Tedy Bruschi was a former professional American football player who spent his entire League career playing for the New England Patriots. He was a star linebacker in the National Football League throughout his thirteen seasons.
Tedy Bruschi grew up playing many sports such as high school football, wrestling, and track and field, before specializing in football at the University of Arizona. There, he finished his collegiate football career earning second-team All-America honors, setting a school record as a sophomore with 19 sacks, receiving first-team All-Pac-10 honors twice, and being named as the team’s MVP. His college career highs record 27.5 tackles for losses and 19 sacks as well. He was a finalist for the Lombardi Award and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013. Before the 1996 NFL Draft, Bruschi was invited to play in the East West Shrine Bowl Game before selecting the New England Patriots. For his entire NFL career, Tedy Bruschi played for the New England Patriots (1996-2008). As a rookie, he played in every game and was ranked in the top three of the team’s players with 17 special teams tackles. His first career touchdown came in 1996 at Baltimore. In 1997, he played in every game as well for a consecutive season, and in 1998 he finished fourth on the team with a career-high 81 tackles. In 1999, Bruschi started in 14 games as outside linebacker, recorded a career-high 138 total tackles, and finished second on the team in tackles. The following year, he started in all games as weakside linebacker and recorded his second season with over 100 tackles. He continued to showcase tremendous success in 2001 in which he started as linebacker for nine of 15 games and was the team’s third highest in terms of tackles, at 73. He is tied for fourth in League history among linebackers for four interceptions and became the first player in NFL history to return four consecutive interceptions for touchdowns. Voted as defensive captain by his fellow teammates, Bruschi was ranked seventh on his team before being ranked second on the team during the 2004 regular season. After being named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week three times in 2004 and three days after playing in the 2005 Pro Bowl, Bruschi suffered from a stroke that required him to sit out during the 2005 NFL season. His achievements continued in 2007, as he started in all of the team’s regular season games for the fourth time in his career, tied a single-game career high with two-sacks, and became the 13th player in the franchise’s history to record a career total of 30.5 sacks. Leading the team in tackles and solo tackles, at 99 and 69 respectively, Tedy Bruschi continued as a defensive captain for the Patriots. In 2009, Bruschi announced his retirement, but joined ESPN as an analyst shortly after. He chose for his No. 54 jersey to not be retired, and it is, in fact, worn by Dont’a Hightower. Selected by fans as the 19th player to enter the New England Patriots Hall of Fame, Bruschi was inducted in 2013. In 2015, he was also selected as an honorary captain at Super Bowl XLIX.
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