Today isn't a day to talk about football. But it is a day to talk about Patriots.
Anyone who has been a Pats fan for longer than 10 years will remember tough, hard-nosed guard Joe Andruzzi. Undrafted out of Southern Connecticut State University, he exemplified everything the Patriots stood for, working through several NFL systems before eventually earning a spot on the New England roster. Andruzzi would eventually go on to become one of the most reliable members of the offensive line that led the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories. He always gave everything that he had, took advantage of each opportunity he was given, and he truly exemplified the Patriot Way. Joe Andruzzi will forever be remembered as the man who led his team out onto the field, clutching two American Flags, in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks as the NFL returned to action after a one week hiatus. Andruzzi's three brothers are all New York City Firefighters and were among the first to respond to the aftermath of the Twin Towers attacks. All three Andruzzi brothers continue to serve in the NYFD and remain incredibly close, and watching the Andruzzi family embrace at the 50 yard line before that day's game against the New York Jets is among the most emotional moments of my life as a football fan.
But far more significant than his contributions on the field has been what he has done since he left football. Andurzzi has since gone on to form The Joe Andruzzi Foundation, an organization that provides financial assistance for cancer patients as well as funds pediatric cancer research. The Andruzzi Foundation has raised thousands of dollars and helped hundreds of children suffering from various forms of cancer. In a world that seems to be getting worse by the day, Andruzzi remains a true bastion of genuine goodness and caring for humanity.
So it's absolutely no surprise, then, that Andruzzi was among those who rushed to the scene this afternoon to help out in any way that he could. While the rest of the country reels, he runs towards danger. There's not much more I need to say; this picture sums it up perfectly. A Patriot in every sense of the word.
We are all hurting right now in the wake of today's tragedy. But, as for me, knowing that there are
men heroes out there like Joe Andruzzi helps to restore my faith that there are still plenty of wonderful people in this world.
Atta boy, Joe. Thank you.