as clean as we wanted to be in minicamps,” he said. “It’s understandable. We’re getting the system down again and just getting used to playing football again. I think once training camp starts, everyone will have done their physical work with the offseason program. In training camp, you have to work on becoming a good football team.”

The Patriots’ offseason program ends July 7. Players will report back to Gillette Stadium a few weeks later.

Bruschi has no special plans before gearing up for the 2006 season.

“The only thing I do is spend time with my family, because once football season starts I’m around the team and the guys more than my wife and kids."
 

Patriots blog -- Reiss Pieces - Boston.com

 

Bruschi, Pats make ailing boy’s dreams come true
By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa
Wednesday, July 5, 2006


The New England Patriots and football hero Tedy Bruschi rolled out the Gillette Stadium red carpet - and the inflatable football helmet, too - for a 6-year-old boy with a life-threatening heart condition - and made little Andrew Geracoulis’ pigskin wish come true.

Andrew, who suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition where the left side of the heart is underdeveloped, asked the Make-A-Wish Foundation to get him some face time with his hero, Bruschi.

“Tedy’s my favorite player,” Andrew told the Track. “Because he had a heart surgery like me.”

Andrew’s had three heart operations in his short life - at 5 weeks, 6 months and 18 months - and may eventually need a heart transplant.

Tedy, who has three young sons of his own, had surgery last year to repair a hole in his heart that was presumed to be the cause of the stroke he suffered in 2005.

“I can imagine it would give him hope a little bit,” Bruschi said.“Here I am a professional football player and sort of had a circumstance with my heart also. A lot of people can relate to me . . . and look to me and sort of say, ‘Hey if he’s doing OK, and he’s playing professional football, I think I can live a normal life.’ That makes me proud. It makes me really proud.”

No. 54 spent more than an hour with Andrew, his parents Cynthia and Steve, a Marine helicopter pilot, and Andrew’s little sister, Anna, 4. Tedy took the family on a tour of the stadium starting in the room where the three Vince Lombardi trophies live.

“Put your hand on there and leave your fingerprints on them so we’ll know you were here,” Bruschi told Andrew.

Then he took his little guest down to the visitors’ locker room where there was a locker with Andrew’s name on it contained a Pats uniform complete with shoulder pads and cleats. After Andrew suited up, Tedy took him through the pregame ritual (‘We like to bang on each other’s pads like this,’ he said, tapping Andrew’s humongous shoulders.)

Then Bruschi and his new best friend went down the tunnel to the field where the Pats had set up the inflatable football helmet the team runs through at the beginning of every home game. According to protocol, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” was blaring from the sound system and announcer John Rooke introduced “Andrew Geracoulis of yooooooour New England Patriots!”

Andrew and Tedy ran out onto the field - the 6-year-old grinning from ear to ear - and threw the football around until the rookie “scored” the winning touchdown. After that, like every hero of every home game, they took Andrew down to the media room for a “press conference.”

Andrew’s sister, Anna, not to be outdone, was suited up in a cheerleader uniform and got some tips from head rah-rah girl Tracy Sormanti.

“This is so awesome,” said Andrew’s mom, who was sobbing tears of joy through most of the afternoon. “When we first started out and we didn’t know if he would make it I never would have imagined that we would get to the point where life was so enjoyable and so special. This is great.”

The Geracoulises live in Virginia, where dad Steve is stationed. But the Marine chopper pilot is a Melrose native who taught his son early in life to love the Patriots.

“I like them because they won three Super Bowls,” said Andrew, who can rattle off the scores of all three Super victories.

Steve said he could think of no way to ever repay Bruschi and the Pats for the kindness they showed to his son, but Tedy said he’s the one who feels honored to have been asked.

“This isn’t something that is a burden on me or is taking up part of my time,” he said. “It’s something that I’m proud to do and I’m very fortunate to be able to bring some joy to a young man like that and it’s something that I will remember myself just as much as he will.”

The whole visit was filmed by ESPN’s cameras for a 10-part “SportsCenter” series that will debut Friday. The sports channel and Make-A-Wish Foundation have teamed up to grant sports-related wishes to 10 children with serious medical conditions for the series, which will be hosted by Emmy Award winner Chris Connelly.

The segments will run through July 23 and will feature a behind-the-scenes look at the kids, their families and the athlete. Each episode will culminate with the wish coming true.

File Under: Field of Dreams.

BostonHerald.com - Inside Track: Bruschi, Pats make ailing boy’s dreams come true

Dream come true
Tedy Bruschi of the New England Patriots, Roger Clemens of the Houston Astros, and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers are among the pro athletes who gave up a day recently to let children into their lives as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The result is a 10-part series on ESPN's ``SportsCenter" called ``My Wish," which will debut Sunday at 10:30 p.m., hosted by reporter Chris Connelly. The series is sponsored by Disney.

Bruschi's guest is 6-year-old Andrew Geracolis, who is the youngest of the children chosen and ``is probably the biggest Patriots fan in Locust Grove, Va.," said Connelly.

Andrew Geracolis, whose father is a lifelong Patriots' fan, said he felt a connection with Bruschi because he had three heart surgeries by the time he was 18 months old.

The Patriots made a locker for Geracolis, gave him a uniform with the number 54, blew up an inflatable tunnel the players run though, and announced his name on the PA system.

At the end of the day, Bruschi presented Geracolis with a game ball Bruschi had earned.

``It just blew my mind," said Stephanie Druley, ESPN senior coordinating producer.

Bruschi's segment will air Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Japan documentary is a home run - The Boston Globe

Friday, July 7, 2006
Updated: July 9, 10:35 AM ET
Andrew and Tedy Bruschi
 

By Cynthia Geracoulis
Andrew Geracoulis' mother


When Andrew thought about what he wanted his Wish to be, the first and only thing he ever considered was going to a Patriots game and meeting Tedy Bruschi. Andrew wanted to meet him not only because he was a Patriot, but because he'd also undergone heart surgery for an undetected congenital heart defect and then returned to the football field. The Make-A-Wish foundation granted Andrew a meeting with Bruschi and a return trip in the fall to attend a Patriots game.


Sharing Andrew's excitement was something that seven years ago I never dared dream. You see, "heart parents" don't have the innocent luxury of dreaming that far ahead in their child's future. Instead, we spend many hours praying just to see their first feeding without a tube, their first "good" echocardiogram after surgery, and their first birthday. So the weeks and days leading up to the trip to Boston to meet Bruschi made me feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. For the first time my happiness for Andrew felt pure. I was watching Andrew experience something truly phenomenal, without worrying about anything that could possible go wrong.

When we arrived at Gillette Stadium, Andrew's eyes were as big as saucers. He was shy when he met Tedy, but he shook his hand and I could tell Andrew was thrilled because he couldn't take his eyes off him. Afterwards we went down the hallway to the room where the Super Bowl trophies are kept. This was the most exciting part of the day because holding the trophies made Andrew feel like he'd actually won a Super Bowl.


We continued down the hall and downstairs to the locker room where much to Andrew's surprise, his name was on an official nameplate hanging over a locker that was filled with a complete uniform in just HIS size!

We then walked onto the field and I looked up and saw Andrew's name on the jumbotron and seeing his name was suddenly overwhelming. As the facemask on the helmet started to open I saw my littlest Patriot running towards the opening, hands in the air and for that brief moment he WAS a Patriot. And for the first time throughout the entire experience, I cried. I cried because my little boy who'd already been through so much in his short life was fulfilling his once in a lifetime dream of running onto the field as a Patriot.


Then it was off to the Patriots' locker room, where another surprise awaited. Tedy was showing Andrew some things in his locker, when he picked up the game ball he had received from last year's playoff game against the Jaguars and presented it to Andrew. Somehow that football seems to carry an energy of greatness and accomplishment that will forever remind Andrew of the power of the human spirit.

It was something Andrew will carry with him forever, an indescribably special moment in an unbelievable afternoon.

If you want to know more about the Make-A-Wish foundation or donate to the cause click here.

ESPN.com - ESPN/MYWISH - My Wish: Tedy Bruschi

2007

Family teams with Bruschi for stroke research
By Renee Nadeau

Sunday, February 18, 2007 - Updated: 12:27 PM EST

A stroke can alter the lives of any family, but Robin and Paul Lyons of Plainville were hit especially hard in 2003, when two of their sons suffered multiple strokes at ages that most kids are learning how to run and ride bikes.

Michael Lyons and Paul Lyons Jr. were both diagnosed with the rare Moya Moya disease, which causes strokes in even toddlers and young kids. The family has made the best of the harrowing situation, teaming up with a famous stroke victim, New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi [stats], for a fund-raiser March 2 at Christina’s function facility in Foxboro to fight the deadly condition.

The first time Paul had a stroke in October 2003, Robin Lyons didn’t realize how sick her then 7-year-old was. Doctors at a local hospital pinned Paul’s trouble speaking and other symptoms on an allergic reaction to a medication.

But less than two months later, when she picked up Michael, then 2, from a play date, she knew instantly something was seriously wrong with her lethargic, twitching toddler. He was rushed to the hospital.

“Nine days later, they came up with this grueling Moya Moya diagnosis,” said Robin Lyons.

Michael was offered a trip to Disney World by the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the time, but Robin Lyons felt too guilty to take the wish from another sick child.

Paul, now 10, was diagnosed with Moya Moya in the spring of 2004 after a second stroke. Michael, 5, has had two subsequent strokes.

The Lyons’ other two sons have tested negative for the disease.

“It wasn’t fun going through all that,” Robin Lyons said. “It was hard for the other kids, too, being in hospitals all the time and asking me, ‘Am I going to be next?’ ”

Today, Michael suffers daily seizures as a result of his three strokes. But his mother credits a neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital in Boston for developing and performing the surgery that saved both her sons’ lives.

Next month’s fund-raiser will benefit the hospital and the American Stroke Association. A silent auction will include five items signed by Bruschi, a Lyons family friend.

As for Paul, he was medically cleared to play sports recently.

“He wasn’t allowed to do really anything for two years,” said Lyons, who will run the Boston Marathon for the second time this year with “Tedy’s Team” to spread awareness of stroke and Moya Moya.

And this week, Michael will finally be getting his wish: The family will be traveling to Disney World for a long-overdue vacation.

Family teams with Bruschi for stroke research - Local / Regional - BostonHerald.com

Tedy Bruschi Receives Wish Hero Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Massachusetts has selected New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi as the recipient of the 2007 Wish Hero Award. The Award was established to honor individuals and organizations that go to heroic efforts to bring hope, strength, and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions throughout the Commonwealth. The Award will be presented to Bruschi at the 2007 Make-A-Wish Gala, held on March 3 at the InterContinental Boston.

Boston, MA - The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Massachusetts has selected New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi as the recipient of the 2007 Wish Hero Award. The Award was established to honor individuals and organizations that go to heroic efforts to bring hope, strength, and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions throughout the Commonwealth. The Award will be presented to Bruschi at the 2007 Make-A-Wish Gala, held on March 3 at the InterContinental Boston.

This past year, Bruschi, a stroke survivor himself, exemplified the Wish Hero spirit by going above and beyond for two young boys with heart conditions. On short notice, Bruschi fulfilled a wish by surprising a little boy in his hospital room. They spent the afternoon playing "Madden 2006" on X-Box [the game ended in a tie score]. Last spring, Bruschi hosted a memorable wish with a little boy named Andrew who traveled to Gillette Stadium for an opportunity to meet his favorite player. Bruschi treated Andrew and his family to a once-in-a-lifetime experience that included dressing in full uniform, scoring an imaginary game-winning touchdown, conducting a post-game press conference and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Their heartwarming experience was chronicled on ESPN's My Wish series.

"Tedy's unsurpassed compassion towards our wish children is what Make-A-Wish is all about -- people coming together to help others in need. He is a true hero to our wish children. We are proud to name him as the first-ever Wish Hero Award recipient," said Charlotte A. Beattie, CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts.

Bruschi is seen as a respected leader on and off the field, serving as a Patriots team captain for the last five seasons, and a role model to children near and far. He has made an impact in New England communities in the 11 years since he was drafted by the Patriots in 1996. In addition to his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Bruschi is actively involved with the American Stroke Association and Best Buddies.

Tedy Bruschi Receives Wish Hero Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts

 

PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK - RETIREMENT POSTPONED? Report: Bruschi decides to play again

There have been rumors that Tedy Bruschi, who turns 34 in June, might call it quits. (File photo)
By ERIC McHUGH
The Patriot Ledger

According to an unconfirmed Internet report this week, the New England Patriots won’t have to worry about finding Tedy Bruschi’s immediate successor at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Not that they usually look there for linebackers anyway.

Both the team and Bruschi’s agent, Brad Blank, yesterday declined to confirm or deny an nfl.com report by Adam Schefter of the NFL Network that said that Bruschi has put aside thoughts of retirement and decided to play the 2007 season. During the Patriots’ playoff run there were rumors that Bruschi, who turns 34 in June, might call it quits. After the Patriots’ loss to the Colts in the AFC championship game, Bruschi declined to comment on his future plans, saying he needed time to think.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team assumes that any player under contract - Bruschi is signed through 2007 - is coming back unless the player says otherwise.

