When Tedy Bruschi spoke of his upcoming induction to the Patriots Hall of Fame, it was easy to see how much it meant to him.
Now Patriots fans will get to see it for themselves.
Bruschi and longtime radio play-by-play man Gil Santos will be officially inducted on Monday, with a ceremony starting at 5 p.m. ET. The ceremony will take place on the NRG Plaza just outside the Hall at Patriot Place, and is free to the public.
In the most recent ESPNBoston.com Patriots podcast, Bruschi said: “It’s a great honor. I spent my entire career trying to earn free hats and T-shirts – that said Division Championship, that said AFC Championship, and that said World Championship. It’s pretty cool that I can get a free jacket now. Earning a free red jacket is something that was never a goal. It was free hats and T-shirts that said ‘championship’ on them. But getting a free red jacket is cool and I’m looking forward to it.”
Bruschi’s reference to championships was something Patriots coach Bill Belichick also cited when speaking of Bruschi’s impact on the franchise.
“What he’s brought to this organization is very, very special – both his performance and the personality and the character that he brought to the team and the success that we’ve had during his time here has been remarkable,” Belichick said. “He’s played a huge, huge part in it all the way through.”
Belichick then reflected on Bruschi entering the league as a third-round pick of the Patriots in 1996, when Belichick was a defensive assistant.
“We all know the story of his conversion from being a defensive linemen – the two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, all that – to becoming a guy that had a totally, totally different role in the National Football League. The success that he was able to have doing that, relative to what he did in college, both at very high levels but at very different jobs, it’s very unique.
“The energy, enthusiasm, competitiveness that he brought to this organization; the success that we had, that he was such a huge part of – there’s no way that that could be understated. To me, he’s one of the all-time greats that’s ever played here and that’s in large part because of the championships that were won while he was a part of it. There have been other great players but the team success that he was such a huge part of is really what it’s all about. His impact on that cannot be understated.”