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Tom Brady: ‘Not a better player’ to ever play for Patriots than Tedy Bruschi 07.29.13 at 5:18 pm ET
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Tom Brady paid tribute to Tedy Bruschi on Monday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Tom Brady paid tribute to Tedy Bruschi on Monday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Before taking the field for a nighttime practice inside Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady took the occasion on the field Monday to join in the chorus of praise for the newest member of the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Brady played with Tedy Bruschi for nine seasons from 2000-2008 and the two won three Super Bowls together.

But what Brady recalled Monday were the personal moments he had with Bruschi, getting to know the man as well as the player.

“Spending Christmas at his house, all those things are really special memories for me,” Brady said. “They couldn’t award a better player than Tedy.

“There’s not a better player that’s ever come through this program than Tedy. It’s going to be great for all us to see him inducted and have him around and hopefully, he has some words of wisdom for this year’s team.”

Then there was Vince Wilfork, a former teammate that actually played defense with Bruschi.

“It’s just the confidence he had in everyone,” Wilfork said. “Anytime he gave a huddle call, you could just tell in his voice how confident he was in the call, how confident he was in the play. Just being alert on the field, he was a very, very smart person. Just to hear his voice, you always knew you had somebody that had your back in him. He helped build this organization into what it is.”

Wilfork got a little dig in on at Bruschi, who is now working for ESPN.

“He’s grown a little Hollywood now. We see him on television,” Wilfork joked.

Pepper Johnson coached Bruschi in Bruschi’s final nine seasons in Foxboro. Johnson, who played with the likes of Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks with the Giants, compared Bruschi’s intensity to those legendary players.

“It’s kind of like the leadership question, I think after you hit a certain plateau, that’s it,” Johnson said. “Carl Banks was very strong, very intense guy out on the field. You try to [model] yourself after him, you try to pattern yourself after him but Tedy Bruschi was serious, totally focused. Every time coach Belichick grabbed the podium and took to heart everything he was saying. It wasn’t just that he was talking to him, Belichick was talking to everybody through him. That’s what he tried to relay a little bit in the locker room, off the field, too, at linebackers dinners.”

Bruschi went into the club’s Hall of Fame Monday with longtime broadcaster Gil Santos.

Read More: Carl Banks, Gil Santos, Lawrence Taylor, New England Patriots
Patriots change date of HoF induction ceremony for Tedy Bruschi, Gil Santos 06.18.13 at 3:44 pm ET
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Tedy Bruschi

Tedy Bruschi

On Tuesday, the Patriots announced a new date and time for the team’s 2013 Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Tedy Bruschi and Gil Santos.

While originally scheduled for August 11 when the Hall of Fame selection was announced on May 21, the ceremonies will now be held on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5 p.m. on the NRG Plaza outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. The event will coincide with the team’s first in-stadium practice of 2013, which is an annual ticketed event for Patriots season ticket holders and Foxborough residents at Gillette Stadium.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are free and open to the public. Patriots fans of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. Following this year’s enshrinement ceremonies, Patriots season ticket holders and Foxborough residents will be encouraged to redeem their complimentary event tickets to attend that night’s practice inside Gillette Stadium.

Bruschi and Santos will also be honored at the Patriots’ regular season home opener when the Patriots host the Jets on Thursday, Sept. 12. With this season’s home opener falling on a Thursday night, a Hall of Fame weekend was not possible. As a result, the induction ceremonies were moved to the night of the annual season ticket holder event on July 29.

Read More: Gil Santos, Tedy Bruschi,
Tedy Bruschi selected to Patriots Hall of Fame 05.21.13 at 9:31 am ET
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Tedy Bruschi won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. (AP)

Tedy Bruschi won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. (AP)

The Patriots announced Tuesday that Tedy Bruschi has been voted into the team’s Hall of Fame in fan balloting. Bruschi and former radio play-by-play caller Gil Santos will be inducted on Aug. 11. Bruschi also will be honored at halftime of the home opener against the Jets on Sept. 12.

“We knew when we drafted him in 1996 that ‘Bruschi’ was going to be a fan favorite in New England,” owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “But he was so much more than that. During the most successful era in the history of the franchise, Tedy was the heart and soul of the defense and proved to be a champion, both on and off the field. He was a high-energy, tenacious defender whose playmaking abilities helped propel the Patriots to three Super Bowl championships in four years. His remarkable and courageous return to the field following a stroke only added to his legend and solidified his place among the most iconic Patriots in franchise history. We look forward to celebrating his induction with our fans.”

A 19-person nomination committee comprised of media, alumni and staff selected three candidates for the Patriots Hall of Fame in April: coach Chuck Fairbanks, offensive tackle Leon Gray and Bruschi. Fans had a month to vote at patriots.com.

Bruschi, selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 1996 draft, helped New England to an AFC championship in his first season. He went on to appear in four more Super Bowls during his 13-year career.

A two-time All-Pro selection (2003, ’04), Bruschi finished his career with 1,110 tackles, 30.5 sacks, 12 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles in 189 games (139 starts). He is the only player in NFL history to return four consecutive interceptions for touchdowns.