Despite missing Week 1 with a broken wrist he suffered in training camp, Bruschi led the Patriots in tackles (with 124) for the first time in his 11-year career. He had a career-high 17 tackles in a November loss to the New York Jets and also paced the team in playoff stops with 25.

Bruschi was a defensive captain for a team that allowed a franchise-record 14.81 points per game during the regular season. But the Patriots collapsed in the second half of the AFC final, surrendering 32 points, and the linebacking corps took much of the blame. Bruschi, Mike Vrabel (turning 32 in August) and Rosevelt Colvin (turning 30 in September) have a lot of miles on their odometers. Ditto for Junior Seau, a 38-year-old free agent who reportedly would like to play an 18th NFL season after his ‘‘comeback’’ with the Patriots last year was cut short by a broken arm.

Tully Banta-Cain, who moved into the starting lineup when Seau went down, is a free agent, and it’s unclear whether the Patriots want to retain him.

Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots generally have avoided drafting linebackers and have missed on a couple that they did pick (Jeremy Mincey, Ryan Claridge). They did have three former undrafted free agents on the roster this season - third-year pro Eric Alexander (a surprise starter in the AFC championship game) and rookies Corey Mays and Pierre Woods.

Normally, the Patriots come away from the combine unimpressed with the latest crop of college linebackers. This year’s group will be ready for inspection beginning today, and the big names are Patrick Willis (Mississippi), Paul Posluszny (Penn State) and Brandon Siler (Florida) on the inside and Lawrence Timmons (Florida State), Jarvis Moss (Florida) and Anthony Spencer (Purdue) on the outside.

Linebackers will work out on Monday, and those who are really desperate to get a look at the Class of 2007 can follow the proceedings on the NFL Network. The channel will have seven days of coverage, starting today with news conferences at 2 p.m.

The Patriots released veteran safety Tebucky Jones, whose second tour of duty with the team was ruined by a season-ending leg injury he suffered during the summer. Jones, 32, signed as a free agent last spring. A first-round pick of the previous regime in 1998, he spent five seasons with the Patriots before he was traded to New Orleans before the 2003 campaign … Former wide receivers coach Brian Daboll has been named quarterback coach of the New York Jets. Daboll left the Patriots last week to reunite with Jets coach Eric Mangini … Bruschi is scheduled to receive the 2007 Wish Hero Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts at the charity’s annual gala, March 3 at the InterContinental hotel in Boston.

Eric McHugh may be reached at emchugh@ledger.com .

Copyright 2007 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Thursday, February 22, 2007

PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK - RETIREMENT POSTPONED? Report: Bruschi decides to play again

Hungry’ Bruschi ready to tackle another season
By Karen Guregian
Boston Herald General Sports Reporter and Columnist

Sunday, March 4, 2007 - Updated: 08:35 AM EST

Tedy Bruschi doesn’t know where all the retirement talk came from. He got calls from several teammates, including Rodney Harrison [stats], wondering what he was going to do. He’d get stopped on the street. Fans would ask.

Bruschi told them all to relax. He said even though he turns 34 in June, with 11 NFL seasons under his belt and having survived a stroke in 2005, the thought of hanging up his pads never really entered his mind.

Last night, the linebacker indicated he was looking forward to tackling another year at the heart of the Patriots [team stats] defense.

“I never alluded to it. I never told anyone that I was thinking about retiring,” Bruschi said at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston, prior to being honored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “I feel great. I’m ready to play. I’m more hungry now than I’ve ever been. I want to win another championship.”

Following the Pats’ season-ending loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship Game, Bruschi did say he wanted to reflect on the season before deciding on his future.

“I’m heading into my 12th year, so I think once you get along in your career, you always assess things at the end, which is what I was trying to say,” Bruschi said. “Maybe people took that the wrong way.”

Naturally, Bruschi was aware of the newest addition to the Pats linebacking corps. Just hearing the name Adalius Thomas brought a smile to his face.

“I’m very excited about it. He’s the prize of the free agent market,” Bruschi said. “I know he’s done some great things in Baltimore. He has to do some more great things here. I look forward to seeing him do that, and I look forward to working with him. We have another linebacker for our corps, but we have to realize, work still has to be put in. Even though we signed him, we have to put in work together as a unit and make plays.”

Could Bruschi envision how Bill Belichick will employ Thomas with him and Mike Vrabel?

“I don’t want to say how it’s going to go,” Bruschi said. “Who knows where Adalius is going to play? Who knows where Vrabel is going to play? I think the one thing you know about us, we switch things up a lot week-to-week. Until I see the game plan for Week 1 next season, then we can talk about it.”

According to the NFL Network, the Pats signed Thomas to a five-year, $37.5 million deal that includes $24 million in the first three years. That’s enough to leave some mouths watering in the Pats locker room. Bruschi didn’t think anyone who’s taken a “hometown discount” would have a problem.

“Check your ego at the door. That’s what we all do when we walk in that locker room,” Bruschi said. “If you bring that baggage with you, don’t come to work. Put your money somewhere else and focus on winning. That’s what I do. I don’t worry about what someone else makes. He got a great deal. Congratulations, now let’s go win.”

Looking impeccably fit last night, Bruschi was the recipient of the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s 2007 Wish Hero Award. The award was established to honor individuals and organizations that “go to heroic efforts to bring hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions through the power of a wish.”

Last year, Bruschi hosted a wish for a little boy named Andrew. He treated Andrew and his family to a day at Gillette Stadium.

“I’m humbled by (the award). It’s a wish-hero award. I don’t really think I’m the hero. These kids I visit with, Andrew’s the real hero,” Bruschi said. “He’s the one who shows real courage. I’m just the guy he wanted to meet and have a good time with.”

‘Hungry’ Bruschi ready to tackle another season - N.E. Patriots - BostonHerald.com

 

February 26, 2007

Patriots’ Bruschi coming to Canandaigua

Staff report
New England Patriots star Tedy Bruschi, who overcame a stroke to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors, will visit Canandaigua on March 31.

In an appearance presented by Thompson Health, Bruschi will share his insights on recuperating from a stroke he suffered at the age of 31.

Bruschi, who has won three Super Bowl rings in New England, feared the stroke would end his football career. Physicians found and repaired a small hole in his heart in February 2005 and he returned to the football field against the Buffalo Bills eight months later.

Bruschi will speak at Canandaigua Academy at 7 p.m. on March 31. Tickets ($20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under) go on sale March 5 at all Ontario County branches of Canandaigua National Bank.

For more information, go to ww.thompsonhealth.com or call 585-396-6670.

Democrat & Chronicle: Sports

Bruschi on WEEI

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was a guest of the “Dale & Holley Show” on Boston sports radio station WEEI today (850 AM). The station’s website can be found here, where the full interview can be heard.

Some of the Q&A:

There had been some speculation about your future and possible retirement. What is the real story from you and what is in your future?
“As you know, I’m here [at Gillette Stadium], the offseason program has begun, it started yesterday, and I reported bright and early, ready to work out. There has never really been a doubt in my mind about coming back and hoping to get to Arizona [and the Super Bowl] this year.”

As a player on a team that got a few minutes away from the Super Bowl, how do you look at the offseason moves the team has made?
“I’m excited about it, because not only did they bring in quality football players, they brought in hard workers. I’ve gotten to work with them over the last couple days, and got to spend time with guys like Adalius Thomas, Kyle Brady, Sammy Morris and Wes Welker, and they’re all great guys. Also Kelley Washington and Donte’ Stallworth, these guys are good guys who are ready to work. You sign them and it’s ‘OK, you’re signed and you’re a part of our team now, so let’s get to work.’ That’s what they’re here doing, and we’re excited, and I don’t think we should have any goal short of going to the Super Bowl next year.”

This was a strange year as far as cap space was concerned, and if you were a free agent, it was a good thing. If you weren’t a free agent and see someone come to your team making a lot of money, it could be difficult. How do you think the Patriots handle a situation like that, when guys come in and might be making more money than guys who have been there and won championships?
“I don’t think it’s management’s responsibility, a lot, to try to control how players feel about other players coming in and receiving big contracts. I think you have to take it upon yourself. I’m a player who is under contract and if I see someone who comes in and receives a great contract, the first thing I say is ‘congratulations, that’s great for you, that’s great for your family, and now it’s time to go to work and focus on winning football games.’ I think that’s the attitude all of us have. It’s sort of a check-your-ego-at-the-door mentality.”

We were curious how the offseason program works. What do you do in a typical day?
“I guess I can just describe what today was like. You come in, you warm up in the weight room. Today is Tuesday, so we get a lower body lift in, then we go over to our fieldhouse facility – the Dana Farber Fieldhouse facility – and today we did agility drills, various cone drills, then after that we did our conditioning run, a variation of it. It’s the first week. We don’t go full bore the very first week, because you don’t want to pull muscles and you don’t want to have various injuries pop up too soon. That’s sort of a day we went through today – a lower body lift on Tuesday and tomorrow is a rest day, and then we’re back at it Thursday and Friday.”

We’ve been trying to figure out where Adalius Thomas is going to play. Do you think about that and how it will affect you?
“Absolutely, because Adalius is so flexible and versatile that if he plays outside linebacker that’s going to adjust to who is the inside linebacker, and if he plays inside linebacker it’s going to adjust who is going to play outside linebacker. We’ve talked about it already. What the coaches have told us is what they’ve always told us – be ready for anything. What we like to do, it can change up, and with the experience I’ve had here for so long, the way it is in August can be greatly different than what it is in December. So be on your toes and be ready to have position flexibility, know the defense as a whole rather than just what you do.”

We know coaches coach and players play, but would you go up to vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli’s office and mention to him that you want Troy Brown back?
“I think they all know that all of us in this locker room want him back. This is Scott Pioli’s time of year. We always talk during the season, just do your job. I think Scott Pioli knows that I want him to do his job now, and I would hope part of his job would be to get Troy Brown back. Is that going to happen? We’ll see. I hope it does. Everybody in this locker room hopes it happens. Hopefully, he continues to do his job this year. I think he’s done well. He has a big part of his job coming up in the draft, so hopefully he’s locked up in his office and he’ll sleep there at night, because that’s what I want him to do.”

http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/reiss_pieces

 


Bruschi’s talk rescheduled for May 19


Staff report


(March 23, 2007) — New England Patriots star Tedy Bruschi will talk at Canandaigua Academy on May 19.

The appearance, sponsored by Thompson Health, was originally scheduled for March but was postponed because of Bruschi’s wrist surgery.

Tickets for the event will go on sale April 2 at all Canandaigua National Bank branches in Ontario County.

Bruschi will share his insights on recuperating from a stroke he suffered at the age of 31. The talk starts at 7 p.m. and Bruschi will sign a limited number of autographs afterward.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. For more information, call (585) 396-6670.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/favicon.ico

Tedy’s team goes distance for stroke fund
By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa
Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - Updated: 02:42 AM EST

New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who knows a little something about getting pumped up to play in nasty weather, didn’t have to cajole his Boston Marathon team to brave the early-morning deluge and whipping winds at the starting line.
“Marathoners are sort of self-starters; they’re self-motivators,” Train to End Stroke Team’s honorary captain told the Track. “I had the easy job.”
Bruschi’s bunch of 26.2-Milers, first recruited by the linebacker in 2005 after he suffered a stroke, raised $200,000 for the American Stroke Association this year - more than double their take last year.
“Between trying to make a difference and raise awareness about the warning signs of strokes, and raising money for research and training to run a marathon, you need motivation and there’s no lack of motivation on the team,” he said.
In fact, Bruschi said the scene right before the gun fired in Hopkinton yesterday morning reminded him of the pregame rituals in the Pats’ locker room before heading out to play in driving rain or snow.
“One thing that always make me motivated (to play through rough conditions) are my teammates,” he said. “And I really felt the same way when we all got together (in the morning) and all of the runners were sharing their prerace routines and getting each other excited.”
Tedy and wife, Heidi, tracked their team’s progress on big-screen TVs set up in Azure at the Lenox Hotel. The hotel, which is located in the final stretch of the 26.2-mile trot, needed little motivation to move its annual roof-top Marathon madness to the restaurant this year. The wild weather took care of that!

Tedy’s team goes distance for stroke fund - Inside Track - BostonHerald.com

Cast coming off, Tedy’s feeling fine
By Karen Guregian/ Patriots Notebook
Boston Herald General Sports Reporter and Columnist

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tedy Bruschi was sporting a cast on his right wrist yesterday. With all of the excitement and buzz over the Patriots and their off-season maneuvers, could there possibly be some bad news to spoil it?

Nah. Bruschi recently had surgery to have a screw removed from the scaphoid bone he broke during training camp last season, and underwent follow-up surgery in March because he was experiencing some pain.
Yesterday, he was very pleased to report the wrist was fine, and the cast was finally coming off today.
“I’m really excited to get the cast off,” Bruschi said, “because when you wear a suit, you can’t get to all of your buttons.’

Cast coming off, Tedy’s feeling fine - N.E. Patriots - BostonHerald.com

Bruschi to tell a story of courage off the field
Patriots linebacker will talk in Canandaigua on stroke recovery

(May 18, 2007) — Shortly after returning home from the Pro Bowl in Hawaii two Februarys ago, Tedy Bruschi began experiencing severe headaches and numbness on the left side of his body.

