New England Patriots Legend: Middle linebacker Tedy Bruschi

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20: Tedy Bruschi
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20: Tedy Bruschi /

Tedy Bruschi helped lead the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl wins, and he became a fan favorite through his 13 seasons.

Tedy Bruschi was a star at the University of Arizona in the early 90’s, but he slipped in the NFL Draft to the third round. The New England Patriots selected him in the 3rd round of the 1996 draft with the 86th overall selection.

That was the start of a legendary career, as Bruschi spent all 13 of his professional seasons playing for the Patriots. He was a fan favorite and an NFL star. Bruschi had heart and grit, the things New England sports fans love and appreciate the most. He only made one Pro Bowl, in 2004, but that didn’t matter to fans. Everyone knew Tedy was the leader of one of the NFL’s best defenses.

In February 2005, Bruschi suffered a stroke, and it became even more clear how much support he had from the Patriots fans and team. He was partially paralyzed, but the teams at Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital helped get Bruschi back on his feet. While he announced he would sit out the entire 2005 season, his rehab went better than planned and Bruschi was cleared to play in October. Tedy came back to game action on October 30th against the Buffalo Bills, and he was named the AFC Defensive player of the week. He wound up playing 9 games for New England that season and he received the 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. That stroke did not define Bruschi’s career in New England, but it gained him even more love and adoration across the area.

Bruschi finished with impressive numbers in his career. He had 675 tackles, 30.5 sacks, 17 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, 12 interceptions, and 4 touchdowns in 189 regular season games. He helped lead New England to some Super Bowl wins as well though. In 2001, 2003, and 2004, the Patriots brought Lombardi trophies back to Foxboro, and they were a clear dynasty. Tedy Bruschi was the glue of the defenses for all of those wins.

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New England Patriots
FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 12: Tedy Bruschi reacts during a ceremony in his honor at Gillette Stadium at the half time of a game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets on September 12, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

Still, what made Bruschi an even bigger legend was his relationship with the fans. He was inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame in 2013, and he’ll now forever be memorialized in The Hall. Bruschi has been working for ESPN as an NFL analyst since his retirement, and he’s one of the most honest voices on the network. He obviously loves his Patriots, but he’s not biased. He will still break down New England fairly, and accurately. Since retiring Bruschi has also become a spokesman for the American Heart Association, and has run the Boston Marathon twice. In 2014, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was at the finish line to meet his former linebacker.

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When you think of the early-2000’s Patriots, you should immediately think of Tedy Bruschi. Maybe you see that interception for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone with snow flying everywhere or one of his timely sacks. Tedy is truly a legend to Patriots fans, and his contributions for both the team and fans across the region will never be forgotten.