Read More: Gil Santos, Tedy Bruschi,
Robert Kraft surprises Gil Santos with a HOF reward 12.30.12 at 4:42 pm ET
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Gil Santos (left) and Gino Cappelletti (right) honored on Patriots GAMEDAY and before the game by owner Robert Kraft. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Gil Santos (left) and Gino Cappelletti (right) honored on Patriots GAMEDAY and before the game by owner Robert Kraft. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Gil Santos joked he had never been driven to tears. But what Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced at the end of a pre-game ceremony made the hardened veteran announcer tear up and break down.

During a pregame ceremony to honor Santos and Gino Cappelletti, Kraft announced that Santos, the legendary voice of the Patriots, would be a 2013 inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Santos will become the 20th person to be inducted and just the second non-player to earn the honor as a contributor for his off-field contributions to the team. It is the highest honor the team can bestow an individual.

Santos, who overcame life-threatening health complications early in 2012 to return to the broadcast booth this year, announced his intention to retire after the 2012 season earlier this year. For 36 seasons, spanning five decades, he has earned the moniker “Voice of the New England Patriots.” Santos is currently tied with Philadelphia’s Merrill Reese as the longest tenured broadcaster for a team in the NFL. In 36 seasons, he missed just one game, a preseason game in 1971. Today, Santos is calling his 743rd career Patriots game, including his 73rd game between the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins.

“There will never be another tandem like Gil and Gino,” said Kraft. “They are two Patriots icons and legendary broadcasters. I am proud to say that they will both be known as Patriots Hall of Famers. Gil has always had such a great voice. We are lucky that his radio calls will be indelibly linked to the most memorable moments in our franchise’s history and we are happy to preserve his legacy in The Hall for generations to come.”

Santos began calling games for the Boston Patriots at Fenway Park in 1966. For the first five seasons, he provided color analysis alongside veteran play-by-play man Bob Starr. When the team moved to Foxborough in 1971, Santos moved into his current role as play-by-play voice of the Patriots (1971-79). WBZ lost the Patriots radio rights in the 1980s, but got them back in 1991 and returned Santos to his natural position as Voice of the New England Patriots, a position he has held for the last 22 seasons.

The veteran play-by-play broadcaster was also the sports director of WBZ News Radio in Boston, where he earned dozens of awards and honors for his reporting, sportscasting and play-by-play excellence. He retired from WBZ after 38 years in 2009 and was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame that year. In addition to his work at WBZ, the skilled play-by-play broadcaster also called basketball games for the Boston Celtics and Providence Friars, as well as football games for the Penn State Nittany Lions, Boston College Eagles, Brown Bears and Boston Breakers of the USFL.

Read More: Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti, Merrill Reese, New England Patriots
Setting the scene: Patriots-Dolphins at 1:00 pm ET
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Crews were busy clearing snow out of Gillette Stadium for season finale between Patriots and Dolphins. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Crews were busy clearing snow out of Gillette Stadium for season finale between Patriots and Dolphins. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Bitter cold and blustery conditions are expected for Sunday’s regular season finale between the Patriots and Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

The forecast called for temperatures in the mid-20s with a wind chill of 12 degrees for the 4:25 p.m. kickoff. The game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. but was moved back by the NFL last week when it became clear that the Patriots would be playing for a possible playoff bye.

The Colts are hosting the Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in the return of head coach Chuck Pagano to the sidelines. The Colts have never lost at home to Houston. If the Colts win in the 1 p.m. game, the Patriots can clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Dolphins. The Patriots can clinch a No. 1 seed if the Colts beat the Texans and the Chiefs upset the Broncos in Denver, a game that will be played simultaneously with the Patriots-Dolphins contest.

The Patriots may have the services of tight end Rob Gronkowski for the first time since Nov. 18, as reports surfaced Saturday that Gronk was on schedule to return. However, CSNNE.com’s Tom Curran reported Sunday morning that the Patriots were having serious second thoughts and the decision to activate him for the season finale had not been finalized.

The final decision won’t likely be known for sure until inactives are released at 2:55 p.m., 90 minutes before kickoff.

The Patriots will have the services of defensive end Jermaine Cunningham for the first time since New England’s Thanksgiving night massacre of the Jets. Cunningham was suspended the following Monday for four games for violation of the NFL PED policy. The Patriots officially activated Cunningham to the 53-man roster Saturday, waiving defensive lineman and former second-round pick Ron Brace to make room.

The Patriots also signed wide receiver Kamar Aiken and defensive back Malcolm Williams off the practice squad and they will be eligible to play in the regular season finale if active.

Some nuggets for today:

The Patriots need just one first down to set a new NFL record as they come into the game with 416 first downs on the season, 139 by rushing, 241 by passing and 36 by penalty. They enter the game sharing the mark with the 2011 New Orleans Saints. Patriots opponents have just 324. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Denver Broncos, Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti, Indianapolis Colts
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