The New England Patriots linebacker thought nothing of it at first. He figured his body was just reacting to the grind of the long football season he had put it through. As a professional athlete, Bruschi had become accustomed to dealing with pain. He believed a good night's sleep would do him good. He'd tough it out the way he always had and everything would be better in the morning.

But morning arrived and his condition only worsened. When Bruschi's vision became so blurred he couldn't make out the faces of his young children, he knew it was time to stop trying to be a tough guy. His wife, Heidi, called 911.

Doctors discovered that Bruschi had suffered a stroke. The news blind-sided him. Strokes supposedly were things that happened to elderly people, not robust, 31-year-old professional athletes.

"I quickly discovered that strokes don't discriminate according to age, race, ethnicity or gender," says Bruschi, who will speak on behalf of Thompson Health at 7 Saturday night at the Canandaigua Academy auditorium. "I was ignorant about the warning signs. I thought I could just slough it off, but that was the worst thing I could have done."

Thanks to his early diagnosis and months of arduous rehabilitation, Bruschi was able to make a full recovery and return to his job as the minister of defense for the three-time Super Bowl champions.

And, now, he is using his celebrity to lobby for programs that will help in the prevention of strokes, the nation's third-leading cause of death.

"Tedy Bruschi is living proof that you can't keep a good man down and that activism can come out of the adversity," Senator John Kerry told reporters after Bruschi visited him at his Washington, D.C., office to discuss the Stop Stroke Act. "His courage, tenacity, and utter determination on the field and off are nothing short of heroic."

Bruschi realizes how fortunate he was. Had he waited a few more hours before going to the hospital, he might have suffered paralysis or even died.

"That's why I'm so passionate about getting the word out about the importance of education in preventing strokes and detecting them as soon as possible," he says.

"Education about a healthy lifestyle and about the warning signs is the best defense."

Bruschi's story offers hope to those who have suffered strokes. In the days and weeks that followed his diagnosis, he wasn't given any assurances that he would make a dramatic recovery, but he kept plowing forward.

"At that point, football was the furthest thing from my mind," he says. "I was just concerned with getting my vision and the use of my left side back so that I could be the father and husband I was before."

It was nearly six months before Bruschi received medical clearance to play football again. His first game back was a nationally televised Sunday night contest against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 30, 2005. The memories from that game remain indelible.

"Not long after I went out on the field I made a tackle for a loss on Willis McGahee," Bruschi recalls. "It felt so good, just like it had before. I felt like I was back home, back where I belonged."

Bruschi, who turns 34 on June 9, is coming off a solid season in which he made a team-leading 113 tackles and broke up seven passes. The 6-foot-1, 247-pounder likes the moves the Patriots made this offseason and believes the team has the talent to contend for another Super Bowl title.

"It will all depend on our attitude," he says. "That's always been the case with us."

Bruschi realizes there is skepticism about the free-agent acquisition of talented-but-selfish wide receiver Randy Moss. But he is hopeful Moss will buy into the Patriots' all-for-one-and-one-for-all culture.

"Our philosophy with new players has always been that you come to us with a completely clean slate," he says. "It doesn't matter what you've done in the past, good or bad. It just matters that you want to win and that you are willing to sacrifice for the good of the team."

As he prepares for his 12th NFL season, the University of Arizona graduate continues to meet ball carriers and issues head-on. Bruschi's impact on the field has been undeniable, but the work he's now doing off the field may wind up having a much more significant impact.

Democrat & Chronicle: Scott Pitoniak

Published: May 16, 2007 12:00 am
Bruschi, U.S. senators team up for stroke bill
Eagle-Tribune



WASHINGTON (AP) - New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi and Sens. John Kerry and Edward Kennedy offered their support yesterday to a bill that would help make the public more aware of the warning signs of strokes.

Bruschi had a minor stroke 10 days after the Patriots' 2005 Super Bowl win. After having surgery to repair a hole in his heart, he returned as a key player for the team.

Kerry, meeting with Bruschi in his office, praised his courage and tenacity in educating the public about the warning signs of strokes.

"Tedy Bruschi is living proof that you can't keep a good man down and that activism can come out of adversity," Kerry said in a statement. "Since his stroke, he's made it his mission to spread the word about stroke, to be an advocate and to inform and educate about stroke's warning signs and risk factors."

Bruschi recalled his own stroke symptoms.

"I could hear my son come in the room, but I couldn't see him," Bruschi said in a statement. "That's when I went to the hospital."

Bruschi also met with Sen. Edward Kennedy, co-author of the STOP Stroke Act of 2007, a measure to raise public awareness of stroke warning signs. It also would set up a grant program so states can improve how they prevent, treat and diagnose strokes. Kennedy hailed Bruschi as a "role model."

Bruschi and other stroke survivors were in Washington to lobby lawmakers as part of Stroke Awareness Month.

EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA - Bruschi, U.S. senators team up for stroke bill

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi lobbys congress for stroke awareness
Alan Segel Reporting

Foxborough (WBZ Newsroom) -- If you have watched Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi's relentless pursuit of opposing quarterbacks, runningbacks and wide receivers, you will understand the passion he brings to life in general. He believes in doing things one way. The right way. It is something that never changes . And his pursuit of helping people become more aware of stroke and it's warning signs finds him attacking the problem with the same kind of determination he would have if he was going after Peyton Manning.

"Ever since my stroke is 2005 I have partnered up with the American Stroke Association(ASA), which is a division of the American Heart Association(AHA) ," said Bruschi on Friday in Foxboro. " And ever since then we have been trying to promote stroke education and stroke awareness."

He wants to teach the warning signs of stroke and part of that this week was taking a journey to Washington D.C.. Senator Ted Kennedy and Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran have introduced the bipartisan Stop Stroke Act of 2007. "It calls for better awareness of the symptoms of stroke and how essential the knowledge is to receive timely and effective care, " says Senator Kennedy. " The legislation will also improve training of health professionals in the treatment of stroke, and will strengthen systems of care to see that patients receive the best and most effective treatment in the critical moments after experiencing a stroke. "

Bruschi was asked to be part of this effort and he of course accepted. It allows him to use his popularity in a way that very few can. He has gone through all of this which brings credibility. In fact he admits on the day he had his stroke he was trying to figure out what was wrong. He did not realize they were the warning signs of stroke. Things are so different now.

"The first thing my wife and I did was educate ourselves," says Bruschi. " We wanted to become more aware of what stroke can do and what the warning signs are. There have been alot of people that have heard a PSA (public service announcement) from me or have heard me promote the warning signs through the ASA and have actually come up to me ". They told him stories of how they themselves or relatives learned the warning signs and how it saved their lives because they did not hesitate when symptoms arrived.

It is the kind of awareness and passion that Senator John Kerry and Senator Kennedy want to bring to congress to get the bill passed. They both have extreme admiration for Bruschi.

"Tedy Bruschi could have returned to football and his family and his successful career. But Tedy wanted to do more than that", says Senator Kerry. " He wanted to give his fans and America the story of his experience and his recovery. By telling others about the urgency of strokes, and what people can do to prevent them, Tedy is performing a public service. Although Tedy isn't a member of congress, a pundit, or a doctor, I believe his admirable activism has the potential to reach many people and shed new light on this critical health issue."

Senator Kennedy points to the fact that Bruschi's appeal is because he has gone through this. " He is living proof that a stroke can affect even the healthiest individuals, " says the Senator. " And he is proof too of the positive difference one person with commitment, courage, and dedication can make in improving health care for millions of Americans who are affected by stroke or at risk for stroke. Tedy's appeal extends beyond his ability on the football field and stretches into the lives he touches. "

On the football field Bruschi plays hard 100% of the time and knows that sometimes brute force can get the job done. He has learned lately that is not the case when it comes to politics. He has learned that getting things done in Washington takes time.

"It is not easy to get everyone on the same page sometimes, " says the Patriots star. " It is tough enough to do that on the football field sometimes but to do that on the governmental level is extremely difficult." He says Senators Kennedy, Kerry and Representative Jim McGovern are all on board with the Stop Stroke Act. He says in conjunction with the ASA and AHA they hope to get it to a vote and that it can get passed because " beside doing many things for stroke awareness it can save lives ".

"This is not like a football game", says a smiling Bruschi. " I don't think you can approach it the same way.You can be alot more aggressive on the football field. In the athletic field you can push through things by force sometimes. I don't think you can do that too many times on the governmental level there are alot of different channels you have to take. You have to be a good communicator and sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. And that is something I realized when I was down there."

Tedy Bruschi has always been able to see things beyond the words. He knows this is a process and that it is not just a " one trip visit " and all of a sudden the mission is accomplished. He knows you have to get other people to agree and hopefully come on board. He says if he is asked to come to Washington again he will. He says he is passionate about this. He says he wants to make a difference and judging by some of the words from others he already has.

WBZ NEWSRADIO 1030 - Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi lobbys congress for stroke awareness

Bruschi ‘doing well’
By John Tomase

Boston Herald Sports Writer
Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - Updated: 11:52 AM EST

BOLTON - Those looking for signs that Tedy Bruschicould have a bounce-back 2007 season needn’t wrack their brains. This should do: He won’t be playing with a broken wrist.
The cast came off his bothersome right wrist a month ago, and Bruschi is optimistic the break that hampered his 2006 play will prove a thing of the past.
“It’s doing well,” Bruschi said. “I’m participating in the workouts fully now. It’s amazing what time does. You get a little bit of rest when you’re not pounding on it every day.”
Bruschi’s never been one to make excuses, but it didn’t take the ghost of Vince Lombardi to recognize that tackling was occasionally a struggle last year, especially since Bruschi couldn’t wrap up while playing with a brace to protect the tiny scaphoid break.
“I had to deal with it last year,” he said. “Every time there’s a football season, there might be something else to deal with, besides a wrist. We all have certain things you have to deal with when you’re going through a physical season like we do. Going into training camp healthy is very exciting.”
Also exciting is the number of new players dotting the roster, from fellow linebacker Adalius Thomas to wideouts Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte’ Stallworth.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them help,” Bruschi said. “That’s all I can say about it now. Right now, there is a process they have to go through, too. They have to go through the minicamps and the workouts and Adalius, Randy and Wes, a lot of the guys are here, working out, trying to get better. We’ll see how it goes come training camp.”
Asked how much fun he expected to have in a linebacker rotation that now includes Thomas and veteran Junior Seau, Bruschi shook his head.
“It’s going to be most fun for Bill (Belichick), I think,” he said. “For Bill to be able to use different combinations and different defensive fronts with the various personnel groupings we may have, I’m going to be excited coming into Wednesdays seeing what he’s cooked up.”
Being able to take the field with all of his limbs healthy and intact should be a welcome relief, as well. He won’t deny that last year presented some challenges.
“That’s football in general,” he said, “especially when you have anything you have to compensate for. I’m over it now and looking forward to the season.”

Bruschi ‘doing well’ - Patriots & NFL - BostonHerald.com

Bruschi has free hand again
Cast removed, he feels ready

By Mike Reiss, Globe Staff | June 5, 2007

BOLTON -- After undergoing follow-up surgery on his right wrist this offseason, inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi has returned to full health.

"I'm participating in the workouts fully now," Bruschi said yesterday at the Patriots Charitable Foundation golf tournament at The International. "It's amazing what time does. You get a little bit of rest when you're not pounding on it every day."

Bruschi said the cast on his wrist, which was injured in training camp last year, was removed about a month ago. Bruschi was asked if he's looking forward to a season without it.

"I had to deal with it last year, but every time there is a football season, there might be something else to deal with, besides a wrist," he said. "We all have certain things you have to deal with when you're going through a physical season like we do. Going into training camp healthy is very exciting."

In passing camp last week, Bruschi lined up next to Adalius Thomas at inside linebacker at times -- a glimpse of the potential versatility the Patriots will have on defense, as Thomas played mostly outside linebacker with the Ravens.

"It's going to be most fun for Bill [ Belichick], to be able to use different combinations and different defensive fronts with the various personnel groupings we may have," Bruschi said. "I'm going to be excited coming into Wednesdays seeing what he's cooked up."

Motivated man
While Bruschi gave himself a clean bill of health, safety Rodney Harrison -- whose 2006 season came to an end in the regular-season finale when he suffered an MCL injury -- updated his own status.

"I feel good," Harrison said, noting that it's been a difficult stretch for him, missing 24 of a possible 37 games over the last two seasons (including playoffs). "Some things you can control, some things you can't. You can't control someone landing on your leg in Pittsburgh. Or another guy [Tennessee's Bobby Wade] coming and intentionally trying to take your knees out.

"It wasn't injuries based on health or lack of conditioning, because I worked extremely hard and I'm always in top shape. Those were a couple of bad breaks, but you can't complain about them because I didn't complain when we were winning Super Bowls and winning 21 games in a row. You just have to find an equal balance and keep moving."

Harrison, who still maintains that Wade took a cheap shot at his knees in Tennessee Dec. 31, appeared to be moving around well in last week's passing camp. He said he is already is drawing motivation from those who say he's too old (34) to come back from such a severe injury.

Bruschi says wrist is healthy - The Boston Globe

2008

Bruschi back with Patriots

By Mike Reiss, Globe Staff | February 29, 2008


When assessing his football future in recent years, linebacker Tedy Bruschi has often said he likes to take inventory after each season. Then, after consulting with his loved ones, he'd make a final decision.

