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Monday, August 31, 2009
Full Tilt, Full Time: Saluting one of the greatest Patriots of all-time
Like so many things in life, the pivotal moments happen when you least expect them.
Last night, I got a text from a buddy that Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was retiring. It wasn't unexpected by any means since Bruschi was not getting many reps in training camp and in the preseason games so far this summer.
Still, to see a guy that played his whole career with New England (13 seasons) call it quits is big. Bruschi was never the best player, although he did make a Pro Bowl in 2005. Rather, he was the consummate professional: he always showed up in the most important games and when he was at his peak, he made countless game-changing plays.
Think the Miami game in the snow where he had the pick for a touchdown. The strip and fumble recovery vs. the Colts in another snowy playoff game. Or the sack in the Super Bowl against the Eagles.
Things were never the same after Bruschi suffered a minor stroke in February 2005, 10 days after the Pats had won their third Super Bowl in four seasons.
He returned that fall and played four more years but it was clear since he had lost a step (or two) that his career wasn't going to top what he had already done.
At this point, it's weird enough to root for guys on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots that are now years younger than me, but nothing will make you feel your age like seeing one of your favorite athletes retire.
Whether Bruschi felt like he would be released before this season started is irrelevant. He wanted to go out on top, before he's crippled for the rest of his life (like so many other NFL players). He has a wife and young kids that mean the world to him. The Patriots will hook him up with a nice job (if he wants it) or he'll move on to coach/commentate, whatever.
Today is all about Tedy Bruschi, one of the greatest Patriots players I'll ever see in my lifetime.