10-25-2005, 08:12 PM
It seemed to be cause for celebration: Tedy Bruschi, defensive centerpiece of three New England Patriots Super Bowl championships, returned to practice last week eight months after a stroke that threatened to end his career (and seven months after surgery to repair a hole in his heart). But some observers are greeting his comeback with considerable consternation. Though Bruschi, 32, says his medical team was unanimous in clearing him to play, and the Patriots insist that the final decision rested with "Bruschi and his family," prominent ex-NFLers decried the return as too perilous. Even the response of rabid Pats fans was muted. "People are wondering, 'Why risk it?' " says Gerry Callahan, cohost of WEEI's popular morning sports talk show. "We all thought he was smarter than that." Bruschi told reporters, "I'm living life one day at a time right now. I'm very fortunate that I'm still able to play the game that I love."