The inventory is complete. So, too, are the important discussions with his family.

And with that, Bruschi has decided he's ready to play some more football, agreeing to terms on a multiyear contract with the Patriots yesterday, according to a league source.

The decision gave the Patriots some positive momentum heading into the start of free agency early this morning. Bruschi would have been a free agent as his contract was set to expire.

Bruschi, who turns 35 in June, started every game for the Patriots in 2007. He led the team in tackles during the regular season (99), as well as solo tackles (69). One of his top performances came in the AFC Championship game against the Chargers when he tied for a team-high eight tackles, while diving to deflect a pass intended for tight end Antonio Gates at the goal line.

In the days leading up to Super Bowl XLII, Bruschi talked about how he planned to approach his future.

"I'm 34 years old and in my 12th year. After my season's over, how does my body feel? Do I still have the passion to play? I sit down with my wife and we discuss those things and we go from there," he said.

The 2008 season will mark Bruschi's 13th in the NFL, all of which have been with the Patriots. His fiery play on the field has earned him respect from teammates and foes, and his return from a stroke in 2005 has made him an inspirational presence to many off it. Teammates voted him a defensive captain last season.

From a football perspective, the 6-foot-1-inch, 247-pound Bruschi adds an important veteran presence to a linebacking corps that only has seven players under contract. Bruschi joins returning starters Mike Vrabel and Adalius Thomas, as well as backups Eric Alexander, Larry Izzo, T.J. Slaughter, and Pierre Woods.

In the Patriots' 3-4 alignment last season, Bruschi played both inside spots, starting the season on the weakside paired with Thomas. When Thomas shifted to the outside, Bruschi moved to the strongside to form a 1-2 punch with Junior Seau.

Although Bruschi's return is solidified, Seau's situation remains up in the air.

The 39-year-old Seau told the Associated Press yesterday he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left rotator cuff after the Super Bowl, noting he suffered the injury in the fourth game of the season.

A 12-time Pro Bowler and 18-year veteran, Seau has played the last two seasons for the Patriots. Asked about returning for a third, he said: "I know that it's a structure of what coach [Bill] Belichick and the Kraft family have to partake in, to put together a great team that can follow up what we did last year. That takes time. There really isn't anything on the table for me to look at except me getting healthy and being ready to go whenever anything that is a liking to me surfaces."

For now, Seau remains in San Diego, where he's a regular on the beach.

"I have a choice of playing or a choice of surfing," he said. "Those are great choices to have."

Mike Reiss can be reached at mreiss@globe.com.

Bruschi returning to Patriots - The Boston Globe

 

Courant.com
Bruschi Not Ready For Goodbyes
Linebacker Plans To Stick Around With Patriots

By DAVID HEUSCHKEL

Courant Staff Writer

February 29, 2008



The question was never whether Tedy Bruschi, who was set to be a free agent at midnight Thursday, would play for another team. It was whether he wanted to continue playing for the Patriots.

As Bruschi has said, winning another championship is more important to him than making money at this stage of his career. So he never intended to find out what other teams were willing to pay for his services.

Bruschi, who will turn 35 in June, has decided to keep growing older with the Patriots by agreeing to a multiyear contract, a source said Thursday night. The terms were not available.

Bruschi has continued to play at a high level as an inside linebacker. He has led the team in tackles the past two seasons.

In 2007, Bruschi had 99 tackles (69 solo) in 16 regular season games in 2007 and 23 tackles in three playoff games.

Bruschi wasn't even the oldest linebacker on the team last season. Junior Seau, 39, isn't sure he will return after having arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder after the Super Bowl.

"I have a choice of playing or a choice of surfing. Those are great choices to have," Seau told The Associated Press Thursday from his home in Oceanside, Calif.

The Patriots have other issues regarding personnel as the free agency period begins today. The priority is to re-sign wide receiver Randy Moss and find a replacement for cornerback Asante Samuel, another free agent who is expected to test the market.

The thinking is Moss, 31, will return because he wants to stay and Samuel, 27, will leave because he is seeking a long-term contract the Patriots can't afford.

Some believe the Patriots' decision to not put the franchise tag on Moss was a sign the sides have agreed to a deal that could be announced today. But if that's not the case, there is no guarantee Moss will catch a pass from Tom Brady in 2008.

After catching 23 touchdown passes to set an NFL single-season record, Moss could be the primary target of another team willing to pay huge dollars.

That's the route many expect Samuel to do take. He is unquestionably the top free agent cornerback and looking to cash in on the last two seasons, in which he had a combined 16 interceptions. So the Patriots may look at ways to replace him. Brandon Meriweather, the team's top draft pick last year, could step into that role.

The Patriots will probably lose two cornerbacks. Randall Gay, like Samuel, is an unrestricted free agent who might sign with another team after the Patriots offered much less than his asking price.

Veteran cornerback Ty Law, released by the Patriots three years ago, spoke of returning after being cut by the Chiefs this week. But he is 34 and probably more suited to a reserve role.

The Patriots don't have as much salary cap space to work with as last offseason, when they went on a spending spree. Their free agent signings included linebacker Adalius Thomas, tight end Kyle Brady and running back Sammy Morris right away, and later added wide receivers Kelley Washington and Donte Stallworth. Wes Welker and Moss were acquired in trades.

Washington has re-signed, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald reported on their websites early this morning. Terms were not disclosed.

After releasing linebacker Rosevelt Colvin this week, the Patriots are projected to be $12 million to $15 million under the 2008 salary cap of $116 million heading into the free agency period. Assuming they re-sign Moss, some of that cap space will decrease. But the team, as it has in the past, could ask some of its highest-paid players, including Brady, to restructure their contracts to get more cap flexibility.

Bruschi Not Ready For Goodbyes -- Courant.com

MONDAY MARCH 3, 2008 Last modified: Friday, February 29, 2008 11:53 PM EST
Tedy Bruschi has decided to put off retirement for at least one more year.

Bruschi, Paxton stay put

BY MARK FARINELLA / SUN CHRONICLE STAFF


FOXBORO - Some free-agency goals are easier to fulfill than others.

For instance, the Patriots found it much easier on the first day of free agency to come to terms with fan-favorite, linebacker Tedy Bruschi, and their long-time long-snapper than it was to get their best wide receiver under contract.

Lonie Paxton, who is more famous for the snow angels he created on the Foxboro Stadium turf after the "Snow Bowl" victory in 2001 than for anything he has done on the field, has agreed to a one-year contract to take him out of the unrestricted free agent rolls.

Terms of the deal were not announced.

According to published reports, Paxton drew some interest from at least two other NFL teams. But his agent, Paul Sheehy, said the eight-year veteran from Sacramento State has a goal of being able complete his career with the team that originally signed him.

"He is so emotionally entrenched in the Boston community and the Patriots organization that it would have taken a contract of epic proportions from a team that has a chance to compete in the postseason every year for Lonie leave at this time," Sheehy told the Boston Globe. "Ultimately, Lonie is exactly where he wanted to be when this process started."

As of midday Friday, there had been no indications that the Patriots and Randy Moss are prepared to announce an agreement despite widespread rumors that the record-setting wide receiver was virtually assured of returning to the team.

Cornerback Asante Samuel wasted no time in finding a new home, agreeing to a six-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, reportedly worth up to $57 million.

Other moves have yet to be announced by the team, but are reportedly finished.

Bruschi has accepted what's been termed a "multi-year" pact that will ensure that the 35-year-old veteran will have played for only the Patriots in his career. Bruschi started all 16 regular-season games and all three playoff contests last year, and led the Patriots in total tackles (99) and solo hits (69) in the regular season (99).

There has been no further word on his fellow inside linebacker, Junior Seau, who told the Associated Press earlier in the week that he underwent shoulder surgery a few days after Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants.

The Patriots have also reportedly reached an agreement with wide receiver Kelley Washington to return for a lower salary than he made with the team last year. Terms of that agreement have not been announced. Washington did not catch a pass last year after having been signed as a free agent following four years with the Cincinnati Bengals, but he became a special-teams standout.

With the decision to let Donté Stallworth depart, and other possible moves among the receiving corps, Washington could receive more of a chance to prove himself in the passing game next year.

The Patriots are allowing backup defensive tackle Rashad Moore, a restricted free agent, to depart without offering him a tender. They also gave veteran safety Eugene Wilson their blessings to depart, while apparently retaining the services of linebacker and special-teams captain Larry Izzo.

The team also released tight end Kyle Brady. Brady, a 13-year veteran, caught nine passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns last season after being signed last March.

There has been no reported movement in the cases of unrestricted free agent receivers Troy Brown and Jabar Gaffney, safety Mel Mitchell and cornerback Chad Scott. Cornerback Randall Gay has a visit scheduled for the weekend with New Orleans.

The Patriots also reportedly tendered contracts to four exclusive-rights free agents, linebackers Eric Alexander and Pierre Woods, offensive tackle Wesley Britt and safety Ray Ventrone, assuring their return for the 2008 season.

The Sun Chronicle Online - Sports


Tedy Bruschi follow-up

 Posted by Mike Reiss, Globe Staff March 3, 2008 11:54 AM

Following up on the contract agreement between the Patriots and LB Tedy Bruschi:

Bruschi inked a two-year deal, and received a $1.2 million signing bonus. His base salary for 2008 is $1 million.

Bruschi's base salary increases to $1.9 million in 2009.

There are workout bonuses in each year.

http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/reiss_pieces/2008/03/tedy_bruschi_fo.html


New blood coming to linebacker corps?
By Douglas Flynn
GATEHOUSE NEWS SERVICE
Posted Mar 08, 2008 @ 11:44 PM
FOXBORO —


Tedy Bruschi signed, Rosevelt Colvin was let go, Junior Seau’s status is in limbo; will the team will break tradition and draft a linebacker early.

It’s the age-old question facing the Patriots. Is their aging linebacking corps just too old?

The Pats’ top five linebackers last year boasted a combined 58 years in the league and averaged 33 years of age.

The Pats played up the benefits of that experience during the season.

“Any time you get older players that have a lot of knowledge about the game, that experience is going to pay off,” said defensive coordinator Dean Pees the week before the Super Bowl. “You might want them to be faster, but a lot of times that knowledge overcomes any lack of speed or decline in speed. I love coaching these guys. It’s like coaching coaches.”

Still, it wasn’t shocking when one of those five — outside backer Rosevelt Colvin — ended up on injured reserve with a foot injury suffered in late November.

Bruschi stays

Without Colvin, Adalius Thomas moved outside and 39-year-old Junior Seau and 34-year-old Tedy Bruschi were forced into full-time duty inside. While both provided leadership on and off the field and continued to come up with some clutch plays, neither was well-suited to that kind of workload at this stage of their careers.

“You don’t really compensate,” said Bruschi. “You still go out there just to try to perform the best that you can. As you get older, experience absolutely comes into factor. Yes, I was maybe faster or quicker when I was younger. I’m not 24 anymore. I mean that was 10 years ago. But did I know as much then? So is it an advantage or a disadvantage?

The Pats will keep their emotional leader around a little longer, as Bruschi put off retirement and signed two-year deal with a $1.2 million signing bonus and base salaries of $1 million in 2008 and $1.9 million in 2009.

Seau, who underwent shoulder surgery after the season, hasn’t committed to come back yet, but he’s certainly left open the possibility.

“I’ve always loved the game,” Seau said before the Super Bowl. “I love it as much now as I did in my rookie year. I couldn’t love it any more than I do. I believe I was born to be a football player and I’m going to hold onto it until the day comes where I can’t anymore.”

Colvin let go

The Patriots did cut Colvin, however, as he was as much a casualty of the cap system — he was due to count $7.6 million against the cap next year — as the lingering effects of his season-ending foot injury.

That helps give New England some needed cap space to start injecting some new blood in the linebacker corps. There’s still plenty of experience with Mike Vrabel, Thomas and special teams captain Larry Izzo back, but there’s also opportunities for third-year man Pierre Woods on the outside and fourth-year vet Eric Alexander inside to take on bigger roles.

Vrabel is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, having led the Pats with a career-high 12.5 sacks. But he failed to bring down the quarterback in seven of the eight games after Colvin went down, and will need another pass rusher on the other side to emerge to help keep offenses from keying on him too much.

Thomas could fill that role. He started his first season in New England playing inside, but moved outside to replace Colvin and seemed more comfortable out there, culminating in his best game as a Patriot in the Super Bowl.

Where Thomas lines up next fall will likely be determined in the coming weeks, as New England finishes its free-agent shopping and makes its draft selections. If they go for help inside, Thomas will likely remain as an outside backer. But his ability to man an inside slot could also allow the Pats to target better value with additions on the outside.

That versatility is a trademark of anyone who plays linebacker in a Bill Belichick defensive scheme.

Shopping for help

Not surprisingly, New England has been in the market for even more veteran help at the position. The Pats brought in Zach Thomas for a meeting after he was released by the Dolphins, but he opted to sign with Dallas instead.

They could also take a run at recently released Takeo Spikes, another former star who might just have enough left in the tank to make a significant contribution along the lines of other Patriots additions like Seau and safety Rodney Harrison.

But even if they hit paydirt again with a veteran like Spikes, the Pats have to get some young blood into the organization at the position. That’s why they also met with restricted free agent Adam Seward this week. He drew interest from New England in the 2005 draft, but was plucked by Carolina in the fifth round.

