Patriots guard Joe Andruzzi led the team out of the locker room for the team's first game after 9/11, hoisting an American flag in honor of his three brothers who were New York City firefighters. They all celebrated together in a heart-wrenching moment at Foxboro Stadium.
The Patriots honored the Andruzzi brothers and their father again Thursday night as part of their recognition of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. They were honorary captains, and there was also a pregame ceremony that included the five branches of the military, as well as local policemen and firefighters.
"We saw the servicemen march out there and be there for the national anthem," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "Yeah, it was very moving. I think we all remember that day, and that season, and the way that season started with Joe and his brothers coming up. It was a very emotional season, and it brought back a lot of emotional memories."
Belichick was also asked if he remembered about Andruzzi's sprint onto the field with the American flag.
"Yeah, absolutely, absolutely," Belichick said. "Joe has always been a great teammate and warrior for this organization, and when he and his family, and their extended family and the New York firefighters — all of his friends and associates there, that's an extended family. So our hearts went out to him and his family during that time. There still is a great appreciation for all the great work that they continue to do, as well as our servicemen that were there representing all the servicemen that defend us and give us a chance to live the free lives that we do. Anytime we can show tribute to them, it's more than well-deserved."