NFL

Patriots Great Tedy Bruschi Used His 2 Strokes to Try Changing the World

Tedy Bruschi has been a famous face for football fans, whether during his career with the New England Patriots or since he joined ESPN.

In addition to being famous, Bruschi is also likable. Bruschi provides intelligent analysis on the Worldwide Leader and before that, he was a gritty linebacker for Bill Belichick’s Patriots.

Bruschi’s toughness and determination didn’t just apply to the football field. To get where he wanted to go, both with the New England Patriots and on TV, Bruschi needed to overcome two strokes.

Tedy Bruschi is a New England Patriots icon

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Tedy Bruschi is the defensive version of what Tom Brady meant to the New England Patriots’ offense and what Bill Belichick has meant to the franchise.

A third-round pick from Arizona in 1996, Bruschi became a Patriots legend and an all-around great player in New England.

Bruschi totaled 1,074 tackles, 12 interceptions, four defensive touchdowns, forced 17 fumbles, and notched 30.5 sacks in 13 NFL seasons. A Pro Bowl selection in 2004, Bruschi won three Super Bowl rings in New England and had 4.5 postseason sacks.

Bruschi also had two playoff interceptions and a forced fumble. The second interception came in New England’s victory over Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 39.

Bruschi has had two strokes since 2005

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The only time in Tedy Bruschi’s 13 seasons that he played fewer than 10 games in one season was in 2005, when the 32-year-old saw action in nine games. 

That Bruschi even made it back to the field that year, much less played half the season, is an incredible story. 

Bruschi had a stroke on Feb. 16, 2005, only 10 days after New England won Super Bowl 39. According to ESPN, doctors determined the stroke likely came from a blood clot near his heart. 

Bruschi originally intended to miss the 2005 season and try returning in 2006. Only a few weeks after that comment and eight months after the stroke, Bruschi had 10 tackles in a 21-16 victory over the Bills.

Bruschi retired after the 2008 season without any further health issues.

That wasn’t his last brush with health problems, though. Bruschi had a small stroke, or TIA, in July 2019. 

Bruschi returned to ESPN later that year and has not had any other public health problems since then.

Tedy Bruschi has left a positive lasting legacy

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The New England Patriots inducted Tedy Bruschi into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

Bruschi is no guarantee to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he continues to leave an incredible legacy on the world. He founded Tedy’s Team, a foundation that works with the American Stroke Association to raise funds and awareness for fighting strokes and heart disease.

Bruschi told ESPN in January 2008 that he was grateful for the impact his return had on others who had health problems.

“To tell you the truth, I receive all kinds of stories of adversity, whether they are cancer survivors or stroke survivors. If any of those people tell me they’ve been able to draw inspiration from what I’ve been able to do … it’s incredibly honoring.”

Bruschi is one of 16 linebackers on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot this year. There are 130 total players on the ballot, a list that will be cut down to 25 semifinalists in November.

Even if Tedy Bruschi doesn’t earn a bronze bust in Canton, Ohio, he’s more than done his part to change both the New England Patriots and the world.

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