He’s been limited to mostly special teams action with the Panthers, but could be a better fit in New England 3-4 base than Carolina’s 4-3 system. He has the size at 6-foot-2, 248 pounds and is just 25, and since the Panthers tendered him at the lowest level, signing Seward would cost the Pats just a fifth-round pick in compensation.

That, interestingly, is the highest round New England has ever chosen a linebacker in the draft under Belichick, as Seward’s UNLV teammate Ryan Claridge was picked in the fifth round in 2005.

Drafting up a plan

The Pats might finally have to take a linebacker on the first day of the draft this year, and there are plenty of solid candidates to choose from. They’d love to land Virginia’s Chris Long (son of Howie), but he likely won’t be available when they pick at No. 7 and could actually go first overall.

If they do use their first round pick on a linebacker, Ohio State’s Vernon Gholston would be the top candidate. A defensive end for the Buckeyes, the 6-3, 266-pounder projects as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in the pros and could be a longterm replacement for Colvin.

If the Pats address another need with their top pick, they still have a second rounder and two thirds to go after a linebacker. Penn State’s Dan Connor, Maryland’s Erin Henderson, Oklahoma’s Curtis Lofton, Miami’s Tavares Gooden, Tennessee’s Jerod Mayo, Georgia Tech’s Philip Wheeler and Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Goff, who is soaring up the charts after finishing second in the bench press and fifth in the 40 among linebackers at the combine, are possibilities at inside linebacker, with Jeremy Leman of Illinois a sleeper for the later rounds as he was unable to run at the combine following ankle surgery.

There’s no shortage of potential help at the position for the Patriots. Now they just need to go out and get it, or these questions about their linebacking corps will really get old.

http://www.patriotledger.com/sports/x147850057

News and Notes:

--New England-area stroke survivors were invited to the visitors' locker room at Gillette Stadium to meet Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, himself a survivor of a stroke. Bruschi joined the group as they posed for photos, which will be used by the American Stroke Association as part of what they're calling "a large-scale stroke awareness campaign." Bruschi and his new friends also filmed a public service announcement to help this important cause.

 

 LB Tedy Bruschi, also took some time this offseason to help a cause that’s important to him – surviving a stroke.

A number of New England residents who survived strokes were invited to Gillette Stadium’s visitors’ locker room recently to meet Bruschi, himself a stroke survivor.

There, they also posed for photos with Bruschi, which will be used by the American Stroke Association as part of what they’re calling “a large-scale stroke awareness campaign.” Bruschi and his new group of friends also filmed a public service announcement for the campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAPA GINO’S HONORS 26 NE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES ‘FEED YOUR TEAM’ WINNERS

Papa Gino’s and 18 high schools throughout New England honored their “Feed Your Team” winners with a luncheon with New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi Saturday, March 1, at Gillette Stadium. The event, hosted by Papa Gino’s, honored outstanding student-athletes in Papa Gino’s communities for feeding their teams, schools and communities. Each student-athlete received a photo with Bruschi and spent some quality time with the linebacker. In addition to dining with Bruschi, students were able to ask Bruschi questions about his achievements both on and off the field.

The winning “Feed Your Team” athletes honored include Plymouth North High School’s Kevin Broderick. Congratulations Kevin!

“Papa Gino’s was thrilled to collaborate with New England high school athletic directors and provide them with an opportunity to recognize their student-athletes that perform in the classroom, community, as well as on the field,” said Michael McManama, senior vice president of brand development for Papa Gino’s. “We are pleased to have Tedy Bruschi as our spokesperson for the way he ‘feeds’ his team and community and the example he sets for all student-athletes. We thank Tedy for taking time out of his schedule to meet these deserving students and answer their questions.”

Around town: Happy Easter - Plymouth, MA - Wicked Local Plymouth

 

Pats' Bruschi lobbies for stroke awareness funds

BOSTON -- Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is joining stroke survivors to push for more spending on stroke awareness programs.

Bruschi visited the Massachusetts Statehouse on Tuesday to meet with Gov. Deval Patrick and legislative leaders. Bruschi recalled waking up with a headache just 10 days after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2005. He said he didn't realize he was having a stroke and went back to sleep. When he woke up later, he was rushed to a hospital. He said the key to his recovery, and the ability to save the lives of others, is to be able to quickly realize the symptoms of a stroke and get immediate care. -- AP

http://www.charlotte.com/sports/story/552944.html

Northeastern Athletics: Teaming up with Tedy
By: Amara Grautski
Posted: 3/31/08


Last Marathon Monday, Katie Jerdee was on the 49th floor of the John Hancock Tower gazing down at the crowded finish line.

This year, Jerdee will run the Boston Marathon for Tedy's Team, a charity founded by the New England Patriots' Tedy Bruschi. Bruschi suffered a stroke in February 2005 and set up the organization that raises money for stroke research and awareness. Jerdee, a middler on the club women's soccer team, found inspiration after suffering a stroke last year, during a routine run to practice.

"I was running with the team and I immediately veered off to my right [and] grabbed a stop sign," Jerdee said.

Concerned teammates got the attention of a nearby security guard from Simmons College, who called an ambulance. Jerdee was rushed to Brigham and Women's Hospital.

"In the first half hour I was fully conscious," she said, but her capacities diminished shortly after. "I couldn't remember what year it was, or my birthday or anything."

The next day, Jerdee awoke around 9 a.m. to find she couldn't move her right hand.

"I asked the doctor, 'Am I ever going to use it?' and he said he didn't know," she said

Although seemingly healthy, tests concluded that Jerdee had suffered a stroke that affected her cerebellum and caused temporary paralysis on the right side of her body. She spent the next few months at the Spalding Rehabilitation Center near Massachusetts General Hospital, undergoing occupational, physical and speech therapy, but Jerdee said she considers herself lucky.

"My brother had cancer and my mom had cancer, so they know how to deal with stuff really well … and were all supportive in what I chose to do," she said.

Jerdee said her family helped her maintain a positive outlook.

"Whenever I felt the least bit discouraged, they were there to be like, 'What are you doing? Get going!'" she said.

While recovering, Jerdee read "Never Give Up," by Bruschi, who wrote the book after suffering a stroke in 2005. Although Bruschi's circumstances were different then her own, Jerdee found herself identifying with the NFL star.

"It was different than talking to my friends, family or doctor, because he actually went through it and I can definitely relate to everything," she said.

After reading the book, an inspired Jerdee said she realized she didn't just want to get well, she wanted to get better. She began working with the American Heart Association and applied to run the Boston Marathon for Tedy's Team - a large leap for someone who has never run a marathon and had just re-learned how to do simple daily tasks like walk and write.

Tedy's Team was created because Bruschi felt compelled to raise stroke awareness and also give back to the community, said Zachary Blackburn, the senior director for the organization.

"We had an existing marathon program and Tedy said, 'You know, this sounds really great. I'd like to be a part of this,'" Blackburn said.

Jerdee got in contact with Bruschi through the organization. The two exchanged stories and quickly formed a bond. While most of the runners on Tedy's Team admire Bruschi, Bruschi admires Jerdee, Blackburn said.

"I think everybody on the team does look up to Tedy as a hero and as a figure for the organization and the cause," Blackburn said. "The great thing about him is he looks at Katie [Jerdee] as a hero. They play off each other."

Together Jerdee and Bruschi decided to launch a warning signs campaign, which will help educate the public about stroke symptoms, like dizziness, slurred speech, facial changes and arm numbness.

Jerdee said these advertisements and public service announcements from Bruschi and herself began earlier this week.

"I would say, because I'm running for Tedy's Team and I'm doing all these ads, it's definitely a way to inspire people and show that things can be done after bad things happen," she said.

Since Jerdee's stroke, she said her outlook on life has changed and she's now toying with the idea of working for a nonprofit after graduation. She said she believes in the power of positive thinking and the power to overcome.

"I just want to say I had a stroke, I returned to soccer and now I'm running a marathon. Just to show people, even if it does happen to you, you can get the best out of it," she said.

Jerdee has raised more than $3,000 for Tedy's Team but has not yet met her goal of $5,000. To make donations visit http://tedysteam2008.kintera.org/boston/jerdee.

Northeastern Athletics: Teaming up with Tedy - Sports

Local marathoner teaming with Tedy Bruschi
BY PHYLLIS BOOTH PBOOTH@HOLDENLANDMARK.COM

The four Sues - Sue Lauring, Sue Manero, Sue Sullivan and Sue Devaney will be running the Boston Marathon as part of Tedy's team.
Sue Manero of Princeton and Susan Lauring of Worcester are running the April 21 Boston Marathon for Tedy's Team to support the American Stroke Association's Train to End Stroke program.

Manero's goal is to raise $7,000 and Lauring's hopes to raise $5,000.

Both women have notified family, friends, and business associates seeking donations.

"My dad died from a stroke and two of my aunts have had strokes," Manero said. "Then a 59-year-old cousin had an aneurysm. I was running before to stay healthy but I decided to put my running to good use and join Tedy's Team. It's always been in the back of my head what can I do to inspire someone else and at the same time give something back to a community or give to a charity."

Lauring is a personal trainer and had done a lot of competitive running when she was younger. "I don't need to compete anymore and decided it was now time to give something back," she said.

Tedy's Team was created in 2005 and is led by New England Patriots linebacker, and stroke survivor, Tedy Bruschi.

This year Tedy's Team is allowed 43 runners in the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon Association decides how many runners each group can have, Manero said.

Both Lauring and Manero have run the Boston Marathon before and also ran the Kona Marathon (26 miles) in Hawaii in June 2007.

"In August we ran 12K in Falmouth to raise money for Tedy's Team," Manero said.

The women applied to run for Tedy's Team and learned in November they had been selected.

"Tedy sits down with representatives from the American Stroke Association and goes over all the applications," Manero said. "They look at your commitment to both fundraising and training."

"The training and the fund raising is very difficult," Lauring said.

Once they found they had been selected the women immediately started training. That meant two days a week doing cardio workouts, weight training, stretching and going on a long run every Saturday.

"We recently did 18 miles in Maine. Sometimes we run shorter runs and one day did seven miles on cross-country skis. It's every day of the week. I don't consider myself a runner," Manero said. "I'm an athlete. I do rugby, cycling, hiking and skiing. I started running for health reasons. I contacted Susan and she got me on a running program. We have a lot of hills around here to train on."

The Boston Marathon has to be completed in six hours, said Manero. To be eligible to run, you must qualify timewise and also have run a marathon before, she said. Qualifying times are determined according to age.

"There are two other Sue's running so our group is known as the 'four Sues'," Manero said.

"We'll be training right up until April 12 then give our bodies a chance to recover before the race on April 21," Lauring said.

"We're ready. Once we start we always finish. We're not out for time but we do have an idea where we'd like to finish," Manero added.

Stroke is the third largest cause of death in the United States. Every 45 seconds, someone in America has a stroke and every 3.1 minutes someone will die of a stroke.

The warning signs can include sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or confusion, sudden severe headache with no know cause or sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, leg, especially on one side of the body.

"I think about what Tedy and what he's done and what he's come through," Manero said. "We've met Tedy and his wife Heidi and they are very appreciative of people giving up their time to run for this cause. We've heard so many stories about stroke victims, including stories from teammates whose kids have problems."

People can donate online at www.tedysteam2008. kintera.org/boston/manero or www.tedysteam2008.kintera.org/boston/ lauring. Both runners encourage donors to check with their place of employment to see if they offer matching funds.

Local marathoner teaming with Tedy Bruschi

VAGazette.com
Commentary
Patriots' Bruschi held in high regard
Even Pats haters must respect linebacker
Bill Ordine

March 1, 2008

The first time I noticed Patriots Hater Nation rear its head, I was in an out-of-town sports bar in October. New England, 6-0 at the time, was playing against Miami in Week 7.

The Dolphins were roadkill from the opening kickoff.

The Patriots scored the first five times they had the ball. I didn't notice any obviously partisan Patriots or Dolphins fans in the place, but there was a palpable sense that the crowd was hostile toward New England.

In my blog the next day, I wrote about this growing undercurrent of anti-Patriots sentiment - a neo-Damn Yankees mentality. And some folks wrote back to tell me I was nuts, that I was making it up.

Of course, by the time the Super Bowl rolled around, Patriots Hater Nation was pretty much a national movement. But whether the Patriots deserved the rancor they engendered, one of those guys elicited nothing but respect.

Thursday, linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who will turn 35 by the opening of training camp, agreed to more time in New England.

Under normal circumstances, a guy who has played 12 NFL seasons is pretty much on his way to the golf course. And Bruschi's medical history represents anything but normal circumstances.

He reportedly agreed to a multiyear contract, and anyone familiar with the NFL knows not to put too much stock in the notion of long-term deals. But it still has to make even the most cynical among Patriots detractors smile to see the gutsy Bruschi return.

This is a guy who had a stroke after the Super Bowl in 2005, had surgery to fix a hole in his heart and came back to play the last half of the 2005 season and make 62 tackles. He broke a wrist in training camp in 2006 and missed one game. This past season, he led the Patriots in tackles and had a couple of sacks while helping form a geriatric linebacking corps that contributed to one of the greatest seasons in NFL history.

