Bruschi On Call To Hall: Proud To Have Only Played For Patriots
BOSTON (CBS) – Tedy Bruschi will be enshrined in the New England Patriots Hall Of Fame in August, cementing his place in the teams history.
Bruschi received the news from Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday night.
“Mr. Kraft called me on the phone last night and let me know, gave me the news,” Bruschi told reporters on a conference call Tuesday morning. “He told me he was very proud of me to be inducted in the Patriots Hall of Fame, and I told him how much it meant to me.”
Bruschi, who retired in 2009 after spending all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Patriots, will become the 19th player to be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame.
The undersized linebacker, drafted by New England in the third round of the 1996 draft, won three Super Bowls and five conference titles with the Patriots. Bruschi said he wasn’t sure where his NFL career would begin, but as soon as he arrived in New England he knew where he wanted it to end.
“I’m very proud to have only played for one organization my entire career, and I worked very hard to make sure that happened,” he said. “I remember getting drafted in my apartment in Tuscon, Arizona and my girlfriend, who is now my wife, I told her that I was going to stay with the New England Patriots my entire career. That was after being drafted and within 10 or 15 minutes. And to be able to look back and say I did that and stay with an organization and build something special is something I’m very proud of. I don’t know if it’s — in my mind I was finished, but to have this — winning championships is better, but this is cool.”
“Being here in New England my entire career, my kids being raised here, I sort of feel like I’m a transplanted New Englander. ”
Bruschi said he had a special relationship with New England fans, which is one of the reasons he spent his entire career in one uniform.
“I always felt like I was one of them. I never felt like I was any type of a special person or that I was any different than any of the people that were up there cheering on the Patriots,” said Bruschi. “I always felt the New England Patriots fans did their work, got their work done, they liked to come home and spend time with their families and when they had free time, they liked to cheer on their favorite team. That’s who I am also. If I wasn’t fortunate enough to play professional football, that’s who I would have been: a good family man to my wife and kids and then cheering on my local team. I think that’s who I would be. I think that’s why I related so much to them. ”
Gallery: Bruschi Through The Years
So it should come as no surprise that Bruschi’s favorite memory during his career was one he shared with the fans. During a 2003 game in Foxboro against the Miami Dolphins, just a day after a pretty hefty snowstorm, Bruschi picked off Jay Fiedler and returned it for a touchdown. The fans reacted by throwing snow in the air, making Gillette Stadium look like a snow globe.
“I don’t delay when I answer that question. I think that maybe that speaks to my connection with the fans we were talking about,” he explained. “When I intercepted Jay Fiedler’s pass and took it into the end zone, slid into the end zone, was on my knees and the ball was in my arms, spread out with the ball. Matt Chatham came and smacked me on the back of the helmet and that ignited some celebration of some snow being thrown up in the air. I had a helmet and I had a facemask on and I remember [Mike] Vrabel coming up to me before we went back out on defense and he looked at me very closely and he said, ‘Look what you started.’ The crowd was still going and the snow was going up in the air. That has to be the favorite home memory for me. I’ll never forget that play.”
Bruschi will be enshrined on Sunday August 11, along with longtime radio play-by-play announcer Gil Santos.