Andruzzi pays it forward with Pats & more

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Those watching New England Patriots offseason practices in recent weeks couldn't miss a familiar face on the sideline -- former New England offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi.

The three-time Super Bowl champion who was known for his lunchpail approach, among other things, has been working as an assistant coach with the team's strength and conditioning staff.

"I've been in the system, I know the system, and I can show guys how it helped my career and how it can help them get through the grueling 16-game season," Andruzzi said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

Andruzzi played for the Patriots from 2000-04, which were the top seasons of his 10-year career that included stops in Green Bay (1997-99) and Cleveland (2005-06). Coming out of Southern Connecticut State, he doesn't believe he would have made it in the NFL without a focus on strength and conditioning.

"I had good numbers coming out of a small school, which I think helped get me in the league, and then I think it helped me stay in the league. I enjoy it, I love being a part of it, and this is a way for me to pay it forward," said Andruzzi, who has worked on the staff in an unofficial capacity in each of the last few years.

"Paying it forward" has been an Andruzzi theme over the years and he continues to do so through his charitable foundation, which is hosting its annual golf tournament on Monday at Pinehills Golf Course in Plymouth, Mass. Current Patriots Rob Ninkovich and Matthew Slater are co-hosts of the tournament. Last year's tournament raised $278,000, according to Andruzzi.