In annual ceremonies on Tuesday, former Arizona defensive standout Tedy Bruschi was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
“It’s an honor to be here,” Bruschi said in a press conference Tuesday morning. “I thank of all my teammates being here, so many guys that helped me rush the passer because that’s basically all I did in college. And all I really loved about football was rushing the quarterback. It was something that I always thought was really the true essence of football, lining up across a guy that was as twice as big as me and twice as strong and finding some way to get pass him to sack the guy with the ball. That’s all I ever wanted to do.”
Bruschi is the fourth Arizona player to join the NFF College Football Hall of Fame, joining Ricky Hunley (1998), Chuck Cecil (2009) and Rob Waldrop (2011). He also joins three Arizona coaches who’ve been inducted – Warren Woodson (1989), Jim Young (1999) and Darrell Mudra (2000).
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With Bruschi as a key component, Arizona’s Desert Swarm defense led the nation in scoring defense in 1992. In 1993, Desert Swarm led the nation in rushing defense and defined a squad that achieved UA’s first 10-victory season, defeating Miami, 29-0, in the Fiesta Bowl. Bruschi was named Fiesta Bowl MVP.
“Dick Tomey, my head coach, was so instrumental in me becoming a player,” Bruschi added. “My defensive coordinator, Larry MacDuff, and there are so many coaches and players that I think about being here. For me, it’s tough to be individually recognized because of all the players I’ve played with, but to be up here with all of these guys is an honor because I think all of us know what it takes to get here and I know our names are the only ones that are recognized but we have so much to be thankful for from all the people that helped us get here. To the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, thank you for this honor. It’s probably the biggest individual honor you can get as a college football player. I’m proud to be named in this class and proud to be here with all of these guys.”
Bruschi (1991-95) ended his career with 52 sacks, tied for the most in NCAA history. He was a consensus All-American in 1994 and a unanimous All-American in 1995.
Bruschi’s celebrated senior season included the 1995 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors and winning the Morris Trophy as the league’s best defensive lineman. He was a two-time finalist for the Lombardi Award and graduated with 74 tackles for loss, which ranked sixth in FBS history. Bruschi was named all-conference three times and he led the Wildcats to three bowl berths under head coach Dick Tomey.
The San Francisco native was a third-round selection by the New England Patriots in the 1996 NFL Draft. Bruschi enjoyed a 13-year career, winning three Super Bowls with the franchise. The Pro Bowler was named the Associated Press’ Comeback Player of the Year in 2005 following a stroke.
A committed spokesman and advocate for stroke survivors, Bruschi founded Tedy’s Team, in conjunction with the American Stroke Association, which has raised more than $1.5 million. He wrote a book, “Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery, and My Return to the NFL,” detailing his NFL comeback after his own stroke in 2005. Bruschi is also an active participant in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, granting wishes for numerous children through the organization. Bruschi currently works as an NFL analyst on ESPN.