All-Time Great New England Patriot
Tedy Bruschi is a three-time Super Bowl Champion and one of the all-time defensive leaders of the New England Patriots. His life story is a lesson in the rewards of hard work, perseverance, and courage. A 13-year veteran of the NFL, Bruschi played his entire career with the Patriots, winning three Super Bowl rings and cementing his status as an iconic NFL linebacker; he has played on five of the eight Patriots teams to reach the Super Bowl. Known for his toughness and determination on and off the field, Bruschi returned to the NFL after suffering a stroke in 2005, and was named the 2005 Comeback Player of the Year.
During his historic career in the NFL, Bruschi became one of the most beloved New England Patriots of all time. A seven-time defensive captain, he played in 22 career playoff games, the highest total in Patriots history, including nine playoff seasons, eight division championships, five conference titles and three Super Bowl crowns. In 2007, Bruschi led the Patriots with 99 tackles and was a key leader on the first team in NFL history to complete a 16-0 regular season, as the Patriots tied the NFL's all-time mark with 18 overall victories.
Just five days after he made an appearance in the 2005 Pro Bowl Bruschi awoke with numbness and loss of vision, and was later diagnosed with a stroke. While many assumed his football career was over, Bruschi worked through months of intense physical therapy and rehabilitation, and made it back onto the football field in October 2005. "The epitome of everything you want in a football player," according to Patriots head coach Bill Belichik, he is the first NFL player to come back to the field after suffering a stroke. In his first game back with the Patriots, Bruschi earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors following a 10-tackle performance against Buffalo. He was later named the 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and served as one of the Patriots' team captains until his retirement in 2009.
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.
Bruschi retired from the Patriots in the 2009 preseason and currently works as an NFL analyst on ESPN. One of the Patriots' most active players in the greater Boston community, Bruschi is a spokesman for the American Heart Association and founder of Tedy's Team, a foundation that raises funds for stroke research and awareness.