Pound for pound – and in his college years he probably could have used extra weight – Tedy Bruschi is the best football player I’ve ever seen.
Covering UA at Stanford in the beginning of “Desert Swarm” in 1992, I recall Bruschi darting untouched and arriving at the quarterback – almost as soon the ball was snapped. His force and right hand stripped the ball in the Wildcat win.
He was just a part-time starter at defensive end, but I knew he was something special.
Fast forward to “the sack,” my term for maybe his greatest college play. It came in the Arizona State game of 1995, his senior season, when he sacked ASU’s Jake Plummer on third-and-19 despite being double-teamed. It was his 52nd career sack, an NCAA record at the time, and the Cats rallied from 14 down to beat ASU 31-28.
Two other things I won’t forget after 23 years at the Citizen:
• Watching Nancy Evans pitch every inning in five games as Arizona won the NCAA championship in Oklahoma City.
Carrie Dolan, who actually had more victories than Evans going into the Series, was suspended right before the CWS, leaving the Wildcats vulnerable.
“I had to keep myself ready and not get tired,” Evans said. “Fight it off.”
• Hiking the Grand Canyon – from the South Rim to the North Rim, an exercise that sends you almost 6,000 feet down and then back up 4,500 feet of heartbreaking cliffs.
My bones ached along the way – I was toting a 40-pound pack – but the hike was worth it. It’s a shocking yet soothing way to reveal the guts and bones of creation. It stays in your dreams.