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Bruschi's playing status still up in the air

BOSTON (May 21, 2005) -- New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a mild stroke three days after the Pro Bowl, doesn't know if he will play football this season.

Bruschi told WBZ-TV in Boston that he will take his time before making the "big decision" of whether he should get back on the field in 2005 with the Super Bowl champion Patriots.

"During the season we take it one game at a time, and right now in my life I'm taking it one day at a time," said the 31-year-old Bruschi, who said he's "feeling great" three months after the stroke. "When it comes time for a decision to be made, we've been talking about it, my family and I, but that's a decision you don't rush into so I'm taking my time with it."

The linebacker, one of the Patriots' most important and popular players, suffered the stroke 10 days after New England beat the Philadelphia Eagles for its third Super Bowl victory in four years.

He has been working out at the team training facility at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, but there has been no announcement, from Bruschi or the team, about his playing prospects.

"I'm going in (to the stadium), getting my health back in order, working out and that's my step right now -- just testing myself physically, seeing where I am, seeing where I am tomorrow," he said.

Bruschi's agent, Brad Blank, said in March there was a possibility that Bruschi would sit out the 2005 season and return in 2006.

"That's one of the options. I have a lot of options," he said.

Bruschi, who negotiated his own contracts without an agent following his rookie season, hired Blank after the stroke.

Bruschi is scheduled to earn $850,000 in 2005, $1.35 million in 2006 and $1.70 million in the final year of his contract. His deal would be voided if he retires, but he could earn his full salary if the team elects to place him on the physically unable to perform list.

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