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Tedy Bruschi

Tedy Bruschi (right) at the White House.
No. 54     
Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: June 9, 1973 (1973-06-09) (age 36)
Place of birth: San Francisco, California
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 247 lb (112 kg)
Career information
College: Arizona
NFL Draft: 1996 / Round: 3 / Pick: 86
Debuted in 1996 for the New England Patriots
Last played in 2008 for the New England Patriots
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2008
Tackles     1,110
Sacks     30.5
INTs     12
Stats at NFL.com

Tedy Lacap Bruschi (pronounced /ˈbruːski/; born June 9, 1973 in San Francisco, California) is a former professional American football linebacker. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He played college football at Arizona.

A 13-year veteran of the NFL, Bruschi played his entire career with the Patriots and has won three Super Bowl rings; he has played on five of the six Patriots teams to reach the Super Bowl.

Contents

Early years

Bruschi attended Roseville High School in Roseville, California, where he lettered in football, wrestling, and track and field (shot put). He was an all-conference selection as a defensive tackle.

College career

Bruschi played college football at the University of Arizona as a defensive end, where he tied the NCAA Division I-A sack record with 52 quarterback sacks. A two-time consensus All-American in 1994 and 1995 and winner of the 1995 Morris Trophy as the PAC-10's best defensive lineman. Bruschi compiled 185 total tackles (137 solos), with 74 tackles for losses, 52 quarterback sacks and forced six fumbles and recovered five others.

In 1991 he missed the first three games of the season due to a pinched nerve in his neck. He returned and started two games as a true freshman, but suffered a broken left thumb and was redshirted. In 1992 he played strongside outside linebacker prior to his transition to the defensive line in 1993 and started just one of 12 games and still managed to post 4.5 sacks for the season. In 1993 he was voted Second-Team All-America honors after setting a school record with 19 sacks as a sophomore and he also was First-team All-Pac-10 honors and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. His 27.5 tackles for losses and 19 sacks in 1993 were each career highs. In 1994 he was a conensus All-American and was one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award and again was First-team All-Pac 10. He totaled 39 tackles, including 10 sacks for 65 yards and 15 tackles for losses. In 1995 he was a consensus All-American and All-Pac-10 selection his senior year, he totaled 60 tackles (48 solos), including 18.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for losses.

Professional career

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1996-1998

The Patriots selected Bruschi in the third round (86th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft, and moved him to linebacker.

In 1996 he played in every game as a rookie, a pass rush specialist and playing on many special teams units and finished the season with 11 tackles, including four sacks. He ranked third on the team with 17 special teams tackles. Bruschi recorded two sacks in Super Bowl XXXI against the Green Bay Packers, just one shy of the Super Bowl record (Reggie White, 3.0). In 1997 he saw action in every game for the second consecutive season and posted 30 defensive tackles, including four sacks, and added 13 special teams stops. His four sacks and 13 special teams tackles each ranked third on the team and he also forced two fumbles, and recovered one. In 1998 Bruschi played in every game for the third consecutive year and started the last eight games of the season, including the Patriots wild-card playoff game in Jacksonville (January 3, 1999). He finished fourth on the team with a career-high 81 tackles, including a pair of sacks. He had opened the season in his now familiar role as a pass rush specialist.

1999-2001

In 1999 he started 14 games at outside linebacker and recorded a career-high 138 total tackles, including two sacks. Bruschi finished second on the team in tackles, despite missing two games due to a right knee sprain. He made his first career interception, one of six passes defensed on the year. 2000 saw Bruschi start all 16 games at weakside linebacker and finished with 105 tackles (68 solos). It was his second consecutive season with over 100 tackles. In 2001 he started nine of 15 regular season games at linebacker and finished third on the team with 73 tackles (54 solos). He was credited with two sacks, forced three fumbles and recovered one and registered a career-high two interceptions.

2002-2004

In 2002 Bruschi was voted a defensive captain for the season by his teammates. He ranked seventh on the team with 65 tackles (45 solos) despite missing five games due to injury. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns (at Oakland, November 17, and at Detroit, November 28), the seventh time a Patriot interceptor has reached the end zone twice in a single season and the first time a linebacker has accomplished the feat. In 2003 he started all 16 games at inside linebacker as one of four defensive players to start all 16 games and he was voted a defensive captain for the season by his teammates. He ranked second on the team with 137 tackles (87 solo) and finished third on the team with 16 pass defenses. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Weeks Two and 14. In the 2004 regular season, Bruschi finished second on the team with 128 tackles (84 solo) and tied for second on the team with three interceptions. His solid play continued in the playoffs, where he finished second on the squad with 23 tackles (18 solo) and added a sack, an interception, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Bruschi was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week three times in 2004: Weeks 4 and 17 and in the Divisional Playoffs, when he forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles as the Patriots defense held the highly-regarded Colts offense to just three points.

