|Patriots LB Bruschi decides to continue playing|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 28 February 2008 18:18|
A person within the league, speaking Thursday night on condition of anonymity, said the deal is expected to be signed Friday.
Bruschi, who suffered a stroke after the 2004 season and returned midway through the next season, started every game this past season. But it had been uncertain if the 34-year-old Bruschi would return after the Patriots lost 17-14 to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team does not confirm contracts until they are signed.
On Feb. 5, defensive back Willie Andrews pleaded not guilty to a marijuana possession charge in Lawrence, Mass., after police said they found him with a half-pound of marijuana. Andrews, who just completed his second year with the team, is free on his own recognizance.
Soon after the Super Bowl, linebacker Junior Seau had arthroscopic surgery on his left rotator cuff for an injury he said he sustained in the fourth game. It was never announced by the team.
Last Friday, Patriots captain and running back Kevin Faulk, one of their most dependable players, was issued a misdemeanor summons for possession of marijuana in Louisiana. He was not arrested or required to post bond.
On Tuesday, New England released starting linebacker Rosevelt Colvin in a possible salary cap move. He was sidelined for the season with a foot injury after playing in the first 11 games.
The Patriots did not designate wide receiver Randy Moss as a franchise player and could lose him to free agency. Cornerback Asante Samuel is a free agent, and safety Eugene Wilson has said he doesn't plan to return. Also, safety Rodney Harrison, a 14-year veteran, hasn't said whether he'll retire.
But Bruschi will be back after recording 115 tackles, including 23 in three postseason games as the Patriots went 18-0 before losing the Super Bowl. He had two sacks, both in the regular season.
Ten days after helping New England win the 2005 Super Bowl, Bruschi was hospitalized for a minor stroke. After having surgery to repair a hole in his heart, he began a comeback and played in the last nine regular season games. He won the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2005, along with Carolina receiver Steve Smith.
He also vigorously defended coach Bill Belichick when the New York Jets accused the Patriots of video recording their coaches' signals after the first game of the 2007 season. The NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000 and stripped the team of a first-round draft choice this year.
On the day of the Super Bowl, the Boston Herald reported that former Patriots employee Matt Walsh claimed he taped St. Louis' practice before New England's 20-17 upset of the Rams in the Super Bowl after the 2001 season.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he hopes the NFL is close to an agreement that will allow Walsh to tell the league about any such tapes.
Sen. Arlen Specter, R.-Pa., also is looking into the allegations.
And Willie Gary, who played seven games for the Rams that season, has filed suit in New Orleans accusing the Patriots of fraud, unfair trade practices and engaging in a ``pattern of racketeering.'' Three fans joined in the suit.
AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman contributed to this report.