FOXBOROUGH -- Although he retired in 2008, linebacker Tedy Bruschi continues to have an effect on the Patriots, as two former teammates praised him Monday afternoon shortly before Bruschi was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Quarterback Tom Brady and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork talked about what Bruschi meant to them and their careers.
“Tedy is a great player; he brought so much enthusiasm to our locker room, to our team, he had a very unique personality,” said Brady. “[He is a] very highly motivated person, had a great work ethic, was a great leader, especially to the young players. He was a great mentor to so many guys, including myself.”
Brady played with Bruschi from 2000-08, which included three Super Bowl championships. Brady is excited to see so many of his former teammates in the franchise's Hall of Fame.
“It’s pretty cool to see [them go in] and you remember the contribution they made,” said Brady. “Coach Belichick always talks to the younger players [about] guys like Troy Brown and Tedy Bruschi and Rodney [Harrison] … the exposure that I had to those great players when I was a young player was huge in my development.”
“I learned a lot from him; there's not too many guys here who played with him, but we have pictures of all our greats, and he’s one of them up there on the walls,” said Wilfork. “Just to go by and see some of the plays and some of the photos they took of him … in the snow, whatever it may be, interceptions, touchdowns, even if Bill one day showed a highlight of something that we haven’t done in a long time and all of a sudden … you’ll see him, he’s out there making plays, you see guys out there making plays.”
Wilfork played with Bruschi from 2004-08, including one Super Bowl championship in 2005, and the 2007 16-0 regular season that led to another Super Bowl appearance. Wilfork, even more than Brady, directly benefited from Bruschi being on the field with him and other Patriots’ defensive greats during his younger years in the NFL.
“For me it’s easy, because you know I have learned from the best, they were the best,” Wilfork said. “They just led the way, and it was everything I’ve learned: how to be a professional, how to be off the field, how to come to work. I learned from guys like them, you can never take that away.”
Wilfork fondly remembers the time Bruschi led the Patriot defense, remarking on the “confidence [Bruschi] had in everyone.”
“Every time he gave a play call you can tell how confident he was in his voice, how confident he was in the call, how confident he was in the play, just being alert on the field and knowing the situation that we were in,” said Wilfork. “Just a very, very smart person and I always just remember I was the guy in the middle, I'd call the huddle in and just to hear his voice, you always knew you had someone who had your back. He helped build this organization for what it is, he helped bring some championships here, and [we] learned [a lot] from him.”