Tedy Bruschi has decided to sit out the 2005 season while he continues to recover from a mild stroke suffered in mid-February.
The Patriots issued a statement through executive director of media relations Stacey James Wednesday afternoon.
"Since suffering a mild stroke on Feb. 16, 2005, Tedy Bruschi has focused on the short-term goal of getting better every day. His health has improved steadily during the past five months and Tedy continues to make daily improvements with his on-going rehabilitation. It has been an offseason of many emotional highs and lows for Tedy and his family. With the Patriots' training camp reporting date now just over a week away, Tedy has reached a decision on his playing status for the upcoming season and has declared his intentions to forgo the 2005 campaign.
"The Bruschi family wanted to express their heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous outpouring of support they have received from fans throughout New England and others around the country. They also expressed their gratitude for the support and assistance provided by the entire Patriots organization. Tedy pledges to focus on his health and his family while continuing to offer on-going support to his teammates throughout the upcoming season."
The Patriots maintained throughout the process that they would wait for Bruschi to make a decision and all information regarding the situation would come from him. While Bruschi has now said he will not play in 2005, there was no word as to his plans beyond this season. The announcement also included a statement from Head Coach Bill Belichick.
"All offseason, we have seen and felt Tedy's strong and upbeat presence. As usual, we will keep the focus on the short term and address the future in due course. We are pleased Tedy continues to be part of the team and he has our complete support."
Bruschi has been regularly attending workouts for much of the offseason and there was speculation that he was planning to return. He was present at last month's mini-camp and was an active participant in the meeting rooms, but did not take part in any on-field work.
The Patriots were obviously planning for this possibility during the offseason when Belichick and Scott Pioli made several moves at the linebacker position to prepare for life without Bruschi. The team signed unrestricted free agents Chad Brown and Monty Beisel, and drafted Ryan Claridge in the fifth round in April. Even without the captain, the Patriots still have 16 linebackers currently on the roster.