Words and emotions so visibly displayed by one of the most complex people to read in all of professional sports. Words so true, about one of the greatest players to ever step on the field in the 50-year history of the New England Patriots. Emotions so sincere that media in attendance had to turn their attention for a moment to fight back tears of their own.
This was the farewell that Bill Belichick gave his warrior, his partner who helped him win three Super Bowls in just four years, his true Patriot, and his friend. And he did it on the same grand stage of cameras and reporters that have documented every single step of Tedy’s unique career.
I’ve had the great privilege of covering Tedy Bruschi for the past four years. When I began covering the Patriots, Tedy walked right past me in the locker room without a glance. I had to earn his respect. I had to prove I knew what I was doing, and I had to win him over. Once I did, Tedy treated me the same way he did with everyone throughout his storied career — with the utmost respect.
Tedy is a true professional, a symbol of what every professional athlete should be. The way he conducts himself, his work ethic and his mutual respect for those around him make him a legend, whose legacy will continue to breathe in Foxborough.
During training camp in August 2007, with the help of my friend Michael Holley of WEEI, who co-wrote Bruschi’s biography Never Give Up, Tedy granted me an exclusive interview to discuss the new release of his book, and to speak on camera for the first time since recovering from a stroke. I read the book in less than a day, and if you know me, that never happens. But I was hooked, and very anxious to sit down with one of the most admirable and courageous players to step on the field.
After our interview was over, a visibly choked up Bruschi stood up and gave me a hug. He said, “Thank you.” He knew I did my homework, asked the right questions and brought out the emotion that No. 54 became known for. He also knew that I respected him as a person and respected his story enough to tell it right.
Tedy is a class act. Over the last 48 hours since he announced his retirement, we’ve read articles, heard from current and former teammates, seen interviews and watched all the highlights. The career that Tedy Bruschi had was simply perfect.
And I guess it’s my turn to say “thank you" – because Tedy helped me realize that if you persevere, you challenge yourself and you do your job right, you’ll succeed.
If the stoic head coach can wear his emotions on his sleeve, so too can you and me as we bid farewell to one of the best.
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