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Bruschi ready to tackle another season

Following an emotional loss in the AFC Championship game in January, linebacker Tedy Bruschi was noncommittal about his return to the Patriots for the 2007 season. But Bruschi has since been more definitive and plans to suit up for a 12th season, a source close to the situation confirmed last night.

Bruschi, who turns 34 in June, led the Patriots with 124 tackles last season. After the AFC Championship game, he acknowledged he was coming toward the end of his career. "You can't play forever," he said. "That's what all of us do at the end of every year -- you take inventory and see how you're feeling."

One of the team's defensive captains, Bruschi played in 15 games last season but missed most of training camp after breaking the scaphoid bone in his wrist. He played with a protective cast for a good portion of the season.

In 2005, he made a courageous return to the field after suffering a stroke in the offseason, playing in nine regular-season games and one playoff contest.

After the loss in Indianapolis, Bruschi reiterated his approach that "I just go year to year."

MIKE REISS

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