SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi spoke to a crowd of more than 1,500 Monday night at Bryant University. Bruschi was a guest of the Student Arts and Speaker Series, which is an impressive group to stage such an event.
In a presentation that lasted an hour, Bruschi, wearing his 2001 Super Bowl ring, shared stories from throughout his career -- touching on different parts of the Patriots’ three Super Bowl-winning seasons and overcoming his stroke and returning to football. He answered questions from fans at the end.
Some areas that stood out from this perspective:
1) Revering Drew Bledsoe. In reflecting on the team’s Super Bowl season of 2001, Bruschi told the crowd that he learned a lifetime lesson from Drew Bledsoe. “He was the player who showed me how to really be unselfish and put the team first,” Bruschi said. “No one really remembers what Drew Bledsoe went through that year. How would that affect you when you had a job, and you did it very well, and all of a sudden it’s taken away from you, and when you come back from whatever setback you had, you expect to have it back and it’s not given to you. How would you react? The way Drew reacted was ‘I’m going to help this kid out, and put the team first.’ I hope that’s an example a lot of people remember when you think of that team, Drew Bledsoe’s example of being unselfish.”
2) Post-career plans. Bruschi didn’t put a timeframe on how much longer he hopes to play (he’s under contract through 2009), but said he hopes to remain connected to football when his playing days are over. “When is it going to be? Is it going to be 1 year? 2 years? That’s a question that you always have to deal with in the offseason,” he said. “Coaching is always an option. I love this game. I love being around it. I see a lot of players going into coaching. I see a lot of players on TV doing analyst jobs. Whatever I’m doing, I hope I’m still in football – coaching it, talking about it.”
3) Toughest opponents. In the Q&A session, Bruschi was asked the toughest linemen and toughest running back he’s faced. He picked Philadelphia Eagles guard Shawn Andrews. “When we play them, he’s a guy that is always circled, that they’re going to run behind and has some great skill,” Bruschi said. In terms of running backs, Brandon Jacobs got the nod. “You don’t see many running backs who are 6-foot-4, 270 pounds,” Bruschi said.
4) A career highlight. Bruschi recited his stat line from Oct. 30, 2005. “I’m not a big stat guy, but I’ll never forget my stat-line that day -- 10 tackles, 75 plays, on the punt team, exhausted at the end of the game, and we beat the Buffalo Bills,” he said. The game is most meaningful to Bruschi because it was his first back from his stroke.