Bruschi on fans: 'Felt like I was one of them'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The newest elected member to the Patriots Hall of Fame, former linebacker Tedy Bruschi, spoke to reporters on a conference call Tuesday to share his reaction to the announcement.

"Mr. Kraft called me on the phone last night and let me know, gave me the news," Bruschi opened. "He told me he was very proud of me to be inducted in the Patriots Hall of Fame, and I told him how much it meant to me.

"I'm very proud to have only played for one organization my entire career, and I worked very hard to make sure that happened," he continued. "I remember getting drafted in my apartment in Tuscon, Arizona and my girlfriend, who is now my wife, I told her that I was going to stay with the New England Patriots my entire career. That was after being drafted and within 10 or 15 minutes. And to be able to look back and say I did that and stay with an organization and build something special is something I'm very proud of. I don't know if it's -- in my mind I was finished, but to have this -- winning championships is better, but this is cool."

Bruschi, a popular player throughout his 13-year career, was voted in by the fans, with whom he developed a unique bond throughout his time with the team.

"I always felt like I was one of them," Bruschi said of Patriots fans. "I never felt like I was some type of special person, or I was any different than the people up there cheering on the Patriots. I always felt the New England Patriots fans, they did their work, they got their work done, they liked to come home and spend time with their families and when they had free time, they liked to cheer on their favorite team.

"And that, I feel like that's who I am also," he added. "If I wasn't fortunate enough to play professional football, that's who I would've been. A good family man to my wife and kids and then cheering on my local team, I think that's who I would be, that's why I relate so much to them. I already got an email from Randy Pierce, I still have relationships with some of the fans who I've met throughout the years congratulating me through email, and I've already responded.

"And there are certain relationships you form, and I was never shy about forming relationships with fans because I felt very connected to them," Bruschi said. "Being here my entire career, my kids being raised here, I sort of feel like I'm a transplanted New Englander."