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Pats’ Bruschi undecided on playing this season

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

BOSTON – Former University of Arizona star Tedy Bruschi says he is “testing myself physically” before deciding to play football this season for New England.

The All-Pro linebacker suffered a mild stroke in February. He told WBZ-TV in Boston that he will take his time before making the “big decision” of whether to return in 2005 to the Super Bowl champion Patriots.

“During the season we take it one game at a time, and right now in my life I’m taking it one day at a time,” said Bruschi, 31, who added he’s “feeling great.”

“When it comes time for a decision to be made, we’ve been talking about it, my family and I, but that’s a decision you don’t rush into so I’m taking my time with it,” he said.

Bruschi, one of the Patriots’ most important and popular players, suffered the stroke 10 days after New England beat the Philadelphia Eagles for its third Super Bowl win in four years.

He has been working out at the team training facility at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, but there has been no announcement, from Bruschi or the team, about his playing prospects.

“I’m going in (to the stadium), getting my health back in order, working out and that’s my step right now – just testing myself physically … seeing where I am tomorrow,” he said.

Bruschi’s agent, Brad Blank, said in March there was a chance that Bruschi would sit out the 2005 season and return in 2006.

“That’s one of the options. I have a lot of options,” he said.

Bruschi, who negotiated his own contracts without an agent after his rookie season, hired Blank after the stroke.

Bruschi is scheduled to earn $850,000 in 2005, $1.35 million in 2006 and $1.70 million in the final year of his contract. His deal would be voided if he retires, but he could earn his full salary if the team elects to place him on the physically unable to perform list.

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