Saturday, February 19, 2005

Tedy Bruschi: Thank you

If you have followed the New England Patriots these last few years you know what a special group of men this team is. They are not special because of their athletic abilties or because of their wins on the field. What makes this group so unique, so special is that they are humble and defer all credit to the TEAM.

They are the most unique team in pro sports. No out of control egos here, they would not be tolerated. This is the kind of team coaches across the country can point to to show kids how they game should be played and how a professional should carry themselves.

Tedy Bruschi is the heart and soul of the team. He is a fantastic player, a great leader and a strong force in the community. He embodies everthing that you would want your child to be. Strong, proud, dedicated to his craft, his team and above all his family.

In the week before the Super Bowl, I was struck by an answer Bruschi gave to a routine media question. He was asked,

"What motivates you after having so much success, winning two Super Bowls in
the past three years, and now playing for a third?"

Most players would say something along the lines of being a champion, personal validation of their career, etc. Not Tedy Bruschi. Here is how he responded,

"I play for my wife and my kids, to make them proud."

That was it. That was the whole answer, period, case closed. It was as genuine an answer as I have ever heard from a pro athlete. Frankly, it was touching and incredibly impressive although it was not surprising having listened to Bruschi for all these years.

How special is Tedy Bruschi? He is one of the only players in professional sports that is his own agent. He negotiates his own contract. After last season, he was a free agent and could sign with any team in the league. Instead, he worked out a deal with the Pats for $2M per year, about half of his value on the open market. When aksed why he settled for so much less than he could have got, the response was typical Bruschi.

"How much is enough? I couldn't stand the thought of the kids that wear my
jersey to the games seeing me palying for another team."

Many of you probaby saw the shot of Bruschi playing on the field before the Super Bowl with his twin boys. Maybe you saw him after the game sitting on the bench with his wife and boys in the middle of the victory celebration.

This week came shocking news that Tedy Bruschi, a 31-year old All Pro linebacker, suffered a minor stroke. The media is saying it was a mild stroke and that his prognosis for a full recovery is excellent. Many are speculating that he could continue playing.

These people haven't been paying attention. Family comes first for Tedy Bruschi and I am certain that he will retire because watching his kids grow up is far more important to him than any game.

No one in New England will begrude him for it. He has brought so much to this area. Three Super Bowl victories and countless examples of class, dedication and priorities that a generation of New England sports fans will remember for a lifetime.


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