A couple of recent personnel developments might have facilitated Bruschi and the Patriots coming together for this contract that kept him off the free-agent market. New England missed out on free-agent linebacker Zach Thomas, who was cut by Miami and signed with the Dallas Cowboys. And the Patriots waived linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, whose season ended with a foot injury in November.

Since New England lost in the Super Bowl, some of the edge may be off Patriots Hater Nation next season. That type of rooting interest based on raw emotion ebbs and flows.

But for Bruschi, the respect will endure because of the way he has earned it.

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

Patriots' Bruschi held in high regard -- VAGazette.com

Tedy takes part in 3 part video interview with NECN

Watch embedded videos here.

 

(NECN) - In a wide-ranging, one-on-one interview with Mike Giardi of NECN, New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi discussed the Patriots, his career, and his efforts to raise awareness about stroke prevention.

Bruschi and his wife, Heidi, founded 'Tedy's Team' in an effort to educate the general public about the risk factors, symptoms and effects of stroke, and on Saturday, April 19th, the Bruschis are co-hosting 'A Night of Inspiration' (learn more) at the Seaport Hotel to raise money and awareness.

In this part of the interview, Bruschi talks about his recent efforts to educate Massachusetts lawmakers about stroke, discusses his own struggles, and says that out of all of his accomplishments and titles, the badge that means the most to him is that of 'stroke survivor.'

 

(NECN) - Tedy Bruschi says that once upon a time, his life as a football player was all about winning championships. That all changed on the day he was rushed to the hospital with a life-threatening stroke.

Today, Bruschi says he plays football with a second purpose - to use that opportunity as a platform to raise awareness about stroke.

In this portion of his one-on-one interview with NECN's Mike Giardi, Bruschi discusses his change of perspective, and looks ahead to the New England Patriots 2008 season, as they recover from a disappointing Super Bowl defeat.

And he admits, the loss this year to the Giants isn't the only one that still bugs him to this day. For more on Tedy and Heidi Bruschi's fundraiser, 'A Night of Inspiration' to raise money for stroke awareness, click here.

 

(NECN) - New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi says the team has had a productive off-season as they prepare to launch another effort at a fourth Super Bowl title, and that the 'Spygate' controversy won't be much of a distraction for a team that has picked up critics for doing one thing well - winning.

"When you're a World Champion, there isn't anything anyone can do or say that will take that away from you. No matter what's said, or what's done, we won those games. That's what I'll always know," Bruschi told Mike Giardi of NECN.

Bruschi credited the team with re-signing some key parts of last season's undefeated team, calling the off-season slower, but productive. "It's quality," Bruschi said.

Bruschi and his wife Heidi are sponsoring "A Night of Inspiration" on Saturday, April 19 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston to raise money for stroke awareness. 'Tedy's Team' will also feature a group of runners raising money for charity at this year's Boston Marathon. 

http://www.necn.com/Boston/Sports/Bruschi-Productive-offseason-for-Patriots/1207243713.html

Tedy's Team Runs For Stroke Victims

(NECN: Leslie Gaydos, Foxboro, Mass.) - New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is headed into his 13th season with the Pats this year, but he hasn't forgotten what he went through three years ago when he suffered a stroke. Bruschi continues his efforts to educate the public about strokes. He'll have help doing that on Marathon Monday when Tedy's Team hits the pavement.

Tedy's Team is a group that will run the Boston Marathon to raise awareness fro the stroke warning signs and raise money for stroke research.

While he won't run with them, Bruschi, who suffered a stroke in 2005, provides the inspiration. He has motivated Katie Jerdee, a 21-year-old Northeastern student, who was in rough shape last spring -- in speech therapy and physical therapy after suffering a stroke.

Steve Hamilton runs for the four stroke survivors in his family.

Many of the members of Tedy's Team are running their first marathon and after what some of them have already been through, they're not worried about it.

Tedy's Team hopes to reach as many people as possible to get them to recognize stroke warning signs like sudden dizziness, numbness or headache and educate them to call 911 immediately.

For more information please call Charlene Bemis at 508-656-2000.

Link to video here.

Tedy's Team runs for stroke victims | NECN

Tedy's Team

FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi hosted runners from "Tedy's Team" today at Gillette Stadium. The runners, who are set to conquer the Boston Marathon course later this month, are helping raise awareness and funds for the American Stroke Association.

Bruschi took time to answer questions from reporters, speaking about the cause before addressing a few football questions.

The Q&A:

In 1996, you were a rookie finding your way in the NFL. Now you’re 34 years old, a multiple Super Bowl champion and a top spokesman for stroke awareness. When you think of that progression, what does that mean to you?
“I think I only had one goal at that point of my career – and that was to win championships. Now it’s changed. Now I have two goals. The other goal I have, besides winning championships, is to make a difference. I really didn’t have something I was passionate about in my life back then, where I could help someone or make a difference out in the community somewhere. I think after my stroke it was obvious to me what I needed to do – raise awareness about stroke and its warning signs.”

You are here today with runners from Tedy’s Team, who will be at the Boston Marathon later this month. Can you provide an idea of how the team has grown over the last three years?
“At first, it was trying to scrounge to get numbers for the Boston Marathon. We wanted to have a presence in it. People at the American Stroke Association talked to me about forming Tedy’s Team – a group of runners that really focused on raising awareness about stroke. We had to scramble that first year for [runners], but as the years have gone on, the numbers sort of accumulate. The Boston Athletic Association has been very kind in providing us with more numbers every year, and now our team is up to 50. Not only do they have to raise awareness, but they have to fund-raise for the things we want to do, and also they have to train to run one of the toughest races in the world and that’s a lot of time. I wanted to make it hard, so to be a part of Tedy’s Team isn’t a walk in the park. Every one of the members of my team has a direct correlation with stroke, because I wanted everyone to be able to relate with each other. Relationships are formed, friendships are formed on this team, and it serves as a little bit of bouncing your thoughts about what you went through, or what your mom went through, so I think it’s very therapeutic also.”

Do you have runners that have come back to join the team a second time?
“Yeah, I know a lot of runners who have run twice, and we may have one or two that have run all three. We have this race, which is 26.2 [miles], but we also have the Falmouth Road Race, which is in the fall and is around 7 miles. So, of course, we have a lot more participants in that [laughs]. But we do have a lot of people who stick with the team for years.”

When you go on the field now, does the stroke ever cross your mind?
“No. When I first came back, that first hit, I got up thinking ‘Am I OK?’ That first tackle, that first time there were a couple 300-pound guys on top of me and -- ‘Am I going to get up?’ – sure, you think that. Those are firsts I had to re-live over and over again. But it was part of what I had to go through to make the comeback complete. It was tough, but I think what anyone will tell you when they’re coming back from something, a devastating sort of occurrence in their life, all those things, those firsts again, you’re not sure of. Especially when you have to strap on all that equipment to play football, that’s a little bit different also. I wasn’t just coming back to work at a job behind a desk. It was sort of a hazardous job at that. But it’s something that I had to work through and I felt it was my responsibility to do it.”

Can you provide an idea of what the atmosphere has been like at the offseason program; I believe this is entering the third or fourth week?
“It’s getting going. At first, I think it starts slow. Especially after we ended the year last year it isn’t like ‘OK, we’re here, we’re ready, let’s go.’ Everybody is sort of just trying to get back going again. It was a long season, ending in early February, so the longer the seasons go, the less time you have off. You take it a little bit slow, but now that we’re in the third, getting into the fourth week, guys are really starting to work hard and getting ready to do it again.”

What are your thoughts on Victor Hobson, the new linebacker the team signed? Do you have any background with him?
“I don’t have any background with him. I know he was with the Jets. I don’t know him personally and just met him for the first time today. So I look forward … I’m here all the time also, and it looks like he’s going to be here, so I think him and I are sort of forming a working relationship. We’ll start now.”

Tedy's Team - Reiss' Pieces - Boston.com

Get with the program


Tedy Bruschi said he met newly signed linebacker Victor Hobson for the first time yesterday at the team's offseason program. Bruschi said he looked forward to forming a bond since both are planning to be regular participants in the team's offseason program. Bruschi added that the program, which officially began March 24, has shifted into another gear. "At first, I think it starts slow," he said. "It was a long season, ending in early February, so you take it a little bit slow, but now that we're getting into the fourth week, guys are really starting to work hard and getting ready to do it again." . . . Hobson will wear No. 59, last donned by Rosevelt Colvin . . . Bruschi hosted a group of runners from "Tedy's Team" at Gillette Stadium yesterday. This marks the third straight year Bruschi has organized a team to run in the Boston Marathon to raise stroke awareness through the American Stroke Association.

Patriots will find out their 2008 schedule today - The Boston Globe

 

Tedy’s Team is gearing up for the long run


Tedy Bruschi wants everyone to know he won't be running the Boston Marathon on Monday. "I train for eight-second bursts, not 26.2 miles," the Patriots linebacker said yesterday. Still, he's got a lot riding on the outcome of the annual trek from Hopkinton to Boston and will be cheering for the nearly 50 members of Tedy's Team, who are running to raise money for the American Stroke Association. "To train for the marathon is impressive. To do that while raising money for a cause is a lot to take on," Bruschi, who suffered a stroke in February 2005, told us yesterday while meeting with members of his team at Gillette Stadium. "I'll be tracking them and cheering loudly for them." Among those running is 23-year-old Ashley Girard, who underwent open heart surgery two years ago to correct a problem that could have led to a stroke. "It means a lot to be on his team," said the Northeastern University alum. "Everyone here has a personal connection to someone who has been affected by a stroke. We're not just running for ourselves." After starting his Marathon team three years ago with about a dozen runners, Bruschi has expanded his Patriots Day events to include a pre-run fete on Saturday with several of his Pats teammates.

http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/articles/2008/04/15/new_new_york_rivalry

4/14/08
Tedy's Team ready to run another Boston Marathon     
By Erik Scalavino, Patriots.com & PFW Staff Writer

For the third year in a row, Patriots LB and stroke survivor Tedy Bruschi will sponsor a team of runners in the Boston Marathon. Their goal: to complete the 26.2-mile course while raising stroke awareness in the process.

A week from today, the roles will be reversed.

Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi, normally the one being cheered on by fans at Gillette Stadium, will be doing the rooting when Tedy’s Team laces up its running shoes for the Boston Marathon.

“I'm going to be tracking all my runners via the Internet, seeing where they are,” an excited Bruschi explained. “We have goals, from three-and-a-half hours all the way to completion. We've stayed out there until they were breaking down the stands. I'll just be very supportive that day.”

Now in its third year, Tedy’s Team boasts nearly 50 runners, all of whom are either stroke survivors (like Bruschi) or have a relative or friend who is.

"A lot of runners have run twice. We may have one or two that have run all three," Bruschi noted. “We have this race, which is 26.2 miles, but we also have the Falmouth Road Race … that's in the fall … but that's only seven miles. So, of course, we have a lot more participants for that,” he added with a laugh.

On Saturday night, the runners will join Bruschi and his wife, Heidi, for what’s being billed a “Night of Inspiration.” They’ll “carb up” on a pasta meal (said to help boost a runner’s energy level) and hear some motivational words from invited guest speakers.

Tedy's Team has become one of Bruschi's favorite ways to help raise stroke awareness.

"The other goal I have, besides winning championships, is to make a difference. I really didn't have something that I was passionate about in my life back then [before the stroke]. After my stroke, it was obvious to me what I needed to do."

One thing he won't do, however, is run a marathon.

"No," he joked. "I train for eight-second bursts [on the football field]."

Bruschi has been back in Foxborough for the past three weeks doing just that – training for the 2008 season in the Patriots’ offseason strength and conditioning program.

“It's getting going now,” he observed. “I think at first it starts slow. Especially after we ended the year last year … it was a long season ending in early February, so, the longer the season's go, the less time you have off. But now that we're getting into the fourth week, guys are really starting to work hard and get ready to do it again.”

In the coming weeks, Bruschi will also have the chance to get acquainted with Victor Hobson, the former Jets linebacker who signed with the Patriots earlier this month.

“Don't know him personally.
I just met him for the first time today,” Bruschi admitted. “I'm here all the time, and it looks like he's going to be here. So, the two of us forming a working relationship will start now.”

Relationships are very important to Bruschi, which is why everyone on Tedy’s Team is tied, in one way or another, to a stroke survivor. He believes that bond helps those who’ve suffered strokes – even those like Bruschi himself who has completely recovered – continue their healing process.

“I wanted everyone to be able to relate with each other,” he said. “Relationships are formed, friendships are formed through this team. It’s very therapeutic.”

http://www.patriots.com/search/index.cfm?ac=searchdetail&pid=31631&pcid=41&rss=1 

News and Notes

Inspiration for Tedy's Team

Stroke survivor John Burgess, 14, his dad, Scott (left), and Tedy Bruschi. (Justine Hunt/Globe Staff)Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was joined Saturday night by Trisha Meili, author of the best-selling memoir "I Am the Central Park Jogger" in providing some inspiration to the 50 members of Tedy's Team running in today's Boston Marathon to raise money for stroke research. Also at the sold-out Seaport Hotel soiree that raised an additional $300,000 for the American Stroke Association were Bruschi's teammates Eric Alexander and Pierre Woods, and former Pats players Joe Andruzzi and Christian Fauria.

