For his entire NFL career, Tedy Bruschi played as hard as one could possibly play. He was the heart and soul of the New England Patriots defense for a long time. Many around the league raved about his professionalism, consistency, and overall toughness.
Recent events may have revealed that Bruschi is tougher than everyone thought, however.
Tedy Bruschi’s NFL career
Before we evaluate what makes Bruschi such a tough customer, it helps to look at his NFL career to put things in perspective. Bruschi played 13 seasons. During that time he was able to rack up a considerable amount of accomplishments with the Patriots, including:
- 1,063 combined tackles
- 675 solo tackles
- 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year
- 17 playoff games started
- Five-time player of the week
- Four interceptions returned for a touchdown
- A 2004 Pro Bowl selection
- 17 fumbles forced
- Three Super Bowl championships
- Served as one of the defensive leaders on a team that went 16-0 in the regular season, the 2007 Patriots
If you want to measure Bruschi’s impact on the Patriots, look no further than the impact he had on his head coach, the great Bill Belichick.
Belichick is not a man known for showing his emotions. But on the day Bruschi retired in 2009, he struggled to hide his tears. He also had high praise for the man, as quoted by WBZ in Boston:
“There’s no player that I think epitomizes more of what I believe a player should be on the field, off the field, really, in every situation. I guess, if you ask me to sum up how I feel about Tedy Bruschi in five seconds: He’s the perfect player. Perfect player. He’s helped create a tradition here that we’re all proud of. The torch has been passed, and we’ll try to carry it on. It’s a high standard. It’s a high standard.”
In 2013, Bruschi was inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame. He’ll go down as one of the franchise’s greatest defenders. While his toughness is not in doubt, it was definitely tested recently.
What happened to Tedy Bruschi?
Bruschi’s 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award was earned the season after he suffered a stroke. Boston sports radio station WEEI called it one of the biggest comebacks in sports history.
Unfortunately, Bruschi had a second stroke at the age of 46 on the Fourth of July of this year. The reactions from across the football world poured in for the highly regarded Bruschi:
- Patriots QB and former teammate Tom Brady: “Thinking of our friend @tedybruschi #staystrong”
- Former Philadelphia Eagles kicker David Akers: “Prayers for @TedyBruschi. Prayers for a speedy recovery bro!!”
- Former teammate Damien Woody: “Oh man….prayers to my man @TedyBruschi!”
The news rocked fans and players alike. Luckily though, in the face of an awful situation, there was good news on the horizon.
An update on Tedy Bruschi’s status
According to the Instagram post above from Bruschi, he’s “doing much better.” This is obviously great news.
The way Bruschi delivered the news also highlights another reason he’s a great person off-the-field. In his Instagram post, Bruschi offered tips on knowing the warning signs of a stroke.
His charitable foundation, Tedy’s Team, was founded by Bruschi and his wife “to raising awareness of stroke and heart disease while supporting survivors on their journey, giving them the means for a comeback.”
Bruschi took a negative in his life – suffering not one, but two strokes – and turned it into a positive for many people. While it’s apparent that Bruschi on the field was as tough as they come, off-the-field he showed toughness as well. He did it through his ability to bounce back from two strokes while helping others facing a similar setback.