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  • Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press file, 2002

    Tedy Bruschi won three Super Bowls, but he is especially proud of his college and prep years.

  • Tedy Bruschi: He tied an NCAA record with 52 career sacks for Arizona before playing 13 seasons in the NFL.


Who is the most accomplished athlete from the Sacramento area?

Leading Off: Tedy Bruschi’s success is rooted in Roseville

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 - 6:41 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 - 12:42 pm

Tedy Bruschi and football are synonymous, but the marriage almost didn’t happen.

Bruschi was urged by his ninth-grade friends at Roseville High School in the late 1980s to channel his energy into a contact sport. Once he figured out how to adjust his shoulder pads and where exactly the hip pads went, Bruschi took off.

He ransacked backfields as a defensive end for the Tigers in 1991, and he turned games with blocked punts and field-goal attempts. He’s the most dominant player without the ball that I have seen in 25 years covering area high schools.

Bruschi was our choice as No. 1 on The Bee’s Top 100 all-time local high school football players list in 2000. Bruschi was in the midst of his career as a linebacker for the New England Patriots, which included three Super Bowl championships, when the story published, and he told me he framed the story and displayed it in his New England-area home.

Now he has another honor to display.

On Tuesday, Bruschi was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame. He tied the NCAA all-time career record with 52 sacks as a consensus All-American in 1994 and a unanimous All-American in 1995 for Arizona. Bruschi’s high school coaches, Bob Jellison and Larry Cunha, attended the ceremony in New York.

From the start, Bruschi relied on talent, drive and confidence. It comes across in his work as an NFL analyst for ESPN. When a fan once asked what was so difficult about football, Bruschi smiled and replied, “For one thing, someone has to deal with me.”

What to do

High school football,

Del Oro vs. Serra, San Jose City College, 7:30 p.m.: Can Del Oro win the NorCal Division I championship and advance to next weekend’s state bowl game?

What to watch

NBA, Kings at Phoenix, 6 p.m., CSNCA: Newly acquired forward Rudy Gay should make his debut for the Kings.

Today’s poll

Who is the most accomplished athlete from the Sacramento area?

• Dusty Baker, baseball

• Tedy Bruschi, football

• Bill Cartwright, basketball

• Kevin Johnson, basketball

• Debbie Meyer, swimming

• Other

Vote above, or go to

Thursday’s results

How long will Jim Harbaugh be the 49ers’ coach ?

• As long as he wants: 47%

• As long as he wins: 41%

• Until a better offer comes along: 12%

Total votes: 113

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Read more articles by Joe Davidson

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