Bruschi, who has played an instrumental role in the team winning three Super Bowls, agreed to a multiyear deal that he plans to sign Friday to stay with the Patriots. Terms of the deal were unavailable.
Bruschi missed the 2006 season opener after breaking his wrist in training camp. But that was easy to overcome considering he suffered a stroke just 10 days after the Patriots won the 2005 Super Bowl. He had surgery to repair a hole in his heart and ended up missing only the first six games of the following season.
In May of 2005, Bruschi acknowledged that he was uncertain he would ever play again. Two months later, The Associated Press reported he would miss the 2005 campaign. In September, Bruschi announced that he intended to return to the Patriots for the 2006 season. And then, on Oct. 16, only eight months after the stroke, he said he would come back for the remainder of the 2005 season.
Two weeks later, in a 21-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills, he recorded 10 tackles in his return performance.
The 34-year-old Bruschi had 92 tackles in 16 starts last year. The Patriots toyed with the idea of bringing in Zach Thomas a week ago, but Thomas signed with the Cowboys.
Bruschi led all New England defenders in tackles. Forced to log increased snaps after a season-ending injury to outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin prompted a lineup shuffle, Bruschi held up remarkably well. He had two sacks and two pass deflections to go with his 92 tackles, and his football instincts have compensated for the loss of maybe a half-step.
John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli was used in this report.