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  • Karen Cardoza
    The one session that I couldn t attend..... and who was there?... Why, it was Mrs. Bruschi and kids! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~Karen~ Strength, courage, and
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2002
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      The one session that I couldn't attend..... and who was there?... Why, it was Mrs. Bruschi and kids!
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      ~Karen~
      Strength, courage, and wisdom
      And it's been inside me all along....
      India.Arie
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 7:52 AM
      Subject: OMG!!!

       
      Journal photo / Mary Murphy
      KIDDING AROUND: Patriots' linebacker Tedy Bruschi laughes as he puts his son, one-year-old Tedy Jr., down on the field after the morning practice session, July 31 at Bryant College.
      Versatile Bruschi is making noise

      08/01/2002

      BY TOM E. CURRAN
      Journal Sports Writer

      SMITHFIELD -- He's traded his brass knuckles for a briefcase, turned in his lead pipe and picked up his saxophone. Tedy Bruschi, the one-time project, is now the projected starter at middle linebacker for the world champion New England Patriots.

      His six-year makeover is complete. And yet, Bruschi is the same. Which is to say, he's still very different.

      How different? First off, he's a 6-foot-1, 245-pound middle linebacker, which makes him like a muskrat in a room full of mastodons.

      Second, this is a guy who works as his own agent. Not unheard of, but still pretty unusual. (And he's done a reasonably good job at it so far, evidenced by his three-year, $4.6 million contract that he worked out last fall.)

      And can you name another NFL player who's played alto sax at Symphony Hall in Boston as Bruschi did this offseason? OK, stop thinking. You can't. He loves special teams, doesn't suffer fools gladly and still plays with the same maniacal edge he always has (an edge that spawned the memorable pro-Bruschi banner, "Full tilt. Full time.").

      "When I first met Tedy, I thought he was a little wacky myself," fellow middle linebacker Ted Johnson said. "But he's not always like that. That's just how he is on the field."

      These days, the 29-year-old Bruschi's importance to the Patriots is rarely undersold. People may not know the specifics, like the fact that Bruschi's first start at middle linebacker came against New Orleans and the team won every single game the rest of the way, but they know he played damn well.

      But as he settles in as a mainstay, the road he rode to get here shouldn't be overlooked.

      Bill Belichick was coaching the secondary for the Patriots when Bruschi was drafted by Bill Parcells in 1996.

      "(Bruschi's development) probably has surprised me a little bit because Tedy (always played defensive line) at Arizona and . . . we drafted him as a linebacker," Belichick said yesterday. "He led the Pac-10 in sacks, but he was a defensive tackle. The thing about Tedy that's enabled him to be so successful is that he is just a smart football player. Doesn't matter whether it's punt return, punt protection, middle linebacker, goal line, whatever the situation is, he picks it up quickly. He understands what to do, what the scheme of the defense is, and then he reads and reacts pretty quickly as well. That's what enabled him (to make the change)."

      That and good vision.

      "I see how big those offensive tackles and guards," Bruschi laughed. "Actually, it's been the toughest thing I had to do was making the transition from putting my hand down in the dirt in college, then coming here and learning linebacker.

      "But I was a realist. I came here and saw the Willie McGinests and Chris Slades -- their size, their length, the body type you need to be an edge rusher -- and I saw (his own more compact body type) so I knew I had to change myself as a player."

      It came in fits and starts. There were weeks Bruschi made big plays. There were others he clubbed guys out of bounds or after the whistle. But it all fell together.

      And what Bruschi has done is rare. Belichick mentioned former Giants standout Harry Carson as a player who made a switch similar to the one Bruschi made, but said there aren't many other examples.

      "To be able to read and react as quickly as he does is a little bit unusual," Belichick said of Bruschi. "You don't see many guys who can make the conversion. He is not a defensive lineman playing linebacker. He's a linebacker."

      And one who was reared on the importance of versatility.

      "My mom did a good job with me," said Bruschi, a Sacramento-area native. "She got me into things that weren't normal for a person like me. I was always an aggressive guy and she threw me in the choir, she threw me in the band. She said, 'Tedy, I wanted to make sure you're well-rounded.'

      Well-rounded enough that, this spring, Bruschi was asked to play "Fizzwater" on alto sax at a Symphony Hall benefit concert this past spring.

      "I like that I can say football is not all I am," he said proudly.

      He has a wife and two young sons. He's his own agent, his own man and he tries not to let himself forget that things have gone very well so far.

      "I (thank God) every night," he said. "I don't talk about (his faith) a lot but I've got a beautiful family, the career's gone well, I'm on a team that I'm happy with, one that has a great bunch of guys on it."

      As Belichick said yesterday, "You would like to have 53 Tedy Bruschi's, but it's just unrealistic."

      Unrealistic, because there is no assembly line where they churn out these kinds of guys. Even if he was 5-7, 145 pounds, Tedy Bruschi would still stand out.

      "He's a quiet normal guy, with a couple kids and a great wife," said Johnson. "But he definitely sees the world a little differently than the rest of us. Mostly, he's just having fun."

       
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      ~Karen~
      Strength, courage, and wisdom
      And it's been inside me all along....
      India.Arie
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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