Most of today's Patriots news centers around Pro-Bowl linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who was hospitalized in Boston last evening. Initial reports said Bruschi was suffering from headaches earlier in the day, while subsequent news updates have suggested Bruschi may have experienced stroke-like symptoms, including partial paralysis and blurred vision. For more on Bruschi's condition, read Nick Cafardoof The Boston Globe, Laura Crimaldiof The Boston Herald, and Michael Parenteof The Woonsocket Call.
Patriots fans have kept vigil since last evening's frightening report, as Bruschi is one of New England's most beloved athletes. With his fierce, instinctive ability to play football, combined with his humble, unselfish attitude, Bruschi has become the face of the Patriots team-first mantra. As Kevin Mannix writes in today's Herald, Bruschi is the heart and soul of the Super Bowl champs, and as big a piece of the championship puzzle as there is here in New England.
Kristen Munson of the Herald provides additional information on strokes and their ability to inflict the young.
Tom Curran of The Providence Journal looks at the Patriots off-season agenda, particularly the fact that a number of Pats players will be hitting the free-agent market March 1. The contract situations of David Givens, David Patten, Joe Andruzzi, Adam Vinatieri, Jarvis Green, Brandon Gorin, Tom Ashworth, Stephen Neal, and Patrick Pass present the Patriots with a handful of difficult decisions, especially considering some of the players are likely to receive higher offers from other teams.
In the Globe, Nick Cafardo has more on the division-rival Buffalo Bills release of former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe, whom it is suggested will reunite with his former Patriots coach Bill Parcells in Dallas, was reportedly surprised and disappointed by the move, but still handled it with his usual class. Though the Patriots have had Drew's number since he left New England after the 2001 season, the team may benefit from the jettisoning of Bledsoe, considering a Bills team that went 9-7 and missed the playoffs by a single game will now try to wade through a 16-game schedule with the unproven, second-year J.P. Losman.