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Bruschi Leaves a Legacy Behind in New England

Tedy Bruschi

There is no player that embodied what it meant to be a Patriot more then Tedy Bruschi. Now, after 13 seasons, he will hang up his cleats and leave the game as a three-time Super Bowl champion and one of the greatest Patriots of all time.

During the press conference Monday, Bruschi was alongside coach Bill Belichick, team owner Robert Kraft and his wife Heidi. The words spoken by both Kraft and Belichick summed up everything he meant to the team. He was a leader, and as Belichick put it, “a perfect player.”

Weeks before his 14th NFL season would begin, Bruschi decided to call it a career. He has played in five Super Bowls, winning three, and was a standout at the linebacker position. He was a symbol for endurance and perseverance.

There are two memories that will be embedded in fans minds for years to come when it comes to Bruschi.

  • One moment to be remembered is the interception against the Dolphins in the “Snow Game” where he returned the pick to the end zone for a pivotal touchdown and celebrated by throwing handfuls of snow in the air.
  • Another important moment took place hours before the Super Bowl against the Eagles, when Bruschi was playing with his two sons on the field. A moment of affection brought a humbling image to a ferocious player on the field.

After playing in that Super Bowl, and playing in his second Pro Bowl, Bruschi suffered a career-threatening stroke. This would normally put a normal man on the bench for good, but eight months later, Bruschi was back on the field. He was later named co-Comeback Player of the Year.

He said he accomplished everything he set out to do; that his career was “fulfilled.” New England Patriots fans will always remember the way No. 54 was a member of this team.

A Lifetime in New England

For 13 seasons, Tedy Bruschi spent his time in New England. Coming out of Arizona, He was a two-time All American and was the 1995 Morris Trophy winner for the Pac-10′s best defensive lineman. He was drafted by the Patriots in the third round of the 1996 draft and had an immediate impact.

He played in every game as a rookie, mainly as a pass rusher and on the special teams. He was part of the Super Bowl XXXI team against Green Bay where he recorded two sacks, one shy of the Super Bowl record. In 1999, he became a starter and solidified that spot with 100 plus tackles in consecutive seasons.

In 2001, Bruschi was one of the top players wearing a Patriots uniform and was vital in sealing a Super Bowl XXXVI victory. The following season, Bruschi was named a defensive captain, as voted by his teammates. In 2003, Bruschi return two interceptions for touchdowns, including the “Snow Game” against Miami. He was an anchor to the linebacking core that saw the Patriots take Super Bowl XXXVIII against Carolina.

The year 2004 was full of career highlights for Bruschi. As part of the team that won a then-record 18 consecutive games, which would later be broken by the Pats from 2006-2008, Bruschi was second on the team in tackles, which led to a Pro Bowl nod. In the Divisional Round against the Colts, Bruschi recovered two fumbles as the Patriots crushed the Colts, 20-3. Super Bowl XXXIX saw Bruschi deliver a hard sack, six solo tackles and an interception…and another ring.

After the Super Bowl and Bruschi’s second career Pro Bowl, he suffered his stroke and his career was in jeopardy. However, eight months later he made his return against the Buffalo Bills and look as good as ever. He returned in 2006 full time, once again being named defensive captain and he never relinquished that honor.

The Legacy Left Behind

He was never a Defensive Player of the Year. He went in day in, day out, doing his job. Outside of New England, he leaves as just another player, but within the Northeast, he leaves as one of the best.

He has played in 22 playoff games, more then any other player in Patriots history. He recorded 1,110 tackles, 30.5 sacks and 12 interceptions through his whole career. He’s the only player in NFL history with four consecutive interceptions returned for touchdowns and the only Patriots linebacker to return an interception for touchdown twice in one season. The first of the touchdowns was a block punt he recovered during his rookie year against Baltimore.

In the area, he was a strong presence. He won awards for his work within the Boston area, including the Senator Paul E. Tsongas award for Exemplary Public Service. Some may not know, but he was also a saxophone player who once played with the Boston Pops.

Bruschi’s number will most likely be retired by the Patriots, probably during this season. He was a tremendous player and valuable asset to the team. Whether he should he make the Hall of Fame remains to be seen. The Hall of Fame tends to remember the great champions, and Bruschi is one of them. Three Super Bowl wins in five appearances, countless crucial sacks and interceptions made Bruschi truly one of the game’s elite.

As a new season dawns, fans will look forward to the new stacked linebacker core. Jerod Mayo and Adalius Thomas will lead the linebackers and they should prove to be as exciting as ever. However, New England fans will never forget the effort and dedication Tedy Bruschi put into the game and the impact he had on the Patriots.

With all the accomplishments and championships aside, there is only one thing to say…

Thank you Tedy Bruschi!

(see video highlights of Bruschi’s retirement press conference below)

Poll

Should the Patriots retire Tedy Bruschi's No. 54?

  • Yes (88%, 36 Votes)
  • No (12%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 41

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About Teddy

Was born in Queens, NY, but moved up to New Hampshire around 12, when my interest in sports really began to boom. A huge fan of the Boston sports scene, especially the Sox, Celts, Bruins and Pats. Went to Keene State College where I majored in Journalism and went around covering the college teams. Not just a bandwagon fan... i tend to follow everything from the Draft to Championships. Love to write and look forward to bringing a fun, interesting style... hopefully...

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Discussion

2 comments for “Bruschi Leaves a Legacy Behind in New England”

  1. I am not as moved by his contributions on the field as I am by his contributions off the field and what kind of role model he is for his kids, the fans and players coming up in the NFL. Imagine, a guy not chasing the money, but chasing the dream with ONE team. Doesn’t happen much in this day and age. A true gentlemen of the game!!

    We paid tribute to the man on this week’s episode of the Wicked Pissa Dude Podcast, you can listen at http://www.wickedpissadude.com.

    Posted by AdamWPD | September 1, 2009, 9:36 am
  2. Tedy will be sadly missed by all us devote Patriots fans. He was not only an inspiration to his team but, to all of us. It didn’t matter if we were losing 28-0 Tedy still kept up moral and made us all beleive we could still win. This guy deserves respect. If anyone should be tributed by having their # retired it’s him. We will miss you #54 and your charisma, brains and talent and most of all heart.

    Posted by elana | September 7, 2009, 8:23 am

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