2005 illness

On February 16, 2005, just days after playing in the 2005 Pro Bowl, Bruschi was taken to a hospital with symptoms including temporary numbness, blurred vision, and headaches; Bruschi was diagnosed with a mild stroke. He suffered from a patent foramen ovale, a congenital heart defect that leaves a small hole in the wall separating the left and right atria of the heart. Bruschi suffered from partial paralysis and was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital. After several months of rehabilitation working with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Bruschi announced he would sit out the 2005 NFL season.[1]

On October 16, 2005, the Patriots announced that Bruschi had been medically cleared to resume playing football; he rejoined the team on the practice field three days later. The Patriots officially activated him on October 29, and he played the following night against the Buffalo Bills; ESPN's broadcast of the game had several features and interviews on Bruschi's return. Following the game, Bruschi was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Bruschi played most of the remaining games that season, except for the final regular season game against Miami and the first playoff game against Jacksonville. Bruschi was named the 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, an honor he shared with Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith.

2006-2008

In 2006, Bruschi was voted a defensive captain by his teammates and started the final 14 games at linebacker after missing the first game of the season. He finished first on the team with 124 tackles. In the 2006 playoffs, Bruschi led the Patriots with 24 tackles (16 solo), marking the highest playoff tackle total of his career. He also led the team with 23 tackles (15 solo) in the 2007 playoffs. In 2007 he played in and started all 16 regular-season games for the fourth time in his career and was voted a defensive captain for the 2007. He tied a single-game career high with a two-sack performance against the Cleveland Browns on October 7, 2007, and ran his career total to 30.5 sacks, becoming the 13th player in Patriots' history to reach that milestone. Also he led the team in tackles (99) and solo tackles (69) in 2007. In 2008 he played in 13 games, starting 12, and was named a defensive captain by his teammates for the seventh season.

Touchdowns

Bruschi is the only player in NFL history to return four consecutive interceptions for touchdowns and his career total of four interceptions returned for touchdowns ranks second in Patriots history. He is tied for fourth in NFL history among linebackers, and Bruschi is the only Patriots linebacker to return multiple interceptions for touchdowns in a single season (2002 and 2003). Additionally, since 2002 Bruschi's defensive play has created seven defensive touchdowns. He scored four of those touchdowns on interception returns (two in both 2002 and 2003), forced two fumbles that were picked up and returned for touchdowns (October 3 and November 28, 2004), and tipped a pass that was intercepted by James Sanders and returned for a touchdown (December 11, 2005). This is in addition to his first career touchdown at Baltimore (October 6, 1996) when Bruschi recovered a blocked punt by Larry Whigham and returned it four yards for a touchdown, making 8 total touchdowns to which Bruschi contributed.

Retirement

On the August 30, 2009, broadcast of Sunday Night Football, Al Michaels reported that Bruschi would announce his retirement after 13 seasons in the NFL the next day. Bruschi confirmed his retirement on August 31, 2009 at a press conference alongside New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. During this broadcast, Bruschi described how fulfilled he felt in completing his 13 years of playing football. He described how it felt to know that he had reached all of the goals he wanted to reach. Belichick was choked up and spoke of him as "the perfect player". The head coach also described Tedy's powerful addition to the team and alluded to his strong sense of team spirit and drive.

Bruschi joined ESPN as an analyst following his retirement.

The Patriots did not re-issue Bruschi's #54 for the 2009 season.

Personal

Bruschi is of Filipino and Italian descent. An accomplished saxophonist, Bruschi has played with the Boston Pops.[2]

In 2007 Bruschi wrote Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery, and My Return to the NFL, a book about his experience with his stroke and his recovery. In his memoir, Bruschi speaks with candor about how his family confronted the reality of his life-threatening affliction, of his initial plans to retire from the NFL, and of the moment he told his wife he was ready to return to football, earning him a share of the Comeback Player of the Year Award and the Patriots recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.

Bruschi is a spokesman for the American Heart Association and founded Tedy's Team, a foundation to raise funds for stroke research, inspired by Bruschi's own experience.[3]

In 2007 Bruschi was named to NFL.com's All-Interview Team for accessibility to the media. In 2006 he won both the Senator Paul E. Tsongas Award for Exemplary Public Service and was an Rhode Island Italian-American Hall of Fame Inductee. In 2005 he was the Associated Press NFL Co-Comeback Player of the Year and was voted the Ed Block Courage Award, the Maxwell Football Club's Spirit Award and the AFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 8) and NFL.com's All-Interview Team as well as USA Today's All-Joe Team. In 2004 he made the AFC Pro Bowl and Second-Team Associated Press All-Pro and thrice won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week: (Week 4)(Week 17) and (Divisional Playoffs), he also was on NFL.com's All-Interview Team.

References

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Drew Brees
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award
2005
(Co-Award Winner Steve Smith)
Succeeded by
Chad Pennington

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