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Bruschi’s spirit fuels amazing return to Pats

Citizen Staff Writer

Comment by CorkySimpson csimpson@tucsoncitizen.com

Tedy Bruschi awakens an appreciation for sports heroes.

There was the former Arizona Wildcat last night in Foxboro, Mass., returning to the New England Patriots eight months after a stroke and subsequent procedure to plug a hole in his heart, inspiring his team to a 21-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

New England fans and a national television audience watched one of the great personal comebacks in the history of sports.

Bruschi, who played at UA from 1992-95 and was a key member of the famed “Desert Swarm” defense, was given an ovation by the Patriot fans, congratulations from teammates and opponents – and even an encouraging word from one of the game officials near the end of the contest.

He was in on the first play of the game, helping tackle Willis McGahee of the Bills, and he was on the field when the Patriots’ defense iced the win with a crucial fourth-down stop of the Buffalo offense.

He finished with seven tackles – two solos – and was in on 64 of New England’s 77 defensive plays.

Coaches at all levels of football preach great sermons on effort, determination and toughness, but it’s mostly a caricature right off the locker-room blackboard.

Bruschi is for real.

No. 54 of the Patriots showed the kind of courage last night the rest of us only dream about. He makes us think about our own lives and the business of overcoming odds.

Oh, and what it really means to be one tough son of a gun.

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