Inspiration for Tedy's Team - The Boston Globe

 

SBLI announces first annual contest to win a chance at attending a football clinic for kids hosted by Tedy Bruschi


Woburn, Mass (PRWEB) April 29, 2008 -- The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts (SBLI) today announced the inaugural SBLI Kids Football Clinic with Tedy Bruschi. This one-of-a-kind clinic will take place on June 26, 2008 at Gillette Stadium and will give children ages 8-12 the opportunity to dress in the locker room, enjoy a blackboard session with the New England Patriots star, and participate in on-field drills with Bruschi. Parents or guardians may enter their child for a chance to win Here.

"We are pleased to provide children with such a unique experience. Not only will kids learn football fundamentals from the very best, they will also get to see Tedy in a different light," said SBLI President & CEO Robert K. Sheridan. "As a father of three young boys, Tedy understands and embraces his role as a mentor and role model for kids everywhere."

As SBLI's spokesperson, Bruschi has stressed the importance of families preparing for the unexpected with dependable life insurance. He became an SBLI policyholder earlier this year.

About SBLI
Conceived by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, the Savings Bank Life Insurance system was established in Massachusetts in 1907. T he Massachusetts company is currently licensed in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Its products are now available through 200 financial institutions in New England; Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp. and Mt. Washington Assurance Corp. property and casualty agents; the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Societies of CPAs; and AAA Southern New England, AAA Merrimack Valley, and AAA Pioneer Valley.

In addition, the Company's products are offered to New Jersey residents through members of the New Jersey League of Community Bankers; to consumers in Virginia through an alliance with the Virginia Bankers Association; and to consumers in Tennessee through an alliance with the Tennessee Bankers Association. It is also endorsed by the Massachusetts Bankers Association.

Consumers may also deal directly with Savings Bank Life Insurance in California, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

SBLI and The No Nonsense Life Insurance Company are registered trademarks of The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts, Woburn, MA, which is in no way affiliated with SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc. ©2008 All rights reserved.
For more information about SBLI's product offerings, please visit www.sbli.com or call 1-888-GET-SBLI.
###

Savings Bank Life Insurance
Matt Parquette
508-620-6664
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Dr. Alessi: Bruschi's story brought strokes to forefront
By Dr. Anthony Alessi
For the Norwich Bulletin


Stroke is defined as a condition resulting from a lack of blood supply to an area of the brain. It is typically associated with elderly patients who have weakened or hardened blood vessels. That’s why so many people were shocked when in February 2005, 31-year-old New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was suddenly stricken with a stroke.

At this year’s American Academy of Neurology meeting, Bruschi received the Public Leadership Award for his work in the field of stroke awareness. The story of how his stroke evolved and his recovery is an important lesson.

He awakened on the morning of Feb. 15, two days after playing in the Pro Bowl, with numbness and weakness of his left arm and leg. He described a severe headache with an inability to see objects on his left side. While he was inclined to ignore his symptoms, his wife called her father, a physician’s assistant, who advised them to get to a hospital. An MRI showed that he’d suffered a stroke in the back of the right side of his brain.

An ultrasound of Bruschi’s heart showed that he had a hole between the upper chambers of his heart known as a patent foramen ovale. This condition allowed free passage of a small clot from the right side of his heart to his brain, resulting in stroke. Placing a patch over the hole through a catheter sealed the hole. Unfortunately, he was left with weakness on his left side and vision loss.

Three months of intense physical therapy followed. He worked with therapists specially trained in rehabilitation of neurological disorders. During that time, Bruschi had to summon all of the toughness and drive he had acquired from his years of competitive sports.

By late spring, the cause of his stroke was treated and he had regained sufficient physical function to transition from rehabilitation to actual football workouts.
Bruschi’s comeback culminated with a return to the NFL on Oct. 15, 2005.

Bruschi’s story shows us that the combination of modern medical care, a strong will and hard work can overcome the obstacle of a stroke — even to the point of returning to the highest level of sports.

Anthony G. Alessi, MD, is Chief of Neurology at The William W. Backus Hospital and in private practice at NeuroDiagnostics, LLC, in Norwich. E-mail him at aalessi@wwbh.org. If you wish to learn more stroke or other sports health topics. Listen to the podcast, view the video or go to the Healthy Sports blog at www.backushospital.org.

Dr. Alessi: Bruschi's story brought strokes to forefront - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

Bruschi down, but not out
By Eric Mchugh
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Jun 06, 2008 @ 09:06 PM
FOXBORO —

Tedy Bruschi crumpled to the artificial grass inside the Dana-Farber Field House Friday afternoon, and you wondered if all the best-laid plans for the Patriots’ 2008 linebacking corps had just been blown to smithereens.

Luckily, Bruschi’s knack for bouncing back remains intact.

Not to compare a stroke to a knee injury – or whatever felled Bruschi as he got caught up in the pass-rush wash during an 11-on-11 drill – but the Patriots cannot afford to lose their leading tackler from each of the last two seasons, even with veteran Victor Hobson and rookie Jerod Mayo in the fold.

Bruschi stayed on the turf for a minute and eventually made his way, gingerly, to where the defensive subs were standing. One or two plays later he jogged back onto the field and – wouldn’t you know it? – immediately deflected a pass on the goal line.

The comeback prompted one teammate to yell out “Paul Pierce!” – a reference to the Celtics star’s remarkable (or, if you live in L.A., “suspicious”) return from a knee injury in Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA finals.

Speaking of which ...

“Very gutsy, very inspiring. Heart of a lion,” safety Rodney Harrison said of Pierce. “It was awesome,” agreed Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “That was a great win for the Celtics. I am really happy for them.”

Ironically, Bruschi was courtside for Pierce’s resurrection at TD Banknorth Garden. He was sitting next to the Lakers bench – the same seat Belichick filled for the Pistons series.

“You know, we had some early meetings this morning and I didn’t want to be late for our big day today,” Belichick joked when asked about the switch. “I thought I’d better be here on time.”

Bruschi down, but not out - Brockton, MA - The Enterprise

He's a happy birthday boy
Bruschi excited for new season
By Christopher L. Gasper and Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / June 9, 2008

FOXBOROUGH - Tedy Bruschi celebrates his 35th birthday today, and save for a few stray grays in his jet-black mane, there are few outward signs of his advancing age. The veteran inside linebacker has the same passion for the game he had when he entered the league as third-round pick in 1996. That is why he is back for a 13th season.

The heart and soul of the New England defense, Bruschi signed a two-year, $4.1 million contract in February, less than a month after the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLII. Bruschi said yesterday, after the Patriots wrapped up their three-day mandatory minicamp at Gillette Stadium, that it only took him two or three days after the season ended to let the Patriots know he wanted to return.

"There was never really a decision for me," said Bruschi. "There is just a process I go through. After the season is over, I take a few days to see how I feel, where I am physically, where I am mentally and emotionally. Do I still have the hunger? It was a short process for me."

It's debatable whether Bruschi is an every-down player at this point in his career - he came off the field often in third-down situations last season - but there is no doubt he is still a valuable and productive one. Last season, he started all 16 regular-season games and was the Patriots' leading tackler, credited by coaches with 99.

The Patriots got him some help at inside linebacker during the offseason, signing free agent Victor Hobson and drafting Jerod Mayo.

Part of that was preparing for the day when Bruschi no longer desires to play. But yesterday he certainly sounded like someone who would like to play more than just one year. Bruschi is already into bonus years; few thought he'd be able to play after suffering a stroke in 2005. He's now entering his fourth season since the stroke and still going strong.

"I just signed a two-year contract, so I'm looking forward to being around," said Bruschi. "Do I feel good? Yes. Do I still have the fire? Of course I do after that last game. The offseason program, the training, is my body responding? Yes, it is. I feel great.

"The process is always what it is with me - offseason workouts, passing camp, minicamp, finish the offseason workouts, then training camp. I really think you need all that to get ready for a full NFL season. I participated in it and got myself ready for this year, and I'm excited about it."

Bruschi a happy camper - The Boston Globe

No hang-ups for Tedy Bruschi
By Karen Guregian / Patriots Notebook | Monday, June 9, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com | N.E. Patriots

FOXBORO - Tedy Bruschi [stats] indicated yesterday he knew within 48 hours after the Super Bowl loss to the Giants that he wasn’t going to turn in his helmet and pads.

The linebacker, who signed a contract for two more seasons, said the fire still burns as much as it has in the past. But hasn’t the 12-year veteran, who turns 35 today, asked himself, “Why am I still here?”

“Ask me that question again about the third or fourth day of training camp, after we have a few two-a-days under our belts,” Bruschi cracked, “but no, not right now. Training camp is going to be the toughest month of the job, it always is. But that’s what you have to push through, and once you get to those regular-season weeks, that’s when the fun really begins.”

Bruschi, who took part in the three-day mandatory minicamp that concluded yesterday, was told he looked like he could play five more years. Basically, he said he had to pass all the tough questions in his mind before knowing he would return.

“I just signed up for a two-year contract, so I’m looking forward to being around,” Bruschi said. “It took me a couple of days (to decide). Do I still feel good? Yes. Do I still have the fire? Of course I do after that last game. So I still feel great. In the offseason program, the training, is my body responding? Yes it is.

“The process is always what it is with me, come the offseason workouts, passing camps, minicamps, finish the offseason workout, then training camp. You need all of that to get ready for a full NFL season, and I’ve participated in it, gotten myself ready for this year and I’m excited about it.”

Bruschi also would like to see 39-year old linebacker Junior Seau return.

“We’ll see,” Bruschi said. “I’d love to see him. He’s one of my favorite teammates of all time. having played with Junior Seau has been a lot of fun for me, and I hope he comes back.”

No hang-ups for Tedy Bruschi - BostonHerald.com

: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 3:14 AM EDT
During the 5th Annual Golf Tournament and fund-raiser hosted by Tedy Bruschi and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital at the TPC-Boston in Norton, Bruschi lines up his putt, which he would make to give him par on the hole. (Staff photo by Drew Pillsbury)

Bruschi tees it up for Spaulding Hospital

BY MARK FARINELLA SUN CHRONICLE STAFF

NORTON - Tedy Bruschi's relationship with the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital was in place long before he needed its services.

But after the Patriots' veteran linebacker suffered a life-threatening stroke in February 2005, the role that Spaulding played in getting his life back together - including, but not exclusively about his return to the football field - ensured that the bond would never be broken.

"Spaulding Rehab is a special place for me," Bruschi said Monday, just before teeing off at the fifth annual golf tournament to raise funds for the hospital to continue its work in multi-level rehabilitative care. "It's the place that helped me and rehabilitated me to play football again, and it's an organization that I'm proud to be a part of."

Bruschi was joined by Patriots' backup quarterback Matt Cassel, former Patriots Andre Tippett and Steve Nelson and several foursomes for a day of golf at the Tournament Players Club-Boston that was expected to raise $385,000 for the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Network's Annual Fund.

The hospital has long been one of the Patriots' "official" sponsor-partners, but Bruschi turned to it for the rehabilitation that followed his stroke only a few weeks after the Patriots defeated Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX.

"First I just wanted to rehabilitate myself so I could be a good father again, a good family man," Bruschi said. "And then all of a sudden, it's whether I'm making the right decision to play football again, to put on a helmet, to put something over my head where I've suffered an injury to the brain.

"Sometimes it's more mental and emotional than physical," he continued. "I started to recover physically quickly, but still I wasn't ready. That's what my rehabilitation therapist, Anne McCarthy Jacobson, helped me do. Those are the type of people that are at Spaulding. They're not only specialists in rehabilitation, they're also counselors and they help you get back to feeling regular again, mentally and emotionally."

Bruschi, of course, went on to play the last nine regular-season games of the 2005 season and one of the Patriots' two playoff games that year, then all but one game of the last two seasons. He told the story of his recovery and Spaulding's role in it in his recent book, "Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery and My Return to the NFL."

Bruschi said Monday that it's been less of a surprise for him to have played for two full seasons following the stroke than it was for him to play within the first eight months after it.

"My first year back, those eight to 10 games that I played after I started the year on PUP (physically-unable-to-perform list), that was a big decision for me after the Denver game, if I wanted to continue this and if I wanted to keep on playing," he said of the last week in October 2005 that he spent on the reserve list. "My wife and I huddled about it and talked about whether I wanted to continue or not ... but I actually felt better at the end of the year than I did after that Buffalo game when I came back, and I continued to get better even after that season, so the decision was easy.

"Just having my body respond for me that first season was huge for me, to know I could still play football," he said. "And then the seasons I've had, still helping the team win championships around here, is something I'm proud of."

Bruschi now needs only periodic checkups in relation to his stroke, a year apart, after having been closely monitored and tested every two weeks earlier in his recovery.

"I was in a data-free zone," he said. "They couldn't give me an example of someone who had done this before."

"To see Tedy run out on that field ... I was there when he came back," said Cassel, who was a rookie during Bruschi's "comeback" season. "To know that (Spaulding) had a helping hand in that, it means a lot to come out here and support what they've been able to do for people, and obviously for Tedy, who is a lot closer to us."

With the preseason conditioning program winding down and about a month's worth of time off ahead before the start of training camp, Bruschi has had the chance to relax a little, play some golf and happily follow the ascent of the Boston Celtics - the team he embraced as a fan during his boyhood in San Francisco - to their 17th NBA championship.

