Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was brought to tears Tuesday when owner Robert Kraft spoke about what he meant to the franchise in an interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm.
Kraft had joined Bruschi, now an ESPN analyst, and Storm on the ESPN set adjacent to the Patriots’ practice field. ESPN has been broadcasting all day from Patriots camp.
Bruschi wiped away tears several times after Kraft started talking about Bruschi’s Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which took place Monday night just outside Gillette Stadium.
Here’s a partial transcript of the conversation:
Kraft: “[Bruschi] spoke [at the Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony] and he brought everyone in because of the way people feel about him. He truly is iconic and special. What he’s meant to this community, how he came here.
“When he played is the greatest decade in NFL history of wins and losses. He was the heart and soul of the defense on that team. What he did, I just hope we have a chance to replicate that, I don’t think we ever will though.”
Bruschi: “It’s the only organization I ever was a part of. I made it an effort just to be here. I represented myself because I wanted to stay in this organization and play for an owner like this and play for the people that are here in this organization.
“I think when you try to search for solutions somewhere else, I’d rather right the ship than jump the ship. That was always the philosophy I had and we did that a lot here.”
Kraft: “People say ‘The Patriot Way.’ I’m not sure, I know what I’d like it to be, but here’s a guy who didn’t use an agent, who didn’t go for the maximum dollar, who came and stayed at the place he was drafted for 13 years. Had the most amazing career.
“Twenty-thousand people came out to see him [Monday], 8,000 hung on the stairs to listen to him talk. How he brought everyone into it, it was just so moving. He’s the most beloved athlete in this community right now.”
Bruschi played with the Patriots for 13 seasons, from 1996-2008. During his tenure, the team reached the Super Bowl five times and won it three times.