Pro Bowl linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a mild stroke in February, said he plans to resume practicing tomorrow with the New England Patriots.
"It's been a long way back, but here I am," Bruschi said at a news conference yesterday in Foxborough, Mass. "I fully anticipate practicing Wednesday. I want to help this team any way I can."
Bruschi, 32, said he has received clearance from his doctors. He reportedly underwent surgery to repair a hole in his heart that might have caused his stroke. He previously had indicated that he planned to sit out this season, but the Patriots left open the possibility of an earlier return by not placing him on the injured reserve list, which would have made him ineligible to play for the team this season.
"They tell me I can play," Bruschi said. "I feel like I can play. Shoot, I know I can play. So let's just play. . . . Every doctor who has seen me has given me clearance. This isn't something you just go for. You make sure everything is right. . . . There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: I had a stroke. But the word is had. I had a stroke. I've recovered from it."
The Patriots have a bye this weekend. Their next game is Oct. 30 against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, and Bruschi is eligible to play then. He is on the physically unable to perform list. Once he begins practicing, the Patriots have three weeks to put him on their active roster or place him on the IR list.
He said he has no doubt that he will play in a game this season but declined to offer a timetable, saying he was leaving that evaluation to Coach Bill Belichick.
Vikings Change Course
Minnesota Vikings owner Zygmunt Wilf met Sunday in Chicago with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and pledged to begin taking steps to address the conduct of those in his organization.
Wilf agreed to hire a retired FBI agent as the Vikings' director of security. The team is creating the position, at Tagliabue's suggestion, and filling it with Dag Sohlberg, who served as the Vikings' liaison to the league's security department on a part-time basis for the past five years.
Wilf told Tagliabue that he will put his other business interests aside for the time being and concentrate solely on the Vikings for the foreseeable future, and indicated that he will begin a search to locate and hire at least one more senior executive to help run the club.
The moves come in the aftermath of the Oct. 6 boat cruise in which Vikings players reportedly participated in lewd and possibly criminal behavior. A police investigation is ongoing, and the players involved could be subject to disciplinary action by the NFL under its personal-conduct policy.
Wilf and Tagliabue met before the Vikings' 28-3 loss to the Chicago Bears that dropped the club to 1-4. Wilf has said publicly that Mike Tice will remain the team's coach at least through the end of the season.
Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin was in the intensive care unit of a Seattle-area hospital after suffering head injuries in a fight with two men outside a nightclub around 2 a.m. yesterday. According to the Associated Press, Hamlin has a fractured skull, a small blood clot and bruising of the brain tissue. He was in serious but stable condition and was expected to remain in intensive care for a day or two. . . .
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be without quarterback Brian Griese for the remainder of the season. Griese hurt his left knee during Sunday's win over Miami. . . .
A torn triceps will sideline New York Jets center Kevin Mawae for the rest of the season. . . . Left tackle Flozell Adams will miss the remainder of the season after tearing knee ligaments in the Dallas Cowboys' victory Sunday. . . . Arizona defensive end Calvin Pace will miss the rest of the season after cutting his arm when he fell through a window at his home in Atlanta over the weekend, according to the team. The Cardinals had a bye. . . . Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jerome McDougle underwent emergency hernia surgery. McDougle, who was shot in the stomach by robbers in Miami before training camp, had adhesions and scar tissue -- from an earlier operation after the shooting -- removed.