"When you grow up with an older brother and you sort of have that rivalry going, my brother grew up being a Sixers' fan," he said. "I started getting into basketball, finding out who his team was and what their biggest rival was, and so I picked that team."

As an iconic figure with one of the three Boston-based teams to have won recent championships, Bruschi enjoys the occasions when each of the teams have reached out to the others to help celebrate their success. That leads to more interaction between the players and their coaches, and Bruschi enjoys a special relationship with Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who has also had to deal with health-related issues under the microscope of fame.

"We've helped each other get through things in terms of support and e-mails," Bruschi said. "He was supportive during my times, and I wore his jersey out to take that first pitch. But as for the players, there's a mutual respect that has to be there because we all realize what we're trying to do ... and there are guys who've been in those organizations forever, like Wake (Tim Wakefield) with the Red Sox or (Paul) Pierce with the Celtics, or myself here. All you want to do is try to bring this region some joy in the form of a championship, and when each of us do that, it's very satisfying."

Bruschi's ongoing support for Spaulding Hospital is a way for him to help bring another kind of joy and hope to others who are facing the toughest challenges of their lives, he said.

"There was a recent stroke survivor who told me that 'my wife and I have used your book as a manual,'" he said. "This a partnership I'll have for a long time, with Spaulding, because of the commitment they gave me ... they were there for me, and I needed them."

MARK FARINELLA may be reached at 508-236-0315 or via e-mail at mfarinel@thesunchronicle.com

The Sun Chronicle Online - Sports


Bruschi Keeps On Giving Back

By DAVID HEUSCHKEL | Courant Staff Writer
June 24, 2008

NORTON, Mass. - — Tedy Bruschi loves New England, and Patriots fans adore the linebacker who has worn the same uniform his entire 12-year NFL career, the ultimate sign of loyalty by a professional athlete in an era when most players equate respect with dollars.

Earlier in his career, prior to the Patriots winning three Super Bowls in four years, Bruschi had opportunities to play elsewhere when he was a free agent. But his philosophy has been, if it's broken, then help fix it.

"I just feel that being in the area for so long and of course being here on a team like the Patriots for so long, you want to bring success, you win football games for your team and your region," Bruschi said. "The more time you spend in a place, you get to have a relationship with fans and you sort of want to do something that sort of helps people and helps wonderful organizations like Spaulding."

That's what Bruschi did Monday at the TPC of Boston by hosting his fifth annual golf tournament and fundraiser for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. All proceeds benefited the programs and research at the medical facility, the same one that helped Bruschi overcome a stroke in February 2005.

Playing for the same team for a dozen years, Bruschi has developed many relationships in the corporate community. This is one he intends on keeping long after his playing days are over.

"I had a relationship with them before I became a patient, so it was very ironic to me," Bruschi said. "I sort of helped them out with some charitable endeavors before. I became a patient and I think it's natural for the partnership to continue and help them raise money for their wonderful hospital."

The annual fundraiser hit a milestone Monday, surpassing $1million in proceeds for the five years combined.

"We raised over $385,000, which is a new one-day record for us," said Tim Sullivan, manager of communications and media relations for Spaulding.

Bruschi has received numerous letters and e-mails from stroke victims since his book "Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery and My Return to the NFL" came out last August.

"There was a recent stroke survivor that actually told me, 'My wife and I have used your book as a manual,'" Bruschi said. "[My wife] Heidi and I were very open how we went through our struggles in that book and how it affected us from pre-stroke to during the stroke times and then post-stroke and coming back and trying to become who you were. ... That was a huge compliment to me. I'm glad to know that it's helped people because that's what we said we were going to do."

Bruschi, 35, never considered playing for another team in 2008. He could have with his contract set to expire Feb. 29, the start of the free agent signing period, but he signed a two-year extension reportedly worth $4.1 million the previous day.

"I think everybody knew where I was going to sign," Bruschi said. "Did you have any doubt if I'd go anywhere or take a trip anywhere? It wasn't going to happen."

The only time Bruschi seriously entertained the thought of wearing a different uniform was after the 2000 season when the Patriots missed the playoffs for the second straight year and he was a free agent for the first time. He recalled making trips to Cleveland and Green Bay and listening to what those teams, and others, had to offer. But he wanted to help establish a winning tradition with the Patriots.

Bruschi has gone on to have a positive effect in the community with the golf tournament and Tedy's Team, his charity for stroke research.

"It's always great to support a cause that your teammates are a part of and to go out and help people," quarterback Matt Cassel said.

Bruschi Keeps On Giving Back -- Courant.com

MONDAY JUNE 30, 2008 Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 2:29 AM EDT
Tedy Bruschi takes some time to chat with the media before a golf fund-raiser. (Staff photo by Drew Pillsbury)

FARINELLA: More tid-bits from Tedy

Ponderous thoughts I was pondering as the first week of summer began my personal five-week countdown toward the end of my summer, otherwise known as the beginning of the Patriots' training camp:

- One of the more mirthful comments by Patriots' linebacker Tedy Bruschi from his appearance at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital golf tournament Monday at TPC-Boston unfortunately didn't make it to the print edition on Tuesday because the story was just getting too long.

It was a small group of media members that gathered with Bruschi before the golf event - myself and Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe were the only two print reporters present when Bruschi talked, with bad weather delaying Dave Heuschkel of the Hartford Courant en route - and as a result, it was a much more comfortable and personal conversation than the sort we have during the football season, when 30 television cameras race to a player's side the second he utters his first syllable.

We had been talking about how special it has been for Bruschi to spend his entire career with the Patriots, and how he had taken a brief shot at free agency in 2000, just as Bill Belichick was assuming the coaching reins, but decided that departing would be the easy way out.

"It's easier to jump ship than to right the ship," he said. "I've had opportunities to go somewhere else during times when it wasn't during this era ... and that would have been the easy way out. Why not stick it out where you are and try to fix the problems and make it better? That's the philosophy I've stuck with my whole career. I wanted to go somewhere and establish something, and I think a lot of us in this organization have that feeling."

At that point, with the golf tourney beckoning, I threw in one last question.

"Not to rush you or to get ahead of things," I said, "but when your playing days are over, do you see yourself putting down permanent roots here?"

Bruschi, who grew up in San Francisco, paused for a second and then laughed.

"I'll cross that when I get to it," he said. "But my children are in school here and my wife is used to the winters, which is amazing ... let's just say that my wife likes it here, and what does that mean?"

It probably means that Heidi Bruschi will be calling the shots on that one.

- Also funny was Bruschi's reaction to Reiss' late arrival to the interview, also caused by the thundershowers that had cropped up all over the region Monday morning. According to the veteran linebacker, the late arrival to a meeting would have cost Reiss more than $1,300 if he had been a player showing up late at the stadium.

- We were also easily reminded that these guys live in another tax bracket when we saw backup quarterback Matt Cassel emerging from the TPC-Boston pro shop with two brand new intermediate-range fairway woods costing more than $200 apiece.

- Latest word is that training camp will start at Gillette Stadium on July 25. Practices are open to the public, but be sure to check the Patriots' Web site (www.patriots.com) for practice-time updates, because they are subject to rapid and short-noticed change.
 

The Sun Chronicle Online - Sports

Patriots.com News Blitz - 6/24/20008 By Erik Scalavino
Bruschi and Cassel stop to talk, and could a big-name running back be stopping in New England? Read all about it in today's Patriots.com News Blitz.


It's rare for NFL players to make public appearances this time of year, so when they do, it's usually newsworthy.

Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi took to the links in Norton, Mass. Monday to help raise money for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. The medical facility is the same one that helped him recover from his stroke in February of 2005.

"I had a relationship with them before I became a patient, so it was very ironic to me," Bruschi said in today's Hartford Courant story. "I sort of helped them out with some charitable endeavors before. I became a patient and I think it's natural for the partnership to continue and help them raise money for their wonderful hospital."

Bruschi went on to talk about how he never really wanted to play anywhere else but in New England.

Also at the event was Pats QB Matt Cassel, who stopped to chat with The Boston Globe about a number of topics. Here's what he had to say about this being the final season of his current contract with the Pats.

“You try to approach every year the same. For me, I try not to worry about whether it’s a contract year, or my fourth year. The one thing I will say is that you start to learn things as you move on, and being my fourth year, I feel very comfortable in the system.

"I look forward to working with Tom [Brady] again and learning as much as I can and being ready to go. It’s just one of those things where you go out and compete, and you get going, just like you [media folks] do, competing against each other for the best stories. I have to go out and compete with the other guys and try to put my best efforts out there each and every day to come out and show the coaches and everybody else that I’m ready to go.”

On the field, meantime, there's talk that former Detroit Lions RB Kevin Jones is ready to sign with a new team, and that New England could be on the long list of potential suitors.
He recently had a workout as part of his rehab from knee surgery, and proclaimed himself ready for action.

"I honestly feel like I'm ready to play right now," he insisted in a story you can read in The Providence Journal. "I think I'll get signed in the next couple of weeks," he said. "But it really doesn't matter when it is - as long as it's before the season."

Patriots.com News Blitz - 6/24/20008

Fire still burns in Patriots’ Bruschi

01:00 AM EDT on Friday, June 27, 2008

BY ROBERT LEE
Journal Sports Writer

FOXBORO — The desire to compete still burns in Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.

That’s why the 35-year-old 12-year NFL veteran signed a two-year contract, reportedly worth $4.1 million, with the Patriots less than a month after New England had lost to the New York Giants, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLII.

“I feel great and football is still fun for me,” Bruschi said yesterday at the first Savings Bank Life Insurance and Tedy Bruschi Football Camp for youngsters 8-12 at Gillette Stadium. “It’s a lot of fun, and to go through the offseason programs, I know there is a certain sort of protocol I go through to get myself ready.”

That process includes talking to his family and listening to his body, both physically and mentally.

“Do I feel good? Yes,” Bruschi said. “Do I still have the fire? Of course I do. The offseason program, the training, is my body responding? Yes it is. I feel great.”

Bruschi says the Patriots are not looking back to last season, when the Giants spoiled their bid for a perfect season. The Patriots are looking ahead to this season and focusing on winning games this year.

“You win [Super Bowls], you put them behind you. You lose them, you put them behind you,” Bruschi said. “No matter what it is, you have to move on and worry about the new challenges you have on your team. ... We have a lot of work to do for this season. Last season, all the other seasons, the Super Bowl victories and losses, those are all in the books.”

Bruschi said his offseason workout program has kept him in good shape, but like most NFL players, he is not looking forward to training camp. The Patriots’ camp is slated to open on July 27.

“You never look forward to training camp,” Bruschi said. “It’s the toughest month of the job, but once you get through that and you get to the regular-season week schedules, then it’s time to go.”

What Bruschi was looking forward to yesterday was putting smiles on the faces of the 54 children from Maine to Pennsylvania who got to experience what it is like to be a New England Patriot at the SBLI and Tedy Bruschi Football Camp.

After the children changed into shorts and a No. 54 Bruschi jersey in the Patriots’ visitors’ locker room, they were each individually introduced over the PA system at Gillette Stadium by Bruschi. When Bruschi called their names, they ran through the big blowup Patriots helmet and onto the field.

After stretching, they were taught the fundamentals of football through various drills by Bruschi, quarterback Matt Cassel, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, wide receiver Ray Ventrone and defensive lineman Mike Wright.

Bobby Green, an 8-year-old quarterback from North Kingstown, was one of the 54 children chosen in a random online drawing. There were more than 1,000 entrants, according to SBLI president Robert Sheridan.

“I’m really excited,” Green said before the event. “We are going to get to run out underneath the helmet and hear our name announced and learn from Tedy Bruschi.”

“It’s great that [Bruschi] does stuff like this,” Mike Green, Bobby’s father, said. Mike heard about the contest on the radio.

Bruschi was excited to partner with SBLI.

“When I want to partner myself with someone, I want to think of families,” Bruschi said. “I want to think of something fun for kids, and SBLI has been a great partnership for me in terms of what they’ve done with me. They’ve helped me put together a football camp where a lot of kids can come and play on our field. That doesn’t happen a lot.”

Sheridan and deputy team leader Saverio Mancini, who was one of the organizers of the event, said they couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out for the three-hour event.

roblee@projo.com\

Fire still burns in Patriots’ Bruschi | New England Patriots | projo.com | The Providence Journal#

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - 11:55 AM EDT
Patriot Tedy Bruschi tackling more pizza ads
Boston Business Journal - by Naomi R. Kooker Boston Business Journal

Papa Gino’s is launching another ad campaign featuring New England Patriots Linebacker Tedy Bruschi.

The new “Papa Time” campaign, created by Boston ad shop Connelly & Partners, highlights Papa Gino’s pizza, fast delivery and overall convenience.

The television ads will begin airing in late-July in the Boston and Providence markets, where the Dedham, Mass.-based pizza chain has its highest concentrations of restaurants.

In addition to the new advertisements, Papa Gino’s will launch an online sweepstakes that will offer weekly chances to win free pizza for a year and will also include instant food prizes.

Papa Gino’s Holdings Corp. is the parent company of Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches; the company operates more than 370 company-owned and franchised Papa Gino’s, D’Angelo and dual-location restaurants and employs more than 5,000 people.

Patriot Tedy Bruschi tackling more pizza ads - Boston Business Journal:

 

 

 

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